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by Richard Paul Evans

Pub Date: Nov. 2nd, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-9821-7742-3
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

A surviving twin falls for a mystery man in this Yuletide love story.

Growing up in Utah, identical twins Michelle and Richelle Bach, or Micki and Ricki, had been virtually indistinguishable in appearance but had different personalities. Micki was the fun one who’d barely squeaked through high school, needing help from Ricki, the class salutatorian and the story’s narrator, to even graduate. Dad gave each a gorgeous black opal worth 15 grand as a graduation present. (Opaleeze, who does that?) Later, the twins had become estranged after Ricki found Micki in bed with Ricki's fiance. Later still, Micki dies (the events are unconnected). Ricki is a dedicated pediatric ICU nurse and an aspiring writer. One day, a handsome stranger named Justin visits her Calliope Writers Group, and he appears to be wholesome as can be. He charms Micki with lines like, “I’ve always believed love should be a little reckless. Sometimes a lot.” And so they fall in love, of course, but the road to bliss is fraught with uncertainty: Why did he come to Salt Lake? What’s his real interest in a writers group, given that he’s not a writer? Why does he keep leaving town and returning? “I guess when something looks delicious, we’re less inclined to check the ingredients,” she muses. That this is a Christmas-themed story suggests sugar rather than spice—Justin seems so gosh darned good—so let’s hope he lives up to his promise. Speaking of which, Ricki says, “I made my father a promise that I never fulfilled.” Love, forgiveness, and downright decency must try to overcome multiple betrayals and personal losses. The book’s best line is Ricki’s: “My question hung in the air like a piñata, just waiting to get smacked.” How much must she endure? The big twist near the end is either an eye-roller or heartwarming as the dickens, depending on one’s worldview, and it all leads up to a Christmas finale.

Cozy up to a crackling fireplace with your Christmas cookies and eggnog and enjoy this holiday treat.