In brief: Hannah’s home from Vegas with a secret. Matt’s home for the holidays to surprise his mother. Can this be more than a holiday fling?
The good: New Rachael Johns book!
The not-so-good: It’s a novella, so it’s a fast read.
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Setting: South West Western Australia
My rating: 9 out of 10
I must admit that I was first drawn to The Kissing Season by Rachael Johns’ name (she did write the spectacular Outback Dreams after all). But when I saw the cover…isn’t it gorgeous? The heroine has gorgeous eyes and she’s just like I picture Hannah (the heroine). The scenery also reminds me of around Gracetown, in Western Australia’s south west – good thing as the book is set in the South West around Busselton and Margaret River (known for wine, cheese and surfing).
Rachael writes a fantastic story, and The Kissing Season is no exception. Packed into this novella is a mainly sweet romance (with some spicy scenes), a family Christmas with drama and a secret baby. Oh yes. A secret baby! You see, Hannah’s returned home after a lot of travelling. That’s not what her parents would have liked, preferring her to go to university or help run the family business (gorgeous wooden furniture). Along the way, Hannah happened to get married in Vegas…and pregnant too. But the marriage didn’t last and now she’s home to try and work out how to tell her family, who never take her seriously.
When Matteo Della Bosca (you just know he’s going to be hot from his name) comes into the showroom to order furniture for his mother, he practically sets the place on fire with his smouldering looks and charm. Add to that jumping on a bed, then kissing Hannah and everything’s topsy turvy. Matt doesn’t do commitment and Hannah is thinking of one last fling, so what can go wrong? (Plenty.)
Matt’s a hero with a heart of gold – the way he’s portrayed as someone who really cares for his mum balances nicely with his own admission that he’s a player. He’s definitely a hero you wouldn’t mind wrapped (or unwrapped) under the Christmas tree! Hannah is a girl you’d be happy to have as a friend – she’s not perfect, she’s real.
Told in the days leading up to Christmas, Rachael gets it just right from the building heat of an Aussie Christmas to the events of a small community. I loved the parts devoted to the town’s Christmas tree event – it brought back memories of attending one in the country when I was small. Although Wildwood Point’s Christmas tree sounds like a bigger production, the essence of community spirit and happiness abounds in the writing. The big ‘oops’ moment at the family Christmas event is also brilliantly written – I was squirming in my seat for Hannah as the scene filled with awkward silence. I also liked that Christmas wasn’t the major theme of the novella at the expense of others – there’s still plenty of room for the strong family and friends and of course, romance. The pacing was also just right – not too hurried and I felt that the romance developed realistically over the time period.
I read this book in one night – simply put, I didn’t want to sleep until I’d finished it!