cover image Restoring Christmas

Restoring Christmas

Cynthia Ruchti. Worthy Inspired, $15.99 (272p) ISBN 978-1-61795-707-9

Ruchti’s Christmas offering is as warm and traditional as the holiday, combining the au courant passion for fixer-uppering with classic seasonal hoping. Renovator and decorator Alexis Blake has a shot at her own show on the Home Project Network if she can best other competitors in a holiday-themed home makeover. Her challenges include a cranky old client and a plan-B videographer, plus the ghosts of her own past as well as her present-day ambition. Ruchti creates her usual credible and winsome characters and appropriate romantic tension between Alexis and her videographer Gabe, though occasionally their dialog is more standard repartee than clever. Their back stories are unnecessarily laden with issues, making the resolution seem overhasty. Rooting parts of the storyline in World War II is emotionally thin, but Christmas stories do tend to draw on the familiar rather than the original. The author missed chances to go deeper, but perhaps that would be like a too pensive guest at a convivial holiday gathering. Agent: Wendy Lawton, Books & Such Literary Management. (Oct.)