Desert Isle Keeper
Holiday Home Run
Looking for a fun, quick holiday read to get you in the mood for the upcoming winter months? Priscilla Oliveras comes through with a sweet novella filled with charm and spirit, Holiday Home Run.
Party planner Julia Fernández (Julia is a cousin to the three Fern ández sisters from Oliveras’ Matched to Perfection series, who all appear in the novella) is a level-headed member on a committee putting together the annual holiday soirée and fundraiser for the Chicago Youth Association. She’s hoping to turn this gig into a full-time job working with the CYA helping with their fundraising division; it’s her first gesture toward independence, away from a family she loves but who still expect her to return to Puerto Rico, take over their successful catering business and “find a good man and settle down already.” She’s not particularly impressed with the fame of the emcee of this year’s event, ex-baseball player Benjamin Thomas, though everyone else involved with the event is fawning all over him. It helps that her family’s obsessed with the sport – in Puerto Rico, it’s close to being a national religion – and because three of her brothers play, Julia is thus sick of hearing about it.
Ben has been looking for a sense of purpose ever since an injury ended his career far too quickly. Helping out the CYA has given his life fresh meaning and allowed him to connect to people who need his help and advice. Julia is a breath of fresh air for Ben – not only because she doesn’t care that he’s Chicago’s most eligible bachelor or because he’s famous, but because she’s take-charge and no-nonsense, just the type of woman he likes. And in spite of herself, Julia finds herself attracted to Ben’s sexy, twinkly charm. They quickly fall for one another and begin a romance. But when Ben surprises Julia with an appearance from her mami at the benefit with news that she’s planning on making her Chicago stay a permanent one – and she’s planning on doing it during a holiday visit… gulp!
The ride is a delightful one. Holiday Homerun gives us a beautiful peek into the vibrant lives of Puerto Ricans celebrating the holiday season, a memorably strong and smart heroine, and a hero who is charming and sexy. What more can you ask for from a holiday romance? There’s the pretty city atmosphere of Chicago, with its twinkling lights and giant firs, and there’s family drama and a cute romance to boot.
Oliveras has always done such a good job bringing to life the worlds in which her characters live, and this book is no exception. Chicago springs to life here with its skating rinks and snowy nights.
Ben and Julia are both wonderful – if flawed – people, and we get to know them as best we can in under ninety pages. The compressed length of the novella made me yearn for a little more, which is why this is a DIK but not a flat-out A.
The book’s addressing of tradition versus new ground and Julia’s pursuit of her own independent way through life is beautifully handled, and I really adored her relationship with her mother, which is loving but difficult and labored by expectations.
Holiday Home Run is a beautiful holiday story, and a sweet romance that will please folks who like the Matched to Perfection series as well as anyone who needs a sweet holiday pick me up.