Title: The First Love Cookie Club
Author: Lori Wilde
Series: Twilight, Texas #3
Type: Adult Contemporary Romance
In Twilight, Texas there is a tradition that states if you sleep with kismet cookies under your pillow on Christmas Eve you will dream of your soulmate. Sarah Collier once believed in that tradition, until as a teenager she ended up running down the church aisle on Christmas Day wearing a jingle bell sweater and reindeer antlers to try to stop Travis Walker from marrying someone else. Sarah was completely humiliated and hasn't been back to Twilight since. Now Sarah is all grown up and a successful children's author 'Sadie Cool', and has sworn off love completely. But a letter from a sick fan has brought Sarah back to Twilight, and she's about to find that Jazzy, her number 1 fan is the daughter of Travis Walker himself.
This was just one of the stack of Christmassy books I picked up this year, and with no reviews I decided to take a chance. I'm really glad I did. From the author's note at the start dedicating the book to the real life inspiration for Travis and Jazzy, who sadly didn't get a happy ending, to the sweet love story and kooky locals this book is a great read.
Sarah is sweet and easy to identify with, and Travis is the perfect hero but both thankfully manage to avoid the standard romance novel cliches. However Jazzy steals the show with her incredible zest for life despite all the odds. The townspeople reminded me a bit of the people in Stars Hollow in the Gilmore Girls; a bit kooky but kind hearted. The Dickens festival was a bit of an oddball idea in Texas, but it really works with the story.
The romance itself is well thought out, and doesn't see the characters leap into bed together as soon as they're reunited. It was good to see that each carried realistic scars from their lives that were dealt with sympathetically, and that outside meddling didn't interfere with the characters free will.
I'm definitely interested in reading some of the other Twilight novels - this is actually the third in the series, with The Sweethearts' Knitting Club first and then The True Love Quilting Club both before this, and is followed by book 4 The Welcome Home Garden Club. Chances are I'll also be baking a batch of kismet cookies using recipe on the author's website (check it out here), although they probably won't make it under my pillow.
All in all, a light seasonal read with unexpected depths that is well worth a read.