12 Daves Of Christmas
Escape Publishing (Harlequin AUS)
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley
Abby Solomon writes romances for a living but lives a bit of a solitary life with no significant other. When her recently deceased Grandma pays her a visit, Abby wonders if maybe all that solitude is getting to her and she’s hallucinating. But no, Grandma Charlotte really is there and she has a task for Abby.
She wants Abby to find her long lost love, a man named Dave that she waited for during the war. They were supposed to meet after it ended but Dave never showed and eventually Charlotte married someone else and had a long and happy life with him. But he’s gone and now Charlotte’s chance of happiness in the ever-after hinges around finding Dave. Abby’s research yields 12 possibilities in the area Charlotte thinks that Dave would’ve chosen to settle down and she decides to undertake a roadtrip for Christmas, visiting the 12 Daves over 12 days and seeing if any of them are The One.
It’s not easy, finding the Daves and engineering meetings that don’t look suspicious. Some of the Daves are easily discounted – too young, too old, not quite right in other ways. Then Abby meets a Dave of her own, a young doctor. Maybe this road trip might not only secure Grandma Charlotte’s future happiness but also Abby’s own.
I have to admit, Juliet Madison’s books seem to be an exception to the rule that I don’t like books with a bit of the ‘woo woo’ magic in them. This is the second I’ve read now and they’re highly entertaining and very fun to read. I really should read all the others, I don’t know what’s stopping me. Oh right, of course I do. My TBR pile of hundreds and hundreds of books!
Anyway, in this one Abby is a romance author. She quit her job to write full time, having loved romance since reading her grandma’s Mills & Boons as a teenager (didn’t we all! That’s how I got into reading romance). Grandma has recently passed away and Abby is still feeling the loss – until Grandma pops into her living room as a ghost. They can’t touch but Abby can see her and hear her and after the initial shock wears off, she’s thrilled to have her grandmother back in her life again. But Grandma doesn’t just want to sit around and chit chat – she wants Abby to help find the true love of her life, a man she never got to reconnect with after the Second World War. The details are pretty sketchy – all her grandmother knows is his name, which is quite a common one and the area he most probably settled down after he returned. Abby sleuths around and discovers 12 possibilities and decides to throw caution to the wind and head out on a road trip to meet them all and see if any are the one.
Grandma Charlotte is of course, along for the ride and each of the Daves they find are different in their own way. Some are lovely, some are not, some are too young, some are too old. All of the Daves have something that means they’re not The Dave that they’re looking for, all except one who wasn’t at home when Abby came through. Backtracking to find that Dave, Abby runs into a handsome doctor she’d seen when she first came through, although the situation she’d found herself in then is not one she particularly wants to revisit.
Abby realises she has to explain something difficult to Doctor Dave, something that he may find almost impossible to believe. But she does it anyway, desperate to help her grandmother fulfill her wish to find the person that is the key to her happiness in the afterlife. And even though Dave is skeptical, he at least hears Abby out and it seems that the two of them have found their own spark. The relationships in this novel are so fun – there are few characters, Abby and her grandmother shine for most of it. Their relationship is a very, very close one and although Grandma Charlotte stands to gain from this adventure locating the 12 Daves, she’s also pushing Abby to step outside of her comfort zone as well. To put herself out there and meet new people, because she’s not going to find her special someone sitting at home and typing on her keyboard. I loved reading their conversations as they traveled from place to place. It helped give a very good picture about Abby but without a lot of info-dumping.
A sweet and heartwarming story – really must read the rest of her books. I enjoyed this a lot, it’s exactly the sort of read that’s perfect for the run up to Christmas and it gives you that Australian Christmas feel as it’s set on the coast of New South Wales. It makes me want to do a road trip for Christmas, but I’m afraid that’s going to have to wait until next year.
Book #247 of 2014
12 Daves of Christmas is book #90 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2014