A woman completely under the thumb of her mother is jilted by her groom, forcing her to face the fact that she needs to figure out who she is and what she wants.
When Kelsey James is abandoned on her wedding day, she finds herself apologizing to her overbearing mother and taking the blame. It’s the culmination of a lifetime of playing it safe and appeasing her mother, who happens to be the mayor of Dallas, and Kelsey has finally had enough. Her best friend, Tasha Williams, dares her to take the next couple of weeks to do a Christmas of Yes, fashioned after Shonda Rhimes’ book Year of Yes: “You have to say yes to five challenges that scare you from now until New Year’s.” Under the influence of a few shots, Kelsey shares the story of her teenage love, Noah MacGregor, whom she’s never forgotten. Noah has since joined the NBA, had a career-ending injury, and moved back to his hometown of Twilight, Texas, opening a bed-and-breakfast on a paddleboat. Of course Tasha shuttles Kelsey to Twilight, where she and Noah have a chance to rekindle their love affair. But they each have issues they need to work through, the No. 1 challenge being Kelsey’s mother, who actively kept them apart 10 years earlier and is determined to keep Kelsey in her clutches. On the surface, Wilde’s newest Twilight title is a fun, sweet holiday read, and we actively root for Kelsey to stand up for herself and find happiness with Noah. However, it’s disheartening that Kelsey only rejects her mother’s abusive influence after a heartfelt conversation with her father gives her mother a disorder with a label. Given how bright and accomplished Kelsey is, it’s disappointing she can’t draw those conclusions herself and give herself permission to disengage.
Overall, a joyful, romantic Christmas read with a mostly satisfying, redemptive second-chance arc.