cover image Christmas Ever After

Christmas Ever After

Karen Schaler. HawkTale, $15.99 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-7347661-3-4

A wonderfully festive setting redeems the thin love story of this Christmas romance from Schaler (Finding Christmas). When romance author Riley Reynold’s latest book bombs, her publisher talks her into writing a Christmas romance, hoping it will resuscitate her career—but Riley hasn’t celebrated Christmas since her father died when she was eight years old. She signs on to host a Christmas Camp at a Christmas Lake Lodge in Colorado as research. She’ll spend a weekend doing holiday activities with her fans and gathering inspiration for her next book. Luke Larchmont, the lodge manager, initially thinks Riley’s a prima donna, but as they spend more time together, he gradually warms to the ambitious beauty. There’s little focus on their budding connection, however, as Schaler spends more time exploring Riley’s feelings for three ex-boyfriends who surprise her by showing up at the retreat hoping to win her back. The cast is charming and the atmosphere’s enchanting, but Riley and Luke’s surface-level flirtation is not enough to carry the love story. Schaler’s romance won’t sweep readers off their feet, but it will successfully transport them to a winter wonderland. (Oct.)