Christmas at the Graff
If you're a regular reader of the blog, you know that I have a friend named Kaylie who writes books. I call her a friend because we grew up together in Southern Oregon, but we haven't seen each other since I was 14...so it's more of a long distance acquaintance admiration really. I just like calling her my friend. Her kids and dogs are adorable. I love that she's best friends with one of my favorite people in the world (I love you A!!!). So, because of this long-distance admiration, I've done an interview over here and she did a guest post over here, if you missed them. 😀
So, when Kaylie offered me a chance to read her new book Christmas at the Graff, I jumped at the chance.
I should put my love of Christmas in context for you, before I get into the review. I am a HUGE fan of the holiday season. I love listening to Christmas music, my house is very decorated, I enjoy watching old movies like White Christmas and It's a Wonderful Life...but I've never watched a Hallmark Christmas movie. And I only occasionally read Christmas themed literature. I'm a fan, but not obnoxiously so.
Christmas at the Graff made me want to rethink my aversion to Hallmark and Lifetime Christmas movies. Now, don't get me wrong...there's some hanky-panky in this book. Kaylie is great at writing the...um...lusty sections that garner her romance moniker. But this book had me ready to pull my decorations out of our attic, and it's not even Thanksgiving!
Christmas at the Graff tells the story of Jemma and EJ. Jemma has come to Marietta, Montana to help care for her father following a surgery. He left her mother during the holiday season when she was 15, and their relationship has been strained since. She wouldn't be there if he had anyone else. Jemma's plans are to protect her heart, and stay until he's healthy enough to take care of himself...and then get out of Marietta.
EJ is the physical therapist who's helping Jemma's father get back up and moving, but is also his friend. He has seen a side of Joe that she's never seen, and considers him to be the father he never had. EJ talks Jemma into helping him with his charity Christmas tree decorating project since her father is unable to, and sparks fly. Will Jemma find a reason to stay in Marietta a little longer? Will she be able to build a new relationship with her father? And will she decide she likes Christmas again?
I think Kaylie really hit this one out of the ballpark! This book is a warm and fuzzy ball of Christmasy goodness. It made me want to make a peppermint hot cocoa, a warm fire, put some xmas tunes on, and
The struggles Jemma's character goes through, trying to figure out how to get past the hurts of her childhood while worrying she's treading on the memory of her mother who's passed away, was dealt with very realistically. And everything wasn't perfectly wrapped up in a bow at the end.
The historical Hotel Graff is pretty much it's own character, and is probably my favorite in the entire book. I could picture it in my head, all decked out in it's holiday finest, ready for the Mistletoe and Montana Auction. With Bob at the counter, ready to check in guests.
And also, having a Hemsworth-looking snowboarding, physical therapist as the hunk, while still keeping him a well-rounded human, took mad skills. Honestly, you can tell from this review that I don't read a constant stream of romantic type books! LOL I just kept thinking...wow, he's a stud...but he can't ice-skate...which is GREAT! 😁
But really, I loved this book. I enjoyed everything about it, and can't thank Kaylie enough for sending it to me. It was the perfect read for me, especially while I was miserably sick. If Marietta, Montana was a real place, I would want to visit and stay at the Graff. And you can't really get a better recommendation than that, can you?
Let me know if you're already in the Christmas mood, or if you think it's WAY too early?? And also, do you watch Hallmark Christmas movies?? Did you think that was disparaging of me...to either the movies, or to Kaylie?? 😉