Review: Cate Ashwood – The Mistletoe Effect

mistletoeAuthor: Cate Ashwood
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher: Self Published
Genre: MM Holiday

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

Summary: Although Christmas is his favorite time of year, all is not merry and bright for Danny Ellis. After being laid off and facing eviction, he’s eager to make a fresh start. When a friend mentions an opportunity in Sin City, he packs up and heads west. Unfortunately, plans run awry when his truck breaks down a little more than halfway there and he’s stranded in the cold with no money, nowhere to stay, and no way to get to Vegas.

‘Tis the season, but not for Merrick Holland, who loves being a part of the community in the small town of Rowley Bridge. Christmas has been a little tainted since his father died three years ago, and when people start to deck the halls, he withdraws. When Merrick finds a man asleep inside his bakery one morning, rather than call the police, Merrick makes him a cup of coffee, and after hearing his story offers him a job and a place to stay.

The two men strike up an unlikely friendship, but with Christmas only three weeks away, could a little holiday magic bring them together
Review: Danny is on his last bit of luck, leaving his home after losing his job and apartment to head to Vegas where a friend has promised him a job as a blackjack dealer. He has less than two hundred bucks to get there, meaning no money for a hotel and he needs just a little more luck to make it Of course, his luck runs out before he gets there and he’s stranded, hungry, freezing and broke, in the little town of Rowley Bridge. He ends up in a little bakery, the door was unlocked! Unfortunately, he falls asleep and is caught by the owner, Merrick.

Merrick is a lovely man and he doesn’t call the police or order Danny out. He can see Danny needs some help and he offers a mutually beneficial arrangement. Danny can work in the bakery until it is time for him to leave for Vegas. This will provide Danny some cash and Merrick some much needed Christmas baking help. Merrick really doesn’t enjoy the season anymore but it’s a busy one for a bakery.

It is sort of adorable watching Danny get accustomed to the bakery. “Danny stood there, his face pressed against the glass of the oven door, watching the golden crust form on the outside of the loaves.” This was for Danny’s first time making bread and I admit, I wondered if he burned his face on the glass but it was cute. Then turns out Danny has a knack for cookie decorating, which makes things better.

Merrick opens not only his business but his home (and his truck, which made me think maybe he was too trusting at times) to Danny and Danny wants to repay the favor. It was a kind and sweet thing that Danny does and it awakens Merrick to the season for the first time in years.
They always have the time limit of Danny leaving looming over them and it’s really insta-love, in about three weeks. But it’s a holiday story and I liked everything about these two, about Rowley Bridge and I enjoyed the feel of the story. It has a small town feel to it – no huge misunderstandings, no giant angsty moments, just two people coming together serendipitously over the holidays.

Two things to also mention – first, I loved this cover. It so conveyed the feel of the book without being overly “Christmassy”. Second , I would love to have a follow up for Danny and Merrick and see what happens to them. Please?



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