ROMANCE

The Forever Christmas Tree

Avon. (Bell Sound, Bk. 1). Oct. 2018. 353p. ISBN 9780062854070. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062854087. CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE
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Twelve years ago, Ethan Rutledge's high school sweetheart Wendy Patterson left Bell Cove on North Carolina's Outer Banks without a word. It was his fault, and he knew it, but he still holds a grudge. Yet this year for the first time, Wendy, now a high-powered Navy WEAL (female SEAL), is coming home for Christmas, and Ethan, a widowed single dad and successful Christmas tree farmer, is more uptight than ever. Tempers flare as they sort out the past and try to deal with the inconvenient truth that their feelings for each other have never died. A picture postcard town with a bell-making history; a quirky assortment of meddlesome townsfolk, family, and navy personnel; and a holiday celebration complete with a Grinch contest and outrageous Christmas traditions provide the perfect backdrop for this heart-tugging romance.
VERDICT Sassy, spicy, and often hilarious, this holiday charmer is infused with all the seasonal spirit one tiny town can muster. In the disastrous wake of Hurricane Florence, this title with its Outer Banks setting is especially poignant. Hill (Cajun Persuasion) lives in Pennsylvania.

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