Monday, October 18, 2021

The Post Box at the North Pole, by Jaimie Admans

HQ Digital, October 2021

Sasha Hansley hates Christmas, and has ever since her mother was killed in a car crash, and her father, Percy, after recovering from his injuries in the crash, left England. He calls, but he doesn't come home, not even for Christmas, not even when he has promised to do so. Instead, he asks her to join him on one travel adventure after another, and she refuses, having no desire to travel. Sasha occupies her time with one dead-end job after another, feeling unimportant and unvalued. Her father, though, thinks she's now the manager of a major hotel, and turned its fortunes around. She didn't tell him that; it was a misunderstanding when she applied for the job, told him, and he decided that she obviously got it. Now, she feels he's finally proud of her, and can't bear to tell him it's not true.

Right now, she's just lost her latest job, with a dog-walking business, because the owner's sister needed the job.

And her father calls from Norway, sounding old and frail, and telling her that he's had a heart attack. He wants her to come to the Christmas village where he's living and working. He's insistent. He's already paid for her tickets. And he needs her.

The woman who hates Christmas finds herself at the North Pole Forest. It's failing business that her father wants to save--wants her to save, his daughter who turned a major hotel around.

Her father owns it. He bought it from the former owner. His only staff now is Tav, a tall, handsome, powerful, very closed-off man. Not silent; he's full of stories about elves and knowledge about reindeer, and he runs a reindeer sanctuary. He talks about the magic of Christmas and the value of the North Pole Forest for children. What Tav doesn't talk about is himself.

There is something especially charming about the place, even for someone who hates Christmas, but all its income-earning parts except Santa's Grotto are in poor repair, and Tav is trying to do all the repair work himself. Despite her determination to persuade her father to be sensible and sell the property, Sasha finds herself being drawn in to the necessary work, including reading the letters to Santa that still arrive in quantity, and answer the ones where it seems appropriate.

Sasha is also getting drawn in by Tav's reindeer, and by Tav.

But all three of them, Percy, Sasha, and Tav, have secrets, and those secrets are going to collide in an emotional blow-up.

I really enjoyed the story, and the characters. Sasha's feelings of not being important to her surviving parent, and therefore not important to anyone, were all too familiar to me.

Recommended if you enjoy a satisfying, magical, Christmas romance.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley and Rachel's Random Resources.

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