Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Christmas Strike by Nikki Rivers

Abby Blake was widowed unexpectedly while living in her hometown, the one place she least expected to end up living out her days. With two young children to care for, she remained in her parents' house after their deaths, rearing her two daughters and slowly letting go of her dreams.

Now, at 52 years of age, daughter Natalie has moved home with her husband and two kids to make things meet after layoffs set them back. And, Abby's other daughter, Gwen, has decided to leave her husband.

Having the entire family back home would be tolerable if they'd act responsible. Instead, Abby is expected to cook and clean for everyone. Tired of their demands, Abby decides to go on strike and takes advantage of the chance to hitch a ride to Chicago on the private jet of Gwen's father-in-law, Cole Hudson.

But, Cole doesn't bother to tell Abby that Chicago is not his destination. Before she knows it, they're in Paris and she is having the time of her life. When sparks fly between Cole and Abby, she has an important decision to make. Who comes first? Should Abby fly back home to the family and her bookkeeping job and be satisfied that she managed to get away? Or is it time for Abby to think about herself for more than just a holiday?

I'm almost embarrassed to admit how much I enjoyed this book. While the writing is not in any way impressive and I didn't mark a single quote, I couldn't put the book down. Why? I can't quite figure that out. The storyline is almost bizarrely far-fetched and comes off as: "Small town widow has Pretty Woman fairytale experience in Paris." It's a little too tidy, possibly a lot too tidy and certainly a fantasy in many ways. And, yet, I cared about Abby and even though I was consciously aware that goofy things were happening and it was way too easy for this woman to find a way to zip over to Paris and maybe even go back to remain for a year (!!!), I couldn't put the darned book down. I even dragged it to a barbeque restaurant, where it was at risk of getting slimed (don't worry; it's still pristine) and read while the guys glared at me.

So, okay . . . not the best writing in the world, but it's definitely pure escapism and requires only light brainpower. Those are both positives for a seasonal book, in my humble opinion. I'd call it an average book, but given the fact that I gobbled it up in one day, I'm going to rate this book high for entertainment value.


Currently reading: Unexpected Daughter by Suzanne Cox - I haven't seen Suzanne for a year, darn it, but she's a sweetheart and I remember the group talking through this particular storyline with her at one of the Magnolia State Romance Writers meetings, before I abandoned all my writing groups. Yea, Suzanne! So far, I am loving this book!

Set aside: Earth in the Balance by Al Gore and Once Upon a Time by Gloria Vanderbilt. I'm in a seasonal mood, so I've set aside the heavier reads for later.

Just arrived: Finders Keepers by Linnea Sinclair. Thanks to Angela for sending this one!!! I used to correspond with Linnea and met her at a conference or two, but haven't spoken to her in many years. I'm really looking forward to reading this one.

Things our cats still have not learned, as of yesterday: You really can't catch that darned tail. And, the human truly does not want you to walk across the table to share the people food.

Bookfool who believes "My tuna is mine and mine alone." But, apparently not very convincingly.


  1. Anonymous9:28 AM

    The fluffy brain candy reads are starting to shout out at me from the shelves. I think I may have to take a break for something light.

    Also had to chuckle over the cat comments. Why don't they realise we don't like them jumping all over the place? Not like it's in their nature or anything! Actually Bailey's pretty sneaky. He never tries to jump on the table or desks or whatever when we're around, but when we come back from being out there are the telltale signs he been up there! We need a nanny cam! I'd love to see what naughtiness he gets up to while we're out.

  2. Ah! A good (far-fetched) romance...you know it has been awhile since I read one of those! I'm not ashamed to admit to being a fan of historical romances...you know, the bodice-ripper ones. Actually a really fun and funny author is Jude Devereux.


  3. Anonymous12:06 PM

    Doesn't everyone love an escape story now and then? Don't we all support that courageous woman who refuses to become what everyone else expects of her? It doesn't matter how far out in fantasy land the scenario is, most women have this dream at some time or another. It's fun living out in fantasy what you might never have the guts, money, and/or opportunity to do in real life!

  4. Nat,

    I've decided "fluff" is the right thing to stick with, right now. :)

    Cats . . . who gets 'em. LOL My cats are not sneaky at all. They just jump up wherever they feel like it, humans be damned. I've had to bury the leather chairs in blankets because they were getting claw marks and it's a foregone conclusion that the dinner table needs a good wiping before we sit down to eat. We don't have a formal dining room and the kitchen table scoots right up to the window because the room is small. The cats think that means it's their perch.

    Nanny cam. Hmm, that's a cool idea if you have a sneaky one!

  5. Heather,

    I suffer from attachment to beautiful language. Sometimes, though, it's kind of nice to just read something that totally carries you away, regardless of whether or not the writing is anything worth jumping up and down about. :)
    I've yet to read Jude Devereux, but I think I have a couple of her books. Oh, say, I have one called "Holly," right behind me. Have you read it?


    You're so right. The main reason I read is for escapism and, after all, I did love that Susan Grant book about a woman falling in love with an alien. Hey, why not a widow having a fantasy trip to Paris? Who wouldn't like to live that dream? It was definitely fun to read about, if only to live the fantasy vicariously.

  6. Hey, I'm all about escape books too.. that's one of the reasons I read and watch movies.. to ESCAPE reality!

  7. I think brain candy is about all I can handle in December. Too much going on with the holidays to concentrate on a heavy read. Have you read Summer in Tuscany (go here for my review. I think it might be something you would enjoy.

    We don't have a cat, but for a laugh, check out this picture from another blog I read. Be sure to click on the link in his post to see where the cat sleeps when it's not climbing. :)

  8. Angela,

    And, you have a knack for picking truly fun escapist reads!! I've read some great books, thanks to your blog!


    I've read that review but I haven't read the book, yet. I actually know where I've got Summer in Tuscany (that's getting kind of rare; my personal library needs work)! If I can squeeze it in, I will. Thanks for the recommendation!

    Oh, my gosh, that's a hoot! I love that cat photo (both of them, actually). Thanks for posting the link!

  9. Hi Bookfool! Do you have a button for the Chunkster Challenge?

  10. Joy,

    Nope, no button, yet. I was hoping hubby would help me figure out . . . is it Photoshop? And, then, naturally he hopped right back on a plane after a whopping two days at home. I have a photo I was thinking about using. Do you know how to make them?

  11. I have photoshop, if you need help.. just let me know!

  12. Anonymous12:50 PM

    haha! This sounds like just the type of book for me! I like to read this type around the holidays.

  13. Angela,

    I think it's photoshop that we've got, but I'm not sure because there's no icon. I'll have to have the hubby lead me in the right direction, some time this weekend, and I'll write you if I have trouble figuring it out! Have to find the program, first!


    It's a fun book, from the Harlequin Next series - so you'd probably have to buy a copy off the stands (unless you have a better library than I do - most don't stock paperback romance).


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