Remember Nora Roberts’ MacGregor series of romances? The first ones came out in 1985, and they featured a large family, the patriarch who was a matchmaker for his family, and all the romances of various grandchildren and cousins. Sherryl Woods’ Chesapeake Shores series reminds me of Roberts’ books. And, An O’Brien Family Christmas, Woods’ latest celebration of love, meddling and family, brings all those common elements together.
This year, the entire family plans to go to Ireland for Christmas. They all want to see, Nell, the matriarch, have a trip home for the holidays. She spent summers there with her grandfather, and it’s been years since she was back. But, the original plans had included Laila Riley. Once she dumped Matthew O’Brien and quit her job at her father’s bank in response to her family’s disapproval of the relationship, the O’Brien women were determined to find a way to include her in the trip, and encourage the romance. And, no one is better at meddling in romance than the O’Briens.
Can the O’Briens and Dublin work their magic on Matthew and Laila? No one in the family knew, though, that Nell had her own reasons for returning to Ireland. The man who now owns her grandfather’s tobacco shop was the man she hoped to marry until her parents arranged her marriage to Charles O’Brien. Some of Nell’s descendants, including her vocal son, Mick, are not happy with a woman in her eighties reuniting with an old boyfriend.
If you haven’t read recent Chesapeake Shores novels, it does feel as if you’re dropped into the middle of a family reunion when you don’t know the family. It takes a little time to catch up with the O’Brien clan. And, I have to give Woods credit. She acknowledges the realities of today’s world. There are divorces, cancer, rebellious teens. Unlike other Christmas novels, Woods doesn’t count on magic for her plot. Instead, she counts on family, romance, and a beautiful Irish setting. And, since this is an O’Brien story, there is meddling, hints of future romances, and a beautiful wedding. Sherryl Woods’ An O’Brien Family Christmas provides that happy ending for all of us who want it this time of year.
Sherryl Woods website is www.SherrylWoods.com.
FTC Full Disclosure – Library book