cover image Christmas in Harmony Harbor

Christmas in Harmony Harbor

Debbie Mason. Forever, $7.99 mass market (496p) ISBN 978-1-5387-3171-0

Mason’s engaging ninth Harmony Harbor contemporary (after Barefoot Beach) is an enemies-to-lovers story with a complicated but successful plot. Evie Christmas gave up her career as a psychologist to take over her family’s year-round Christmas store, Holiday House, in Harmony Harbor, Mass. She struggles to make it profitable while simultaneously fighting the efforts of charming Irish developer Caine Elliot to turn it into a parking lot for his planned skyscraper. After chaining herself to a bulldozer, Evie convinces Caine to bet the future of his building on his ability to successfully complete three wishes from the store’s angel tree. Meanwhile, Caine’s imperious grandmother insists he acquire Greystone Manor to humble the Gallagher family, who are unaware Caine is the son of a disowned illegitimate Gallagher child. With the help of the ghost of matriarch Colleen Gallagher and Evie’s persistent cajoling, Caine begins to thaw on the small town, but past events threaten to upend future happiness. Mason juggles her overlapping plots well by focusing on the deep, fluid emotions of her characters, which make even ghosts and humans reincarnated as cats plausible. This touching but never schmaltzy holiday romance is very satisfying. Agent: Pamela Harty, Knight Agency. (Oct.)