A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at RomancingRakes4TheLuvOfRomance.blogspot.com.
Rating: ~3 hearts: I liked it
If you’re a fan of Bella Andre’s incredibly successful Sullivans series as I am, you’ll already know about Jack and Mary Sullivan, and how Mary was left alone to raise their six sons and two daughters after Jack died much too young from a brain aneurysm. In the first 8 books of the series, we got to see each of the Sullivan siblings find their one true love. Now in “Kissing Under The Mistletoe” we finally get to see how Jack and Mary met and fell in love so many years before, along with a glimpse of how wonderful being together was in their first year of marriage.
Jack Sullivan is a dedicated and brilliant electrical engineer who along with his two good friends and co-workers, has created a new portable electronic device that he believes will be a top seller for his San Francisco company. But unless he can find a way in the next 24 hours to show that the Pocket Planner has some kind of sex appeal, his boss won’t even consider trying to sell any. A lesser man would be daunted by such a task, but Jack Sullivan refuses to give up. When he and his co-workers head out to Union Square in search of a place to sit and brainstorm, that’s when Jack has the most tremendous stroke of luck. For that’s when he finds both the solution to his marketing problem and the love of his life.
Mary Ferrer is a world famous fashion model who just happens to be in Union Square that evening for the final photo shoot in her long and successful career. She’s decided to retire after tonight because although she doesn’t regret having become a model, the day-to-day life just isn’t enjoyable for her any longer, and she’d like the chance to do more than just pose for pictures. Mary feels so completely alone since she left her family behind in their small Italian village and her mother disowned her as a result of that decision. She’s tried relationships within the fashion industry, but the last one ended up leaving her even more disillusioned about men and love than before. Yet when she sees the tall and handsome Jack Sullivan staring at her from the street, Mary can’t help but stare back in return, and it’s then that she decides to take one more chance at happiness and perhaps even love.
“Kissing Under the Mistletoe” does a great job in showing exactly why Jack and Mary were so perfectly matched from the start and provides all the back story about how each of them had gotten to that moment in Union Square when fate brought them together. I loved seeing how Mary had experienced a full and exciting life completely separate from her current identity as the quiet loving matriarch of the Sullivan family, and how finding Jack wasn't an ending for her but a beginning to a whole new life that she’d already wanted before she’d ever met him. We’d seen through the previous books how much her children are like her, but now we get that same type of recognition for their late father, as Jack comes fully to life in this story and shows us just how much he loves Mary by both his words and actions.
The only thing I didn't fully enjoy about “Kissing Under the Mistletoe” was how the epilogue detailing the first year of their marriage was more like a series of snapshots than an actual continuation of the complete story. Normally I’m a big fan of epilogues, but in this instance I found the change in writing style to be somewhat jarring by comparison, and I almost would have rather not had it there at all.
In any case, I am still happy to have read the story of the Sullivan parents, and am looking forward to the continuing stories of the Sullivan cousins now that all of Jack and Mary’s children have been paired up and married off. Bella Andre never fails to make me care about her characters and “Kissing Under the Mistletoe” is no exception. It’s a lovely romance, perfect for the holiday season.
“Next time I invite you in,” she said with a small smile as she gave him his coat and walked him to the front door, “I’ll let you drink your coffee.”
He was standing on her front step when he said, “Next time you invite me in, I’m going to make love to you.”