Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Guest Book Review: Christmas Bliss

By Allie Smith

In the novella Christmas Bliss, Mary Kay Andrews revisits her fans’ favorite characters from her bestselling book, Savannah Blues. That novel’s success spawned the follow-up books, Savannah Breeze and Blue Christmas. The heroines of these funny tales are Weezie and Bebe, best friends who would do anything for each other – and have! Weezie is now engaged to her delicious Chef Daniel and their Christmas Eve wedding is fast approaching. She is feeling the stress of Christmas and wedding planning, which is exacerbated by her growing concerns for her pregnant best friend and her dad, whose health is failing. Daniel’s away on a month long job in New York City, working for a gorgeous and sexy restaurateur. With less than a week to go until the wedding, what’s a frazzled bride to do? Jump on a plane to New York, of course.

Bebe has her own set of problems. She’s eight months pregnant with her boyfriend Harry’s baby and getting more uncomfortable by the day. Harry wants to get married, Bebe does not - and she has a secret. Turns out her second husband never filed divorce papers, so she’s still legally married to a man who she believes is incarcerated. Not so fast, Bebe. Seems her “ex-husband” is out on parole and nowhere to be found. Baby daddy Harry’s a deep sea fisherman who’s been gone a lot, which often causes the mom- to-be unnecessary stress. Bebe’s rising blood pressure makes everyone wonder if she could end up having a Christmas baby.

I’m a huge fan of Ms. Andrews and I’ve read all her books, so of course I was familiar with the characters. I’m happy to report that the author does a sufficient and seamless job of introducing everyone with just enough background that you’ll have no problem enjoying the story. In short, you don’t have to read the other books to understand what’s happening (although I highly recommend you do, because they’re fabulous). This book is a sweet read, filled with vivid descriptions of food, clothes and interiors that are the hallmark of an Andrews’s novel. I got so lost in the blissful Christmas worlds of New York City and Savannah that it was disconcerting when I would look up and see my pumpkins and the fall leaves on the ground.

Weezie and Bebe haven’t lost their pizazz. They’re so funny and real that their dialogue just hums along as if you were a part of the conversation. My one complaint about this book is that they’re not together enough, since both ladies are preoccupied with their own problems in separate cities. That being said, the scenes and storylines they share with their respective partners more than makes up for it. As a reader, I was delighted to read about healthy relationships, which added to the feel good theme of the Christmas story. Each lady, after conquering her own set of bah-humbug issues, experiences Christmas bliss. The book made me smile.

This is a great gift for a friend who is an antique lover or an HGTV addict. Weezie owns and operates an antique store and the book is loaded with Junker tidbits and interior decorating ideas. The food descriptions will make you drool and the wedding details will spark the envy of any bride. But most of all it’s a story about the bliss we experience from true friendship.

Thanks to Tandem Literary for the book in exchange for an honest review. They're doing a giveaway along with Mary Kay's interview.

Allie Smith, a former CPA who five years into her career decided that she hated working with numbers and willingly gave it all up to be a stay-at-home mom, lives in suburban Atlanta with her husband and four children. In between carpool, play dates and refereeing the kids, she loves to read and write. The mother of a child with autism, she is currently working on a memoir of their journey. She can be found at her blog.

More by Mary Kay Andrews:

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