Desert Isle Keeper
Write Before Christmas
I haven’t read anything by Julie Hammerle before but that will definitely change as I really enjoyed the setup and romance in this fun Christmas-themed story! Write Before Christmas is the type of story that would feature in a Hallmark Holiday special and would definitely be one I’d watch.
When fantasy author Matt finds himself suffering from writer’s block, his assistant helps him find a small town rental home where he can hide out and try to finish his story. Time is of the essence, even more so than would normally be the case with a publishing deadline because his story has been made into a TV series – The Saga – and they’re waiting on him to continue the plot. The second season is about to premiere and the show has already caught up with his books. The producers need the rest of the story to start pre-production on Season Three and he has exactly nineteen days to finish the script. There’s already been an unfortunate incident that caused some tongue-wagging when an interview at comic-con went awry, and the heat is on for Matt to get things done and repair his relationship with the TV show executives.
Out jogging to mull over story and plot ideas, Matt runs into a woman walking her dog, Ralph Wiggums, (named after a character from The Simpsons.) The woman laughingly confesses that her daughter named the dog, and that she’s not a TV watcher, a boon for Matt as it’s unlikely that she’d recognize him. It’s a meeting that lingers in Matt’s mind after she’s gone.
Dani is recently divorced and she’s reluctantly had to move back in with her parents with her nineteen-year-old daughter Kelsie in tow. Dani has just had to relay the bad newsvthat until she can get a job, Kelsie won’t be able to move into an apartment with a friend and will have to commute from her grandparents’ place while going to the local college.
Having not had a job since Kelsie was born, Dani doesn’t have many marketable skills – but she can cook. And housekeeping, while not a career aspiration, is definitely an area in which she has experience. While attending one of her sister’s yoga classes, she meets one of her other clients, Jane, an assistant to an author. When Jane mentions that she’s looking for a cook and housekeeper for her boss – who has strict requirements not to be bothered while he’s working – Dani is reluctant, but ends up taking the job. She has no interest in the author himself; it’s just a job for the pay and it will at least be something she can put on a resumé.
Naturally, Dani soon discovers that the person she is working for is none other than Matt, the man she ran into with her dog. And Matt, though initially suspicious at the coincidence comes to believe that Dani really has no idea who he is or about his TV show (though Kelsie is not so ignorant). The friendship they develop soon turns into something more. But Matt’s time is running out – both to turn in his script and in the small town. Will they get the happy ending they deserve or will it be cut short?
I love seeing an older couple with life’s many experiences under their belts influencing their actions and reactions. Both Matt and Dani are forty-five, have had other relationships (good and bad) and are wary of diving into something new. But a friendship is worth cultivating, and that friendship eventually leads them to a romantic relationship. This is a closed door romance so we get kissing scenes and the after-sex cuddling but the rest is left to the imagination. While I wouldn’t have minded a bit more steam, I was content with how it played out. Interestingly, Matt’s stories have some kinky love scenes though those are alluded to as opposed to put on full display. I enjoyed reading the bits of Matt’s stories that make it onto the pages as well, clearly an homage to a Game of Thrones-style fantasy.
The story is told from both points of view, and all of Matt’s chapter headings include the countdown to his deadline to turn in the story. The tension of his writing difficulties is ever present, especially as it’s clear that the TV studio has a different vision of where the story should be going than the actual plot that Matt has developed. This makes for a bit of a page turner, with the reader wondering how it can all work out for Matt in the end.
Dani’s family is a close-knit one and all the scenes between her and her family are very enjoyable. It’s a contrast to Matt, who is estranged from his mother and doesn’t have many trustworthy friends apart from his assistant Jane. So his friendship with Dani becomes very important to him. But his career is just as important and when they conflict, he has to decide what’s worth more.
Write Before Christmas is a delightful romantic comedy, with lots of scenes that will make you laugh and smile, plenty of witty banter, as well as really likable characters and an interesting plot. I’m definitely going to be looking for more from this author.
Buy it at: Amazon
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I'm a biochemist and a married mother of two. Reading has been my hobby since grade school, and I've been a fan of the romance genre since I was a teenager. Sharing my love of good books by writing reviews is a recent passion of mine, but one which is richly rewarding.