Bright Lights, Big Christmas
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
To Be Published: September 26, 2023
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Listened To: August 20- September 3, 2023
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
When fall rolls around, it’s time for Kerry Tolliver to leave her family’s Christmas tree farm in the mountains of North Carolina for the wilds of New York City to help her gruff older brother & his dog, Queenie, sell the trees at the family stand on a corner in Greenwich Village. Sharing a tiny vintage camper and experiencing Manhattan for the first time, Kerry’s ready to try to carve out a new corner for herself.
In the weeks leading into Christmas, Kerry quickly becomes close with the charming neighbors who live near their stand. When an elderly neighbor goes missing, Kerry will need to combine her country know-how with her newly acquired New York knowledge to protect the new friends she’s come to think of as family,
And complicating everything is Patrick, a single dad raising his adorable, dragon-loving son Austin on this quirky block. Kerry and Patrick’s chemistry is undeniable, but what chance does this holiday romance really have?
Filled with family ties, both rekindled and new, and sparkling with Christmas magic, BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CHRISTMAS delivers everything Mary Kay Andrews fans adore, all tied up in a hilarious, romantic gem of a novel.
I absolutely loved MKA’s last Christmas novel The Santa Suit when it came out in 2021, and when I found out she had a new Christmas novel coming out in 2023, I knew I had to read it! (Honestly… I have to read any and all of her books!) Like always, MKA delivered! She brings the Christmas spirit and Christmas joy to the reader no matter what month the book was read. I was honestly worried about starting this book in August that would it be too early for me to get in the Christmas spirit. But NO, it didn’t! I swear as I was reading, I could smell the pine trees of Christmas! All I needed was cold temperatures and some hot cocoa! (Which will be coming very soon!) We don’t usually get snow here in Georgia, but I found myself wanting that as well even though I was reading the book in 90+ degree heat!
MKA can truly write and just captures the magic of the Christmas season! Bright Lights, Big Christmas deals with the Tolliver family who live in North Carolina. Every year they bring their family owned and grown Christmas trees to NYC and sell them for enormous prices. They are well known in the area and this Christmas we have Kerry taking her father’s place to help her brother Murphy sell the trees. Kerry is going through some life changes and finds herself growing to love the people and the neighborhood. And we get a little Christmas romance with a single dad and his utterly adorable son Austin! MKA also gives us a little bit of a mystery as well!
This is such a sweet, fun, and fluffy read to get you in the Christmas spirit! It deals with family, friendships, romance, and holiday cheer! You can’t help but become attached to these characters. And we have Spammy the vintage camper that Kerry and Murphy are living in which ends up being its own unique character with its own history in of itself!
If you are a fan of MKA and/ or Christmas stories in general, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of Bright Lights, Big Christmas when it comes out on September 26th!
Many thanks to the publisher St Martin’s Press for granting me an arc to read, review and highly enjoy!
Today Kim and I bring you a double review of The Santa Suit by Mary Kay Andrews! You guys know we both will read practically anything she writes! We both gave The Santa Suit 5 stars and it also touched me in a personal way, which will be in my review. I listened to the audiobook while Kim read the physical book.
The Santa Suit
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Narrator: Kathleen McInerney
Published: September 28, 2021
When newly-divorced Ivy Perkins buys an old farmhouse sight unseen, she is definitely looking for a change in her life. The Four Roses, as the farmhouse is called, is a labor of love—but Ivy didn’t bargain on just how much labor. The previous family left so much furniture and so much junk, that it’s a full-time job sorting through all of it.
At the top of a closet, Ivy finds an old Santa suit—beautifully made and decades old. In the pocket of a suit she finds a note written in a childish hand: it’s from a little girl who has one Christmas wish, and that is for her father to return home from the war. This discovery sets Ivy off on a mission. Who wrote the note? Did the man ever come home? What mysteries did the Rose family hold?
Ivy’s quest brings her into the community, at a time when all she wanted to do was be left alone and nurse her wounds. But the magic of Christmas makes miracles happen, and Ivy just might find more than she ever thought possible: a welcoming town, a family reunited, a mystery solved, and a second chance at love.
Kim’s Rating: 5 Stars
What a perfect way to start out the holiday season!! This is a Hallmark Christmas movie in book form … except it’s better than the movies! The best way to describe it is “feel good”. It’s not a long book, nor is it complicated with lots of drama or conflict. It’s just a sweet story that probably won’t happen in real life, but stirs up all those warm and fuzzy feelings you want around Christmas time. I wasn’t expecting it, but I was in tears by the end. My heart felt so big and happy that I wanted to tell Ivan that we should buy a fixer upper farm house in the country and keep it decorated all year long! I might just add this book to my annual Christmas reading list!
Jessica’s Rating: 5 Stars
Dates Read: November 9-12, 2021
Format Read: Audiobook
The Santa Suit is a cute novella that will get you all ready for Christmas! As with many of her more recent novels, MKA has characters that deal with houses that are ‘fixer uppers’, this time newly divorced Ivy buys an older farm house called The Four Roses without seeing it. Unaware of how much work needs to be done on the house until she sees it firsthand, Ivy finds herself overwhelmed as the previous owners left their personal possessions. This includes a Santa suit which she just can’t throw away. Inside the suit she finds a very old letter written by a little girl wanting her daddy to come from the war. Ivy then becomes determined to find out what happened to the little girl and her family.
Ivy becomes friends with a local girl who is engaged to a man she has never actually met, and she isn’t exactly how she described herself to him. There is also a potential romance and starting over for Ivy.
This is an enjoyable Christmas tale without a complex story to it and everything wraps up nicely in a sweet and cute novella that we need after the last couple of years. If you are a fan of MKA, do yourself a favor and read The Santa Suit this Christmas season!
The Santa Suit touched me personally, from when I was in middle school on, my own dad played Santa every Christmas. It was something he loved doing. Listening to the audiobook brought back those memories.
The Santa Suit is recommended!
Here are some pictures of my dad in action as Santa: