“Hearts… don’t let you lie, even to yourself.” That’s the lesson Darcy Fitzgerald learns in her attempt to navigate the holiday season after a devastating divorce. Since her childhood, her family and her ex-husband’s family have celebrated Thanksgiving and Christmas together, but after their divorce, the strain of trying to put on a happy face for the sake of togetherness was too much for Darcy to bear. Ready for a change, Darcy accepts an invitation from a friend whose family gathers in sunny Florida for their holiday celebration. There she connects with Logan O’Donnell and discovers that the “dreams she had set aside actually had a chance of coming true.”
The latest addition to Susan Wiggs’ Lakeshore Chronicles series, Candlelight Christmas is a feel-good holiday read, perfect for those cozy evenings beside the Christmas tree. The main characters are interesting and likeable, and they complement each other well.
Darcy is the kind of woman who loves with all her heart, so when she finally gives her heart away, she believes only the best will follow. Her divorce shattered that belief. Abandoned by the man who vowed to love, honor, and cherish her for life, Darcy decides that love is overrated. To protect herself from any more hurt, she goes “from being a woman who thought she could have it all to being a woman who wanted none of it.”
Logan O’Donnell challenges that assumption. He knows what it’s like to have a marriage fall apart, yet he still has the capacity to give. Logan loves his son without reservation, cherishes time with his extended family, and opens his home to care for a friend’s children while she is incarcerated. His whole life is characterized by his willingness to offer love even when it hurts.
The fact that Darcy is attracted to him doesn’t offer her comfort, it terrifies her. She knows too well how a good thing can go terribly wrong, but the temptation to give her heart to this man grows stronger the more she’s with him. Logan has survived the hurt and emerged from the devastation as a man who can still embrace hope, follow his dreams, and believe in love. He’s the answer to the prayer she’s too afraid to voice.
And Darcy is the woman Logan’s been waiting for all his life. She loves adventure, fits smoothly into the fabric of his family, and is great with his son. Her appearance in his life is the perfect gift, one that he intends to cherish until death do them part. He just has to convince her to trust what he knows they both feel. As it turns out, Logan is quite persuasive, and Darcy realizes that “when it comes to leaps of faith,” she’s still a “frequent flyer.”
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Tucked inside the wrapping of this holiday romance is a story about the intricacies of life: the joys—and the frustrations—of a close-knit family, the sacrifices and rewards of parenthood, the gift of true friendship, and the resilience of the human heart. Candlelight Christmas delivers good tidings and holiday cheer to everyone who still believes in the gift of second chances. Susan Wiggs offers readers a satisfying read perfect for the holiday season, but enjoyable any time of the year. I encourage you to grab a copy for your Christmas stocking then take the time to find out more about Susan Wiggs and her other Lakeshore Chronicle titles on her website.
~Vickie Price Taylor