Saving Mr Scrooge by Sharon Booth

Moorland Heroes, #2

It's the time of peace on earth and goodwill to all men, but at Carroll's Confectionary, the meaning of Christmas seems to have been forgotten. New boss, Kit Carroll, is hardly winning friends with his high-handed attitude, his foolhardy approach to production, and his tight-fisted treatment of the factory's employees.

Marley Jacobs, his self-styled PA, is determined to make him see the error of his ways, and return the festive spirit to Carroll's Confectionary.

Unfortunately, the little matter of their previous relationship, along with Kit's callous treatment of her when they were teenage sweethearts, keeps getting in the way of her good intentions.

With encouragement from co-worker Don, romantic sister Olivia, and — astonishingly — the usually sceptical Great Uncle Charles, Marley decides to save this modern-day Mr Scrooge from himself, despite having no well-meaning ghosts to help her.

But revisiting the past doesn't just stir things up for Kit. As Marley struggles to deal with bittersweet memories, present-day events take a surprising turn. Can the future be changed, after all?

And is it only Kit who needs saving?

I'm not a big fan of normal contemporary romancing, romantic retellings of classics, or of Christmas romances (shudders). This one, however, is different. The leads are likable at first, especially the heroine. Eventually you figure out the Christmas miracle is not just saving the personality of one person, but saving two.

The heroine, Marley, thinks she is supposed to save someone else but ends up saving herself at the same time. The old, crotchety, and money hungry great-grandfather is reminiscent of Scrooge, greed, and showed that a life left unhealed isn't a life at all. He was a warning that fed into a well done retelling of the classic. Kit himself appears heartless at times but just keeps secrets close to himself.

We even get our very version of Tiny Tim and his own miracle - God bless everyone.

Sarcastic and funny (the Loverocks peppermint 'adult' candies, ahem), we get sweet romance that makes sense and holds histories, misunderstandings easily cleared up that aren't (sigh), Christmas cheer, Santa, Scrooge, decorating. It's all here.

There's plenty of potential for this type to be either silly or melodramatic, but the author fortunately avoids this. The story is mainly a character exploration with less happening behind the scenes, but the power plays and the factory with the small town and family distance made interesting reading as well.

Fans of holiday romances will want to check this one out. It's not steamy but it's genuine enough to tug on the heartstrings and say bah to all the possible humbugs that may arise to ruin an otherwise sentimental moment.

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