by Michele Gorman – Warning: this review contains some spoilers. Proceed at your own risk!
Michele Gorman’s novella continues the story of Hannah Cumming, an American expat who moved to Hong Kong to be with the man she loves and almost lost. The series began with Single in the City and continued in Misfortune Cookie. In this final novel in the series, Hannah believes Sam Parker is going to propose to her over the Christmas holidays, when they’re at Hannah’s family home in Connecticut and surrounded by her family… and the prospect frightens and thrills her, in turns.
There’s no doubt Hannah love Sam, but she hasn’t always been, well, herself with him. Now she’s as afraid that he might not want to marry the “real” her as she is that she might have to keep up the pretense that she’s an adventurous nature lover for the rest of their life together. She wants to be honest about her couch-potato preferences, but doesn’t quite know how or where to start.
Over the twelve days leading up to Hannah and Sam’s trip to the U.S., Hannah struggles with her dilemma, supported by her quirky friends (all of whom know her true nature much better than Sam) and nearly swamped with love and desire when she’s with Sam.
As if that weren’t enough, Hannah’s boss is trying to sell his party-supplies business, his longtime secretary is trying to get Hannah deported and her first-ever bikini was came out, um, uneven.
Despite the heavy themes, this novel is funny and sweet, with unexpected moments of hilarity. I laughed aloud several times and, to use a cliché, felt Hannah’s pain more than once.
Although I am not generally a fan of holiday-themed romance novels, where the ending seems assured and the tropes of the holiday are predictable and formulaic, I highly and without reservation recommend this book. Perhaps because it is set in Hong Kong, the traditional American Christmas activities do not intrude. And while I expected a happy ending, given the genre, I wasn’t sure what that would be until Hannah herself decided it in a climactic airport scene. The outcome surprised me, as I could see it easily going another way, but it was entirely logical and satisfying.
Disclosure: For review purposes, I received a free advance copy of the eBook.