A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS

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Jessica Connolly loves living in Blue Moon Bay, California. She’s surrounded by friends and family, and she operates a successful bakery in the center of town. She’s constantly baking cakes for other people’s weddings, including those of multiple ex-boyfriends, but she worries she’ll never have reason to create a cake for herself. Then one day, Dr. Mitch Jameson walks into her bakery, recently returned from a Doctors Without Borders trip to Cambodia. With his movie-star good looks and engaging personality, it seems like he’d be a great catch for anyone, but Jess knows better; she’s been friends with Mitch’s younger sister, Lia, for years, and she’s well aware that Mitch never sticks around in Blue Moon Bay more than a few weeks at a time. Even so, as he picks up his family’s Christmas order, sparks begin to fly. Jess isn’t surprised when he mentions that he’ll be leaving town on Christmas for his next assignment. Even so, their chemistry is undeniable, and when he asks her to dinner, she accepts. As they grow closer, Jess worries she’s setting herself up for heartbreak. Meanwhile, Mitch wonders if it’s time for a change to his nomadic lifestyle. Told alternately from both perspectives, the story effectively follows both Jess and Mitch as they dive deeper into a relationship, each one reevaluating their own beliefs and goals. Although both characters are eminently likable, they also struggle with anxieties that are more complex than the novel’s accessible, upbeat prose would initially suggest. The story also delivers steamy sex scenes and a well-rounded cast of charming supporting characters. However, it also leaves multiple intriguing plot threads dangling without resolution. Still, the narrative’s insightful exploration of self-sacrifice, self-doubt, and personal evolution is sufficiently compelling to keep readers satisfied.

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