Thursday, February 9, 2012

Could Most of Us Even Remember our First Love? "The Christmas Cookie Chronicles: Carrie" by Lori Wilde

Come join a meeting of the First Love Cookie Club

"On Christmas Eve, if you sleep with kismet cookies under your pillow and dream of your own true love, he will be your destiny.""

Carrie MacGregor doesn't believe this--not one bit. She might be a "paid up" member of the Cookie Club and the local Sweethearts Knitting Club, but she's not about to give in to the forced ho-ho-ho of the season. And why? Mark Leland. When he left town he broke Carrie's heart. Now, the local-guy-made good is back, hosting the reality show "Fact or Fantasy."

Fact: Mark broke her heart. Fantasy: her friends think they'll be getting back together. But could the magic of a Twilight, Texas Christmas make Carrie's secret dreams come true?

Once again we encounter a wonderful holiday story that may seek to embrace the miracles and wonder of a Christmas season, but which is really, at its core, a delightful love story. But as most mature adults will testify, the road to true love seldom runs smooth, and so it is with Carrie, a woman whose first love left her, their home town, their brief, weekend-long marriage, and left her with eight years of silence. Mark was the man who stole her heart, who gave her a sense of belonging, and then disappeared even though he left her with promises that somehow never came true. Now Mark is a famous TV personality and host of a reality show dedicated to debunk local myths throughout the United States. The producers have now focused on Twilight and its myth that one can and will be re-united with one's true love when a penny is cast in the town fountain or one sleeps with these special cookies under one's pillow. Carrie is prepared to testify that it is all foolishness.

This is a story of two people who have gotten off the emotional track even to the point that they have strayed from their life goals and plans. Carrie is now a successful business owner but inwardly she is bitter and disappointed. Mark somehow knows that while he has the glitz and glamour of the entertainment industry, complete with arm-candy women and sumptuous life style, he knows in his heart that what he has always wanted to write is a novel. He is a journalist at heart.

I found this story to be a delightful read, one that reminded me of those days when I wondered what path my life would take. It introduces the reader to fun characters and a town which has built its entire social calendar and economy on this business of lovers finding each other. I had the sense that I was once again experiencing some of the feelings that made Carrie's days depressing, her persistent sense of disappointment over Mark's betrayal of their love, and her almost palpable loneliness. Yet underlying the obvious negatives of Carrie's personal experience was also a layer of optimism which even Carrie's unhappiness couldn't erase. It's a holiday story, to be sure, but it is a love story that will entertain and be a fun read at any time of the year. I had not read any of Ms Wilde's work recently, but was excited to be re-acquainted with her style, her evident story telling ability, and a story that left me with the sense that this is a story that will leave readers with that satisfaction serious readers experience when completing a really good story.

This is a book you'll not want to miss. I give it a rating of 4 out of 5.

The Kindle edition of this novel was published in November, 2011.

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