Mistletoe & Mr Right
by Sarah Morgenthaler
I received an e-ARC of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I requested this book from Netgalley because this year I really wanted to read some holiday romances during the month of December. The premise of a small town in Alaska with a mysterious moose was just the setting to pull me in and keep me interested. Or at least, that was the hope initially.
This novel follows the perspectives of our two main characters, Rick and Lana. Lana’s family are moguls whose fortune is nearly unimaginable (and she’s set to inherit it all), and ever since she could drive she’s been escaping to this small town in Alaska when she needs to mentally bring herself back down to earth. For Rick this town is his home and livelihood, and while it might not be right for everyone (like his ex-wife) it is right for him.
I’ll be honest, what sold me from the plot was this quirky moose, and the hot shot business woman who was tasked with catching it in an attempt to win the town over. Unfortunately, I don’t think Lana was able to win me over, much less the town. Throughout the story Lana continues to remind us why the people of this small town dislike, distrust, and keep their distance from her. While she has her own heroic, yet fleeting, moments which should bring the reader onto her side, I didn’t find myself the least bit persuaded.
Objectively, I can see that this is just my opinion. The character is set up in such a way that it would be easy for the reader to root for her and come to an understanding about who she is and what she wants in life, but for some reason that just fell flat with me. I do think that there are plenty of readers who will meet Lana and adore her.
What this novel does have going for it is the writing. I was really impressed with the introspective moments with each character, and the attention to details when it came to Lana’s background with her family and her job.
Of course, this is a romance so let’s talk about the relationship. I thought this was well done and did enjoy the cute moments Rick and Lana shared, as well as their real and relevant (to them) struggles. This novel ran its course at a low sizzle, and used a lot of fade to black scenes which may not always satisfy the reader’s curiosity. Despite that, the connection between Rick and Lana was believable and fun to watch.
There were a few things that ticked my bookish pet peeves box: the repetitive use of pet names by every character and for every character, Lana’s job which I personally have zero interest in reading about, and her exterior personality. I was also frustrated by the fact that so much of the catalytic events took place in the latter half of the book. The pacing could have been edited in a way that kept me more interested in the middle half of the novel, so that the ending didn’t feel so rushed, cluttered, and lackluster.
The entire novel, starting from the synopsis and the cover blurb, was sprinkled with hints of this mystery moose (spoilers ahead) who does finally make a disappointing appearance literally on one of the last pages. I went in sort of expecting the story to revolve around this moose, and with the way it was mentioned in what felt like every chapter, I really don’t think it got the finale it deserved. Could the moose have saved this book for me? I’m not sure. It definitely wasn’t terrible, and I would recommend this book to light romance enthusiasts. This was just a case of an unlikeable character, who may only be unlikeable to me, myself, and I.