Tuesday, December 28, 2010

'Twas the Night by Sandra Hill, Kate Holmes, Trish Jensen

All aboard for the Santa Brigade!!

When I requested this book from netgalley.com, I was expecting your standard holiday anthology. But as I tried to determine which stories were 1, 2, and 3, I was surprised to learn that this was not an anthology at all, but a single story written “round robin” style by 3 authors. I’m glad I didn’t know that upfront because I probably would have passed on it. Why is that, you ask? Well, with an anthology, if you start 1 story and don’t like it – maybe the story itself isn’t appealing, or you don’t like the author’s writing, you can move on to the next. But with a book like this, you’re kind of forced to read through the "bad" to get to the good. Well, I’m happy to tell you that there was no "bad," and I’m so glad I had the chance to read this book.

‘Twas the Night is a contemporary romance, however there are actually three couples involved, each the focus of their own happily ever after. The way it was written was ingenious, if you ask me. Each author was writing about a different hero, with all three stories overlapping. Chapter 1 was about Sam, chapter 2 was about Kevin, and chapter 3 was about Stan. Then in chapter 4 we're back to Sam, chapter 5 is Kevin again and so on and so on. We were seeing similar scenes, the same happenings, but through different eyes, and I loved how seamlessly it all flowed together.

Now on to the story itself.

Imagine this – It’s a few days before Christmas and Sam, Kevin and Stan are trying to make their way back to Snowdon, Maine for their dear friend and mentor George’s wedding. Well, it just so happens that there’s a horrible snow storm and all planes have been grounded and trains halted. So how are they going to make it back home in time for the wedding? The Santa Brigade, of course! The Santa Brigade is made up of a bunch of senior citizens and others who spend their holiday on a bus traveling from one homeless shelter to another, spreading Christmas cheer to young and old alike. It was such a funny, heartwarming part of the story that I found myself cheering them on as they made their way to each place, sometimes having to call in hilarious favors for snow plows and assistance breaking into stores, as much as I did the couples and their budding relationships.

I just can’t emphasize enough, what a wonderful, feel good story this was. There was nothing intensely thought provoking or life altering to the story, but the romances were touching and there was enough steam to keep things interesting. It was definitely cheesy in places but really, it was worth every minute of every hour it took to read it.

I wavered between a 3.5 or a 4 star rating, but because in the end I was left with fond memories of their exploits and a huge smile on my face, I'm giving this story a full 4 stars. 'Tis the season, after all!

***Slight Spoiler/Question For Anyone Who Might Know***
This story was first published 9 years ago and what I read was the newly republished version. The epilogue invites us to the wedding of the three couples taking place in July 1st, 2011. Does anyone know If there’s another story related to this one being released at that time?

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