In A Fool’s Gold Christmas, Evie Stryker and Dante Jefferson are both battling ghosts from their pasts and trying to find a way towards the future. They form a friendship as outsiders from the close knit community of Fool’s Gold, but the holiday spirit soon ensnares even these jaded souls and they begin to form a bond with the community as they let go of the demons of the past. Romance blooms but both harbor scars from the past. Can they heal each other or with the past consume them?
A Fool’s Gold Christmas was a book I was really looking forward to. I only recently discovered Susan Mallery and fell in love with the Stryker family and Fool’s Gold when I read Summer Nights and All Summer Long. I loved both and in each Evie is mentioned and I was intrigued enough to think her story had the potential to blow me away.
Evie Stryker is the product of a one night stand shortly after her brothers’ father died. May Stryker was deeply in love with her husband and even though he was gone, could never get over her transgression. She was already a family with her three boys and Evie was the product of a night she would like to forget. Evie’s childhood was lonely and she was treated as an outsider in her family. As soon as she was able, she left. Now, due to an accident that left her without the ability to dance, she is home – against her will and her family is trying to make up for lost time.
Dante Jefferson is Rafe Stryker’s business partner. He’s an outsider in town, used to the hustle and bustle of the city life. He’s not having an easy time adjusting to small town life. When Evie moves in next door, Dante sees a beautiful woman and an outsider like him; they form a friendship built on the promise of getting through the holidays together that soon turns to romance. But Dante has loved and hurt those he loved in his past and vowed never to fall in love again.
I loved the evolution of Evie’s character. When she first comes back to town she’s bitter (rightly so) and can’t wait to get out. As she spends time in the small town and begins teaching dance to young girls, she slowly finds her niche and starts to fit in for the first time in her life.
What I didn’t like was May, Evie’s mother. I had a hard time with the way she treated Evie as a child, excluding her because of May’s mistake and making her feel an outsider in her own family. I can understand Evie’s attitude towards her and I also understand May is trying to make amends but it just seems too clichéd, too soon. They have one or two conversations and they are close. Evie doesn’t unleash her pent up feelings, she just lets them go. I get forgiveness but May is really written as a horrible mother to Evie.
Evie and Dante start as friends and romance blossoms. But I felt disconnected from the romance, the novel focused more on Evie finding herself and her place in her family and Fool’s Gold and I felt the romance was rushed and a little hard to get behind. Friendship blooming into love is fine and I loved them as friends but when they became lovers, the focus shifted again to Evie and I felt the emotional development failed.
Overall, I was disappointed in A Fool’s Gold Christmas. I expected a lot more and there was definitely a ton of potential to make Evie and Dante blow me away. I’m writing it off as the product of the Christmas themed novella, given a full length book, it could have been great, as it is, it’s just ok.