cover image A Very Bavarian Christmas

A Very Bavarian Christmas

Katie M. Reid. Mountain Brook, $14.99 trade paper (286p) ISBN 978-1-95395-747-4

A jaded 30-year-old rediscovers the holiday season’s magic in Reid’s upbeat if clumsy latest ( after Made Like Martha). Holly Brigham is broke, single, and has recently moved back to Bavarian Falls, her stifling Midwestern hometown and the “capital city of Christmas.” She’s hated the holiday since the Christmas more than 20 years ago when her father suffered a brain aneurysm that left him a shell of himself. As she acclimates to life back home, Holly finds distraction in dueling romantic interests Nik Beckenbauer and Frank Walker, and in painting ornaments at the local Christmas store. But her outlook doesn’t start to shift until a devout older couple shows up at the store and reminds Holly that God “brings good out of difficulties.” That message, along with a return to therapy, helps Holly to let go of the past, rediscover her love of Christmas, and envision a new future “instead of fixating on the one I thought was guaranteed.” While Reid’s Hallmark moviesque premise has promise, her characters aren’t quite captivating enough to make up for the heavy-handed exposition and abundance of awkward metaphors (“Nik’s tenderness melted Holly like a puddle on the driveway of her childhood home”). This comes up short. (Sept.)