A Perfect Holiday Story

5 out of 5 stars

I’ve read a lot of books, including a ton of romance books. I am also a big Christmas fan, so believe me when I say that Rachel Spangler’s Christmas Mouse, narrated by Ann Shanks Etter, is a delightful addition to the holiday season. This book is insanely cute, delivering a heartwarming story that kept me smiling ear to ear throughout. I live near Buffalo (ironically near the author) and it started snowing as I read this. So even though it’s March – I still felt at home reading a Christmas novel after the season.

I love the premise, starting off with a “city mouse” aka Bex going home with her friend and co-worker to Vermont for Thanksgiving and meets the “country mouse” Ava. They both LOVE Christmas and think each other’s area (city vs country) is the best place to celebrate Christmas. What follows is a bet to see who has the better Christmas, but what comes out of it may end up so much more.

The chemistry was off the charts in this one. I could tell instantly that it would be that “match of wits” sort of relationship. Each one of them would sort of “one up” the other without it feeling mean/bad. Both scenes (city and country) were just jaw-droppingly cute. When in the city, Bex showed her some of the best things that NYC had to offer. But when in the country, Ava included Bex in her family events and opened her eyes to celebrating as a family (just like the Hallmark movies that Bex hates and Ava loves). Each new event and thing seemed to open their eyes, and as the book went towards the latter parts I found myself unsure of how it would end. I really wanted them to end up happy and together but I didn’t know how it would happen.

Rachel Spangler’s ability to weave a story that is both heartwarming and surprising is truly commendable. I was completely engrossed in the narrative, eagerly awaiting the resolution of the City Mouse vs. Country Mouse dilemma, their bet, and how they were going to deal with the chemistry between them. When the twist finally came, I was not disappointed. The emotional depth of the ending took me by surprise, and I found myself reaching for the tissues.

Ann Shanks Etter’s narration is, as always, top-notch. Her performance adds an extra layer of charm and emotion to the story, bringing the characters to life in a truly captivating way

Book Description:

What makes for the perfect Christmas? Where or how you spend it, or perhaps, who you share it with?

Small-town woodworker Ava Collins and big city doctor Bex Leone both love Christmas. Some might go so far as to call them obsessed. They love Christmas music, Christmas food, Christmas carols, and Christmas movies.

When the two women meet over a Thanksgiving dinner, it seems for a second they might have finally found their mistletoe match, but their initial connection goes wildly awry when they realize their versions of what constitutes an ideal Christmas differ as drastically as the places they choose to spend their holidays.

Ava is to idyllic, homespun Vermont as Bex is to the flash and sparkle of New York City. What begins as a good-natured argument about who has the superior way to celebrate the season ends in a friendly bet: The country mouse and the city mouse will each split the season in an attempt to convince the other their way is the truest path to holiday happiness.

Ava agrees to spend two weekends on Bex’s turf in Manhattan, as long as Bex will visit her in the mountains of Vermont for the other two. For one whirlwind month, each woman works to showcase her favorite traditions, memories, and magic. As snowy days give way to starlit nights, Bex and Ava find the ideals that brought them together offer more common ground than either of them expected, but as they grow closer to one another, they begin to fear that in order to act on their deepening connection each of them may have to relinquish cherished parts of themselves.

With the big day rushing toward them, questions remain: Who will win their bet? And perhaps more importantly, what are they willing to lose in the process?

Christmas Mouse by Rachel Spangler
Narrator: Ann Shanks Etter
Length: 8 hrs and 33 mins
Published by Self Published on November 10th 2023
Genres: Friends to Lovers, Holiday, LesFic/Sapphic Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Buy from Audible
Also by this author: Fire & Ice, Thrust, Quiver

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