Trace Franklin is the workaholic CEO of a toy manufacturing business who befriended Mae Holiday while on a vacation at her Holiday Retreat Bed & Breakfast. When the elderly lady passed away, she left an invitation for him to visit the retreat over the holiday season. Trace thinks he is going to be celebrating and honoring Mae's memory alone, so is surprised to find a lovely mother and her young daughter already in residence when he arrives.
After recently weathering through a nasty divorce, Savannah Holiday thinks that running her aunt's bed & breakfast is just the change she needs in her life. However, the place is badly in need of repairs, and she has very little money. In order to get the place running again, Savannah believes that she and her daughter will have to forgo Christmas gifts this year, but all that may change when Trace shows up on her doorstep. The enigmatic businessman proves to be far more than he seemed at first glance, brightening her holiday in unexpected ways, and in return, Savannah and her daughter are able to show Trace the real joy of the Christmas season.
The Perfect Holiday was a sweet, heartwarming Christmas tale and my first read by Sherryl Woods. The author really managed to set the Christmas mood at a snowy bed & breakfast in Vermont with all the trappings of the holiday season. The way the heroine's aunt was still playing matchmaker from beyond the grave added a fun, whimsical touch to the story. Mae was obviously a very wise woman who knew that her niece and the young man who'd become a dear friend to her would make a perfect couple.
Savannah was a wonderful single mother who was struggling a bit with loneliness and a sense of belonging after an unpleasant divorce from her workaholic husband. Aunt Mae had bequeathed her bed & breakfast, Holiday Retreat, to Savannah when she passed away. The place is badly in need of repairs and refurbishing though. The inn has been in Savannah's family for generations, so in spite of having very little money, she is determined to do what needs to be done to get the place running again. Savannah had obviously raised her daughter well, because Hannah was simply excited by the holiday season and didn't even complain about not getting gifts for Christmas when Savannah told her they couldn't afford it. Savannah also was a great cook and a hard worker, who I was convinced could set the inn to rights and would be a success running it.
Trace was a workaholic himself which initially scares Savannah away from him even though she's very attracted to him. Trace proves himself far different from her ex-husband though, when he lays aside his work to help her with repairs on the inn and holiday preparations. He never had happy Christmases growing up and is surprised to find spending the holiday season with Savannah and Hannah is fun. Trace had been a great friend to Mae and learned many valuable lessons from her. At first, he only goes to Holiday Retreat to honor Mae's memory, but soon it becomes far more than that to him as he finds himself falling in love with Savannah.
The Perfect Holiday takes place over just a few days time, so it requires some suspension of disbelief to accept that Trace and Savannah could fall in love and be ready for a lifetime commitment so quickly. Between the magic of the holiday season and Mae's matchmaking from beyond the grave, it wasn't too difficult for me to believe in this couple's HEA. Overall, this was a perfect little story to get me in the holiday spirit, and it has definitely left me open to trying Sherryl Woods other works. The Perfect Holiday can be found in the anthology, That Holiday Feeling. It was also previously published in the anthology, So This Is Christmas.
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