cover image Home Sweet Christmas

Home Sweet Christmas

Susan Mallery. HQN, $17.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-335-93400-0

Interweaving two heartfelt love stories, Mallery expertly captures a festive yuletide spirit in her sparkling second Wishing Tree novel (after The Christmas Wedding Guest). Camryn Neff left her life in Chicago to return to small-town Wishing Tree, Wash., and take care of her teenage sisters after their mother’s death. While running her family’s custom gift-wrapping business, Camryn is selected by local matron Helen Crane as one of the candidates for “Project: Jake’s Bride,” a mission Helen’s embarked on to marry off her son. Camryn quickly rejects the idea of being involved—and spills the beans to Jake about his mother’s scheming. As their friendship blossoms into love, Camryn must question her life plans, having never intended to settle in Wishing Tree for good. Meanwhile, River Best, a transplant from Southern California who’s turned her computer hacking skills into a legitimate business, is chosen at an annual festival to be the town’s Snow Queen, and is drawn out of her shell by Dylan Tucker, the newly crowned Snow King. Love soon follows, but a secret Dylan’s keeping may threaten their happiness. Mallery highlights the charm and community of her inviting small-town setting while still exploring grounded real-life issues. Add in undeniable Christmas cheer, and this feel-good holiday romance proves irresistible. Agent: Annelise Robey, Jane Rotrosen Agency. (Oct.)