The First Love Cookie Club
Grade : C+

Awkward only begins to describe the events in the prologue of this book. Seeing the future heroine humiliated in an extreme way caused me to start Chapter One with a negative perspective plus some skepticism as well.

Sarah Collier is a slightly overweight fifteen-year-old with braces on her teeth and dreams in her eyes when it comes to the guy next door. She’s convinced that Travis Walker is the man for her since she dreams of him each year when she places magical kismet cookies under her pillow.

When Sarah discovers that Travis is not only getting married but is in the church doing so at that very moment, she runs to the church and down the aisle in her jingle bell sweater and her bobbling reindeer antler headband to stop the wedding. As all in attendance listen to her tell Travis that he is her one true love and they are destined to marry, she exacerbates her situation by explaining that the kismet cookies are never wrong. With the bride raging at her and the attendees laughing loudly, Travis gently tells her to go home.

Nine years later Sarah (now Sadie Cool) is a well-known children’s book author. Her first and only book, The Magic Christmas Cookie, was a whopping success, but the writing of her second book is not faring so well. Her extended deadline is only weeks away and she continues to experience a severe case of writer’s block. In an attempt to jump start Sarah’s writing, her publicist shows her a letter from an eight-year-old girl in poor health by the name of Jazzy who wishes to meet the author of her favorite book before she dies. And coincidentally, Jazzy’s hometown has invited Sarah for a weeklong visit, making her honorary mayor during their Dickensian Christmas festival.

The town, Twilight, Texas, is none other than the scene of her dreaded run down the aisle (she hasn’t returned since) and Jazzy’s father is – you got it – Travis who is now a single dad.

Twilight is a picture-perfect place to spend the Christmas holidays, with its residents joyfully celebrating many of the old-fashioned traditions seldom seen these days. Commercialism of Christmas is not a worry in this town as they excel in focusing on the true love and giving spirit of the holiday. It’s also a romantic place with its Sweetheart Tree and businesses bearing names such as The Merry Cherub Bed and Breakfast. I couldn’t help but feel a little cynical about the perfection of the community with its clichéd interactions and gatherings that totally failed as a realistic contemporary backdrop.

Sarah won’t give Travis the time of day while he’s delighted to find that his daughter’s favorite author is actually the girl who’d grown up next door to him. She doesn’t talk, stays to herself, and when she does open up, it’s not in a friendly manner. Travis, on the other hand, is the hottest single dad in town and one who attends the town’s Christmas dance and dances to It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas. And he also plays the part of Father Christmas.

It’s difficult to see why Travis is attracted to Sarah other than her physical beauty. Although I understood her hesitancy and embarrassment regarding the past, she was so reserved towards the community that it bordered on rude. Her determination to keep others at arm’s length (and Travis in particular) made it hard for me to envision a successful romance for these two.

Don’t let the fairytale sweet description of the town and its residents fool you into thinking the sex remains lightly sweet as well. A Warm rating for most of the book, it certainly drifts into the Hot category for a period of time.

The First Love Cookie Club is book three in the Twilight Texas series. Not having read the first two books, it felt as though I’d been dropped in the middle of a continuing story. Centering on a group of women who cook, knit, and create together, they also take on the role of matchmakers with Sarah and Travis.

An unconvincing story for the first two-thirds, the last third proved to be quite moving with Sarah improving at her communication skills but it was not enough to warrant a recommendation. At times too sweet and others too unlikely, I think a lot of it comes down to the fact that I never got over that opening scene.

Reviewed by Lea Hensley

Grade: C+

Sensuality: Hot

Review Date : December 23, 2010

Publication Date: 2010/11

Review Tags: Holiday romance

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