Title: Christmas Lane
Series: Lighthouse Bay: Book One
Author: Amy Aislin
Length: 65k Words
Category: Contemporary, Holiday Romance
At a Glance: Christmas Lane definitely brought me some smiles and Christmas cheer. There were a few spots that felt a bit over the top when it came to the drama/conflict parts of the story, but Holland and Zach were shmoopy and adorable.
Reviewed By: Jules
Blurb: It’s recent college graduate Zach Greenfeld’s favorite time of the year and he’s just received a temporary gig planning Lighthouse Bay’s Christmas parade. Not only does it speak to his penchant for organization, it also puts him face to face on a daily basis with his unrequited crush—Holland Stone. But his new job starts off in disaster when the most important float—Santa’s sleigh—gets damaged.
Holland needs to win the Lighthouse Bay Christmas parade float competition in order to grow his new dollhouse-making business. The prize is an article in a major city newspaper, and nothing beats free advertising. Except, eager to help the adorable parade organizer, he volunteers to help fix Santa’s sleigh, leaving no time to work on his own float, and putting his prize at risk.
Damaged floats, snowstorms, and a last-minute parade emergency force Zach and Holland closer than ever. All they need is a little bit of Christmas magic to help them realize they belong together.
Review: I’m pretty vocal about the fact that Christmas/holiday books are basically my crack. I begin compiling my list of must-reads starting in probably September—heh—and then squeeze in as many as I can from there. Amy Aislin’s Christmas Lane has been on my must-read list since she announced it was coming. I’ve read every one of her books, and pretty much adored them all, so there was no way I was missing her sweet, small-town Christmas romance.
Though I did enjoy the characters a lot, especially Holland, the setting and the premise are what made the book for me. Aislin’s fictional town of Lighthouse Bay, Maine, is as quaint as they come. It has all the small-town New England appeal you’d expect, including a main street that is fully decked out every year from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day and is aptly called Christmas Lane. The town also hosts a parade, complete with full-sized, holiday-themed floats, and a Christmas fair to bring the town together for the holiday. One of the businesses on the main street is Tiny’s Paninis, Zach Greenfeld’s parents’ café, currently run by Zach’s sister and, unfortunately, Zach himself. Zach has been working at the café since returning from college, partly to help the family but also because he’s having a hell of a time finding a job in his chosen field. So, it’s a dream come true when the head of the business association tasks him with organizing and overseeing the parade and fair when the town’s regular event planner has to step down.
The gig gives Zach the opportunity to gain some experience, which he could definitely use to help give him a leg up over the other applicants for a job he’s trying to get with a hotel chain in nearby Portland, but it also gives him the opportunity to work closely with his crush, local handyman and former teacher, Holland Stone. There is a little bit of awkwardness and fumbling around as each of them realize there is interest on the other side, but these guys are so sweet together once things start to develop. There is a fifteen-year age gap between them, but it doesn’t really bother Holland and is totally inconsequential to Zach. I loved his thought process here, when he was wondering why it mattered to some people:
What did that matter when you connected so viscerally with someone? What did it matter when Holland made him feel accepted for the first time in his life? Accepted and, more importantly, understood. What did it matter when Holland made his heart pound, his palms sweat, and his stomach bounce in joy? When Holland made him feel so wonderfully alive, like he belonged.
It turns out that Holland and Zach are wonderful for each other. They both have some insecurities about where they are in their lives, both personally and career-wise, and at times Zach is plagued with self-doubt, but the quiet, solid connection they have is really lovely and so good. Zach is Holland’s biggest cheerleader with regard to both his work on his parade float and his dollhouse making business, and Holland is there to help Zach when he needs a little care-taking or cheering up, or just a quiet space to work. There was one aspect of their romance that the author took in a different direction, which I thought was interesting and well-done. It was to do with Zach’s sexuality, which he was sort of questioning throughout the story, and I liked the journey and where he ended up.
Christmas Lane definitely brought me some smiles and Christmas cheer. There were a few spots that felt a bit over the top when it came to the drama/conflict parts of the story, but Holland and Zach were shmoopy and adorable, and I thoroughly enjoyed the supporting cast as well. Holland’s ex, Mika, ended up having a sizable role, as did his cousin, and roommate, Dev, and his best friend, Clark. I didn’t care for Zach’s sister Alana at all—but, you can’t win ‘em all! And, I also couldn’t help but notice that the book is listed on Goodreads as the first in a series… I sincerely hope that means that Dev and Clark have a story on the way! I am one hundred percent here for that. 😊
You can buy Christmas Lane here:
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