Series: Echo Lake #0.5
St. Martin's Press
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Date Read: December 12, 2015
Noah Drake was that guy--the one always on the lookout for his next adrenaline high, so it was no surprise when he took off across the world, seeking adventure as a travel writer. But one thing he could never escape was Piper Bellini, the girl who got away--the girl he let get away, a fact he's never let himself forget. When he returns to Echo Lake to see if there's any chance the flame between them can be rekindled, he never expects to spend the night holed up with Piper in a roadside diner while a blizzard rages outside. It's exactly the kind of situation that sent Piper running years ago. But this time, Noah may have been handed a Christmas miracle, and he intends to make all of his and Piper's wishes come true...
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I really enjoyed this one. There is just something about a second chance romance that really gets to me. I think that this kind of story actually can work really well in a novella or short story format largely because there is no need for the dreaded insta-love since the pair already know each other. I thought this story was wonderfully told with a lot of depth and wonderful characters. I have to admit that when I finished the story I had a big old grin on my face.
The cover and title made me think that this was going to be a very Christmas focused story but there really wasn't a lot of talk about the holidays. Some but not a lot. It does take place in the winter but I wouldn't hesitate to pick this one up during any time of the year.
The story starts out at the local Snowflake ball which has been notorious for leading to 49 weddings so far. Piper isn't really interested in being at the dance or being part of the 50th wedding. She's there but she isn't having a great time as she is matched up to dance with a few less than ideal partners. Then her name is called with a name from her past, Noah, and everything changes. Piper and Noah split up 7 years ago but neither one of them has moved on. It is obvious right away that they both still love each other. They agree to go on a shopping trip together and end up snowed in for the night at a small diner. Can things be different for them now than they were 7 years ago?
I loved the characters in this story. Piper is an artist who has stayed in the same little town while Noah is an adrenaline junkie who has traveled the world looking for his next thrill. Noah's quest for thrills is actually what tore the couple apart the first time and I wasn't sure that they would be able to make it work this time either. I haven't read a lot of romances where I wonder how they will make it work for most of the story. I was cheering for them but I wasn't sure how they would make it happen.
I really enjoyed the way this story was written. The characters were very easy to like and I could feel how much they both cared for each other. I really liked the fact that the story didn't rely on sex to illustrate the pair's feeling for each other. The pacing of the story was well done with quite a bit actually happening in this short piece. I really thought the story was very believable.
I would highly recommend this novella to anyone looking for a short romantic read. This is a very full story that can be easily read in a single evening. This is the first time that I have read anything by Maggie McGinnis but I plan to take a look at some of her other work. I would definitely be interested in reading more in the Echo Lake series.
I received an advance reader edition of this book from St. Martin's Press via NetGalley for the purpose of providing an honest review.
About the Author
Maggie is a Golden Heart Finalist who started writing when her twins were infants and she was desperately seeking sanity. The fact that she found it only with imaginary people makes her a bit concerned, but at least they do what she tells them to ... usually.
She lives in New England, though she spends an inordinate amount of time on Arizona real estate sites in mid-January. While snow piles up to her windowsills, she cyber-stalks the blue skies and pink houses of the Southwest.
She used to be an English teacher, a certified black belt, and a cool-car driver. Then ... twins. Now she swills caffeine while driving the one vehicle she swore she'd never own: a minivan. It sort of hurts even to admit it.
You can find Maggie at www.maggiemcginnis.com.