Ivy loves Christmas, which is good since she’s the proud owner of Christmas Every Day, a shop where it’s—well, Christmas every day. However, while she adores running the store in her mother’s memory, sales have been slumping and bills are piling up. Everything changes when a mysterious businessman, Seb, waltzes in and spellbinds the tiny town of Marram Bay, promising new holiday homes and a bustling economy. All he has to do is knock down the Christmas business and he’ll have the perfect spot. But Ivy won’t let her shop go without a fight, even if Seb is ridiculously charming.
There’s nothing quite as quaint as a Christmas store and author Portia MacIntosh pulls out all the stops to ensure Christmas Every Day is deeply alluring. Christmas trees in every corner, baubles in every cranny, and bit of a cheeky Santa all make an appearance in this festive story. Moreover, Ivy is running her dream business, passed down from her deceased mother, raising the stakes and making her completely compelling. Ivy is a hardworking, delightfully jolly woman who grounds the entire story and gives it its heart.
This is not to suggest that the rest of the cast is slouching. What good is a Christmas read if it doesn’t have quirky secondary cast? Holly, Ivy’s twin sister, hates Christmas and needles Ivy about her lack of love life. Gaz, a trained actor and professional Santa, doesn’t totally understand workplace etiquette. Then there’s rest of the town, which struggles with wanting a change for the village while also not wanting to betray Ivy. It’s a series of plots that expertly intertwine into the perfect present.
Of course, then there’s Ivy’s main foil, and MacIntosh deserves extra praise for her handling of the slick Seb. His appeal is apparent and his actions are realistic and understandable while remaining completely frustrating. It’s an impressive execution, leading to a desire for Ivy’s business to succeed, Seb’s to fail, and their obviously budding romance to blossom—each thing contradicting the other. The end result, though, is something deeply satisfying.
This is a perfect Christmas read, blending the romance, nostalgia, and confusion so abundant in the season. In a way, MacIntosh has crafted a book that feels like I imagine Christmas Every Day would. It’s brimming with expertly packaged holiday cheer while holding an underlying warmth and tenderness. Simply, it’s pure love.
Title: Love and Lies at the Village Christmas Shop
Author: Portia MacIntosh
Publisher: HQ Digital
Publication Date: October 08, 2018
Note: I received a free ARC copy of this book through NetGalley.