Gavel and Garland (A Dickens Holiday Romance)


Elizabeth McKenzie, Dickens young mayor has more than enough on her plate running the small, fictitious New England town. Add to that a freak snowstorm that strands her miles from home, a runaway niece, and broken water pipes and who knows what will ensue. When military veterinarian Daniel Murray arrives in Dickens to serve as best man at his good friend’s wedding, the last person he expects to see is the beautiful redhead from the airport. Perhaps his extended visit will be even more enjoyable than he first anticipated.

Author Kathryn Hills has written a holiday-movie-worthy romance. Set in a picturesque small town known for its Christmas spirit, “Gavel and Garland” adds a nice twist to the usual holiday romance formula. Mix in some very entertaining supporting characters, including two very lovable dogs, and you’ve got a recipe even better than Doctor Dan’s spiked cocoa. Beth’s devotion to both her job and her niece is very touching and added to the development of her overall character. Dan’s habit of nicknaming everyone he meets is just quirky enough to be entertaining. When they both have parts to play in the wedding of their mutual friends, the sparks fly. Slowly, at first, due to Beth’s professional persona, but then their mutual attraction picks up speed nicely. The inconvenience of the broken water pipes seems a bit contrived as a way to force Beth and Dan into close quarters for much longer than should have been necessary. That, combined with a really quick declaration of love, keeps “Gavel and Garland” from being exceptional. All in all, if you love movie-worthy holiday romances, you’ll really enjoy this book.

N.E. Kelley