Desert Isle Keeper
Miracle on 5th Avenue
In the latest installment of Ms. Morgan’s From Manhattan With Love series, hopeless romantic Eva Jordan finds herself quite taken with best-selling crime author and recluse Lucas Blade. The victims of a slight matchmaking scheme on behalf of Lucas’ grandmother, the two could not seem more opposite, but quickly discover that not only do opposites attract, but they complement in unexpected ways. Miracle on 5th Avenue is a delight of a book and a perfect holiday read for contemporary romance fans.
This book is a standalone, but definitely connected to previous stories. Eva, along with two previous heroines Frankie and Paige, runs a concierge service called Urban Genie. With the holidays coming up, they’re slammed with tasks as grand as planning elaborate engagement parties and ones as mundane as arranging dog walking services for senior citizens wary of icy sidewalks. We open with Eva on her way to Lucas’ apartment at the behest of his grandmother. Lucas is on a tight deadline, you see, and is holed away in Vermont. His grandmother, who is a regular client of Urban Genie, has hired Eva to decorate his Manhattan apartment in his absence. She’s all too delighted to do so, as well as fill his fridge and freezer with gorgeous food.
But there’s one hitch in the plan; Lucas isn’t actually in Vermont, he’s skulking in his Manhattan apartment. When he happens upon Eva, standing in the dark and admiring the impressive view out his windows, he assumes her to be an intruder and summons the police. Hijinks ensue and verbal war is waged as the two decide to keep Lucas’ grandmother happy and let Eva decorate the apartment.
Lucas is beyond frustrated with this intrusion as he’s on an impending deadline to produce another complete novel in approximately three weeks and has no words written. Even worse, he has no idea to propel him to get words on the page. He’s bereft and antsy and annoyed, all of which he takes out on Eva. She’s different than anyone else he’s ever met, however, and her charm and self-possession win him over in the same way her cooking does.
Soon he discovers that hopeless romantic Eva is the perfect muse for the serial killer in his newest book and his creativity flows whenever she is around. She knows she’s an inspiration for a character, but assumes that it’s the a sassy but soft-hearted FBI profiler. She refuses to read any of Lucas’ books, as the blood drops on the front covers are enough to tell her she’d be terrified. Instead, she goes about making his home as conducive to writing as possible, slowly falling for him all the while. When she discovers the truth about which character she had inspired in his book, they both have some soul searching to do.
Their enforced proximity – Eva is living in the apartment while this decorating is happening – leads to speedy and intense emotional intimacy. Eva discovers why Lucas hates Christmas, the circumstances surrounding the death of his wife three years prior, and why he’s so drawn to crime. Lucas learns why his grandmother is so taken with Eva, what trust could really look like, and why she stubbornly believes in happily ever afters despite the world’s constant evidence that they don’t really exist.
The other Urban Genie girls make appearances true to their established characters and the famous grandmother is also a star. I don’t think anyone who hasn’t met Paige and Frankie before will be lost, but it might be a touch disorienting at first, as their characters are well established and presented so here.
Splashed through with Ms. Morgan’s signature warmth and wit, Miracle on 5th Avenue is the epitome of a warm, fuzzy, holiday novel. The conclusion comes just a bit quickly and Lucas’ big “aha, I’m an idiot” moment is a touch rushed, which is why I knocked the grade down to an A-, but this is delightful contemporary romantic fantasy at its finest. If you’ve never read Ms. Morgan before, I do believe you’re in for a treat. Throw this book in your carry-on for any upcoming holiday travel and enjoy your trip to Planet Eva, where love is both difficult and worthwhile, and a true happily ever after is only a page turn away.