Mistletoe and Mr. Right
Someone had drawn a giant penis in the snow.
(Opening sentence, Mistletoe and Mr. Right.)
If the kind of humor contained in the above sentence escapes or repulses you, then you’re not going to enjoy Mistletoe and Mr. Right, a forthrightly goofy story about a rich girl trying to hunt down her town’s equivalent of Bigfoot, and the long-suffering man who agrees to back her up and tries to ground her while crushing madly on her from afar.
Lana Montgomery, a rich but down-to-earth girl and a semi-infamous socialite, is planning on building luxury condominiums on some land she’s recently bought in Moose Springs, Alaska, a small town she’s adored since she was a little girl. The locals do not approve of her plans for the land or the Montgomery Group – her family’s business, for which she works – thus the penis in the snow on the mountain above her property. Lana actually wants to fit in, so she’s doing all she can to benefit the little town and get the townspeople to actually like her, but thus far her only friends in town are Zoey and Graham Barnett (hero and heroine of book one, The Tourist Attraction) – and the handsome Rick Harding.
Rick has been carrying a torch for bubbly Lana for years, but she’s never noticed him, and has always kept things on a friendly level between them. It doesn’t help that he gets shy around her nuclear-bright wattage. So he’s content to let her glow while admiring the view from afar.
That is, until Lana decides to capture The Christmas Moose. A largely cryptological creature and a local legend, it’s known for eating the decorations all around Moose Springs, and has long menaced the local populace. Certainly Lana will win the admiration of the town if she can finally capture it and end its rampage.
Her first attempt involves her shooting Rick in the butt with a tranquilizer dart. It soon seems sensible that he should help her – after all, that will allow them to get closer, and perhaps stop her from killing herself or others. Will they track down their creature? Or will the Christmas Moose rampage also ruin Lana’s chances of becoming a true Alaskan?
Mistletoe and Mr. Right strikes just the right balance between goofy charm and genuinely engaging romance. Lana and Rick are very likable people, their romance is enjoyable, and the holiday-laden charm of Moose Springs is delightful to indulge in.
There’s a lot of cutesy silliness to be indulged in here – there’s recreational taxidermy, cryptids, company Christmas parties gone awry, and – yep – giant snow penises. But there’s nothing mean or too horrifying about the humor on display here.
The reason I haven’t awarded a higher grade is because the chemistry between Lana and Rick is pleasant, but not captivating. I wanted more spice between them, but as-is they were sweetly pleasant together. Two lonely people brought together by the spirit of hunting for mildly unpleasant creatures – you can’t get better than that.
Zoey and Graham play a major role in the novel, and the glimpses we get of them are pretty satisfying. Morgnthaler’s Alaska, too, feels like a must-see place, with its charming small towns, big green pine trees and glittering white snow. Its denizens are several steps to the right of those in Northern Exposure’s Cecily, Alaska, and will likely bring some smiles to those of you who’re both yearning for the holiday season and a warmer, funnier place.
The book’s humor is broad – sometimes incredibly kooky – but in the end it’s worth reading through to that last corny joke. Mistletoe and Mr. Right is as warm as a bonfire, a sweet delight that will open any reader’s holiday season with brightness.
Buy it at: Amazon, Audible, or your local independent bookstore
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