cover image A Heartfelt Christmas Promise

A Heartfelt Christmas Promise

Nancy Naigle. Griffin, $16.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-250-31264-8

A small-town horse farmer falls for a city slicker in this trudge of a romance from Naigle (Christmas Angels). Successful businesswoman Vanessa Larkin was looking forward to spending the holidays on a business trip to Paris, but her boss reassigns her to Fraser Hills, N.C., at the last minute. There Vanessa must transition one of the company’s properties, presently the Porters Fruit Cake headquarters, into a warehouse, laying off most of Porters’ employees. When word gets around town that she’s laying people off from Porters just in time for the holidays, resentment spreads. Among her most vocal detractors is farmer and widowed single father Mike Marshall, whose mother was served walking papers by Vanessa. After some initial sparring, Mike decides to convince Vanessa of the appeal of Fraser Hills and the importance of Porters. Vanessa is quickly wooed by the cozy small-town atmosphere and the pervasive holiday spirit, and agrees to work alongside Mike’s daughter to convince her boss not to close the fruitcake business. The charm of Fraser Hills is apparent, but gets lost in the slow-moving, backstory-logged romance. The book’s saving graces are colorful secondary characters and a satisfying ending. Still, seasoned romance readers won’t find much that stands out. Agent: Kevan Lyon, Marsal Lyon Literary. (Oct.)