I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Snowed in for Christmas by Sarah Morgan
Published by HQN Books on September 20, 2022
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"Morgan is a masterful storyteller.... For fans of Jojo Moyes, Taylor Jenkins Reid, and Stacey Ballis. --Booklist
What happens if the only Christmas celebration you want to attend is one you haven't been invited to? USA Today bestselling author Sarah Morgan delights with this hilarious and heartwarming Christmas cracker of a novel!
A family gathering
This Christmas the Miller siblings have one goal--to avoid their well-meaning family's endless stream of prying questions. Ross, Alice and Clemmie have secrets that they don't intend to share, and they are relying on each other to deflect attention.
An uninvited guest
Lucy Clarke is facing a Christmas alone and the prospect of losing her job. Unless she can win a major piece of business from Ross Miller, the season promises to be anything but festive. She'll just deliver her proposal to his family home and then leave. After all, she wouldn't want to intrude on the Miller family's perfect Christmas.
A Christmas to remember
When Lucy appears on the Miller family's snow-covered Highland doorstep, she's mistaken for Ross's girlfriend. By the time the confusion is cleared up, they're snowed in--she can't leave, even if she wants to! But does she want to? As secrets spill out like presents from an overstuffed stocking and the chemistry between her and Ross ignites, this is going to be either Lucy's worst Christmas ever or the best mistake of her life.
Welcome to the weekend! The air is finally getting a bit colder here in Northern Illinois, and with the approach of fall comes the latest Christmas releases of many of my favorite authors. I brought you an excerpt from RaeAnne Thayne’s ALL IS BRIGHT, and today I have a review and excerpt for Sarah Morgan’s SNOWED IN FOR CHRISTMAS.
“Are you sure this is a good idea?” Maya helped Lucy pack boxes of the Fingersnug into a bag. “Isn’t there a risk that turning up at his house in Scotland makes you look like a stalker?”
“I can see why you might be concerned about that and I’m not going to say it didn’t cross my mind, but no. Firstly because I’m in Scotland anyway, doing a photoshoot for the Fingersnug along with reindeer and several influencers, and secondly because this is what Zoe told me to do. I’m simply following her advice. And it’s not as if I haven’t tried every other route first.” Maybe she was overstepping a little, but sometimes you had to take a risk to get ahead.
Ever since Arnie’s health scare she’d been working flat out to put together ideas for Miller Active. She was excited about her plan and desperate to get her proposal in front of Ross Miller before the competition snagged his attention. She was willing to take the chance that the whole thing could explode in her face. What was the worst that could happen? He’d slam the door on her, which wouldn’t be pleasant but at least she’d be able to limp home knowing that she’d done everything she could to help Arnie and protect people’s jobs.
“Who is Zoe?”
“Ross Miller’s personal assistant. She’s great. She’s organized, and she knows everything. We went to that new wine bar near the river last night, and—”
“You went to a wine bar with Ross Miller’s assistant?”
“Yes.” Lucy tucked some of the festive “props” she’d bought into the bag. “We’ve been talking every day for the past week, and we’ve become friendly.”
Maya shook her head in disbelief. “How do you do it? If someone stands still for long enough, you befriend them.”
“It wasn’t hard. I like her. I took my proposal over to the office and we got chatting. Turns out she’s from Scotland, too, and she knows Ross from school.”
“And he gave her a job?”
“Why not? She’s brilliant. And who knows, maybe she threatened to reveal all his secrets if he didn’t employ her.” Lucy added two boxes of fairy lights to the bag. “They’re obviously good friends. Sounds as if they have one of those fun relationships full of banter where she scolds him, and he pretends to do as he’s told. Can you pass me the snow globe?”
Maya handed it to her. “Good friends? Or very good friends.”
“Not romantic. According to Zoe, Ross isn’t involved with anyone. He occasionally dates, but women tend to get frustrated by his focus on work. He actually forgot about his last date, left her sitting in a restaurant.” She forced the snow globe into the bulging bag. Maybe it had been optimistic of her to think she could manage with the one bag.
“Not the king of romance, then,” Maya said. “Does Ross know that his assistant is revealing his entire personal life to strangers?”
“I’m not a stranger. I’ve seen her four times this week.”
May rolled her eyes. “And no doubt by Friday you’ll be godmother to her children.”
“She doesn’t have children, although she would like to. She’s dating William, but he’s currently living in Edinburgh and she misses him horribly. William, it seems, is very slow to make a commitment so Zoe is thinking of proposing herself. We talked through a few strategies.” Lucy tried to close the bag and failed. “A little help, please?”
Maya pushed the sides of the bag together. “No offense, but since when did you become the expert on marriage proposals?”
“I know a lot about the theory.” Finally, Lucy managed to close the bag. “You don’t have to travel the world to teach geography. I’m creative, that’s my job. I know how to make an impact. Also, I pay attention to what people want and need. That’s the basis of successful selling and, in the end, that’s what we’re doing. All the time. Every day. I’m going to be selling the idea of me to Ross.”
“So where does William fit into this?”
“William works in risk assurance so it’s understandable that he won’t be given to impulse. He needs a little something to nudge him past that caution barrier. Fortunately Ross Miller closes the office for a week over Christmas, which means Zoe can go home, too.” Lucy lifted the bag. “This weighs a ton. Nothing else is fitting in there.”
“He closes the office?”
“Yes. He goes home to Scotland to spend time with his family.”
“It is. I like it when people appreciate family.” Lucy lowered the bag back to the floor. “I feel as if I’ve forgotten something. What else do I need?”
“A whole lot of good luck and the bound copies of your proposal. You wanted two, is that right?” Maya handed them to her. “You haven’t discussed this with Arnie, have you?”
“No. He is supposed to be resting. No stress. You know what he’s like. If I even mention this, he’ll want to be involved.” She knew she’d never forget the sight of Arnie being taken away in an ambulance. For a horrible moment she’d thought she might lose another person she loved, but fortunately it hadn’t turned out to be as serious as they’d feared.
Arnie had been discharged with medication and a lecture on lifestyle.
He was keeping in touch with the office, but Lucy had given everyone strict instructions not to contact him.
The office felt strange without him there. Even the Christmas tree and the decorations couldn’t make up for his absence. But if he rested now, hopefully he’d be well enough to come back to work in January.
In the meantime she was holding the fort.
Maya gestured to the proposals in Lucy’s hand. “Good work, by the way. Clever. I think Ross Miller will be impressed.”
“Let’s hope so.” She grabbed some Christmas wrapping. “Did you see the photo Ted sent round? The baby is gorgeous.”
“They’re not getting any sleep.”
“I know. Ted says he watches the baby half the night to check she’s still breathing.” Lucy knelt on the floor, cut the wrapping paper and measured a length of ribbon.
“Ribbon?” Maya frowned. “You’re not seriously gift wrapping the proposal?”
“Why not? It’s Christmas.” She wrapped the document carefully. “Even the most hard-hearted businessman can’t help but respond to wrapping paper covered in cheerful robins, surely?”
“That’s why you’re wrapping it? To fill his hardened heart with festive joy?”
“No.” Lucy tied the ribbon and secured the label she’d handwritten in careful script. “I’m wrapping it in case something happens and I’m not able to deliver it to him personally. It’s Christmas, and they have a big family gathering every year.”
“No. I read about it in that magazine feature I mentioned.” She’d pored over every page, envious of the oversize Christmas trees, the lush garlands adorning fireplaces and the curved bannister. “If I hand them a boring-looking proposal the chances are they’re going to forget about it. Who wants to read a boring document at Christmas? If I wrap it, then there is a good chance that at some point over the festive season it’s going to be opened.”
“Possibly by one very disappointed kid who is immediately going to throw a tantrum before tossing it out of the window.”
“No young children in the family, according to my research.” She tucked the wrapped parcel carefully into her laptop bag, along with the spare unwrapped proposal.
“Please tell me you’re not dressing as Santa when you drop it off.”
“I wasn’t planning to—” Lucy rocked back on her heels “—but now you’re making me think.”
“Well don’t think. You’ve done enough thinking.” Maya rested her hip on the desk and folded her arms. “So why didn’t he go into the family business?”
“Ross? I have no idea, and it’s not relevant. I am not there to interfere with family politics. I am simply going to ring the doorbell and hand over my gift. Merry Christmas. That’s it.”
“You should have put a copy of that marketing magazine in with the proposal. Cover girl Lucy.”
Lucy stood up and put the unused wrapping paper back on her desk. “That’s one of those awards that we are all super proud of, but no one else in the world has ever heard of.”
“But you’re the face of modern marketing. He might be impressed.”
“Or not.” Lucy glanced at her phone. “I have an hour before my train leaves.”
“The sleeper. I’ve always thought that sounds romantic. Traveling on a train through the darkness, clickety-clack, clickety-clack.”
“There is nothing romantic about having a carriage to myself.”
“Maybe it will be like one of those spy movies,” Maya said, “where the bad guy is lurking, waiting to throw you out of the window.”
“And for that comforting thought, I thank you.”
“You should have taken some days for yourself while you’re up there. Have a mini break.”
Lucy couldn’t think of anything worse. “I’ve already booked my return journey the following night. All organized. It’s a flying visit.”
Even if she had the money for it, she didn’t want to spend time in a hotel on her own at Christmas. How miserable would that be?
No, she’d spend the day taking creative photos of the Fingersnug with the reindeer herd as her backdrop, and then she’d deliver her proposal to Ross Miller on her way back to catch the train.
As far as she could see, there was nothing that could go wrong.
Excerpted from Snowed in for Christmas by Sarah Morgan. Copyright © 2022 by Sarah Morgan. Published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
I enjoy digging into the Christmas time books that come out this time of year, and Sarah Morgan’s SNOWED IN FOR CHRISTMAS takes a long-used trope and flips it around while writing a heartwarming story of family togetherness even though there is a lot of drama to go around.
Lucy Clarke works for an advertising firm and she’s facing a Christmas season alone and possibly unemployed. The small firm she loves working for has lost a few large accounts and if they don’t find new ones fast, her boss will have to make some tough decisions. It’s also been a few years since her beloved grandmother passed away at Christmas, so Lucy is dreading all the things that this season brings. But she can be successful in her professional life even though her personal life is quite lonely, so she decides that she’ll try to get a big new account for the firm and save everyone’s jobs.
The Miller family siblings have all fled their Scottish highlands small town–and their family business–to make names for themselves in London. Ross has a successful active wear business of his own. Alice is a dedicated ER physician while youngest sibling Clemmie is a nanny to the rich. Their parents think that the children are doing what they want, but the siblings they keep their problems and foibles secret. None of them want to worry their parents and grandmother, but can they keep it together during the holidays?
In order to take the pressure of asking them about their significant others, dogged bachelor Ross gets a little help from his sisters when they suggest a fake girlfriend–a very successful one they found on the front of a trade magazine. But they don’t expect this stranger to show up at their parents home, wanting to leave a presentation for Ross. Or Lucy being mistaken as Ross’ girlfriend.
I give SNOWED IN FOR CHRISTMAS a five out of five. The fake significant other trope is used a lot, but Sarah Morgan created fantastic characters who don’t let this charade go on for very long at all. This is a family in turmoil underneath an idyllic family picture to outsiders, and Lucy has a giant heaping of her own baggage to bring along as well. I really loved the grandmother who had zero filter and no qualms about manipulating situations to help her family along, but all of the characters are well-developed and distinct. This is a fantastic read that takes place several days, yet all of the characters’ situations were faced and addressed. Packed with emotion, family drama, and personal drama that came together to create such a fantastic book.
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About Sarah Morgan
Sarah Morgan is a USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of contemporary romance and women’s fiction. She has sold more than 21 million copies of her books and her trademark humour and warmth have gained her fans across the globe. Sarah lives with her family near London, England, where the rain frequently keeps her trapped in her office. Visit her at www.sarahmorgan.com
Find Sarah Morgan