Review by Veronica

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“I should probably feel sad, but we’d only been seeing each other for a couple of months. It wasn’t serious. And there’s become a sense of inevitability about it now. Every relationship is the same. Boy meets Girl, Boy is cute and funny, Girl does everything by the book and presents herself as most perfect specimen of normality she can muster—IE: Boy doesn’t know Girl bleaches arm hair and plucks out occasional hag whisker. Things seem to be going well for Boy and Girl, and then… Boy cheats on Girl. Repeat ad infinitum.” 

The Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane is a perfect cozy holiday read.

It’s the most magical time of year, and anything can happen…

Nia Maddison has always believed that wishes come true on Nutcracker Lane. So, when she gets the opportunity to run her own Christmas gift shop on the most magical street in town, it feels like her wishes have been finally granted.

But working late one night, Nia discovers yet another boyfriend has cheated on her. As she trudges home – alone, again – she passes the (supposedly) magical nutcracker and half-joking thinks a wish can’t hurt. Cracking a nut in its mouth, she wishes to find Prince Charming.

The next day Nia gets to work to find another decoration shop has opened directly across the lane from her own, and she can’t resist having a nose around.

Whilst there, she accidentally backs into a human-sized Nutcracker, knocking it over and breaking it. Mortified, she flees from the store but when she gathers her resolve to go back and apologise, she stumbles across the gorgeous shop owner James, who looks exactly like Prince Charming…

Could her Christmas wish from the night before really be coming true?

This book was delightful! It just radiates that hallmark Christmas feel. I stumbled upon this book when my Kobo sent me some recommendations, and I bought it because it had a cute cover and was super cheap. I wasn’t expecting to be so absorbed in the story that I would end up reading it all in one day (so much for the errands and chores I was going to do that day).

In true Hallmark fashion, the story begins with Nutcracker Lane being threatened by Mr. Scrooge, who has been cutting the budget for the upkeep of the Lane for years and now has some not-so-jolly plans in store for this once magical place. Nia, the heroine in this book, will not let Mr. Scrooge destroy the place she loves so much and decides that she will help restore Nutcracker Lane. Nia enlists the help of the local shopkeepers, her best friend Stacey, and the mysterious James. I absolutely loved how Jaimie put her own twist on Ebenezer Scrooge and Nutcracker Prince story. She weaves elements of these classic Christmas stories throughout her book, which adds this magical element to the story. You will find yourself believing in that Christmas spirit, not the one with all the glitz and presents. But that true holiday spirit of helping others when they need it and spending time with family and friends.

Nia is an endearing, charming character that will have you believing in the magic of Christmas by the end of the book. She was just one of those characters that I knew I would like (and would be friends with) right from the start. I loved how Nia handled finding out her “boyfriend” was cheating on her at the beginning of the book; at that moment, I knew I had found another book kindred spirit. I found myself cheering her on throughout this book, laughing at those funny moments with her, crying at those hard moments, and hoping she gets that happily ever after she deserves.  

I really, really loved the relationship between Nia and James. It’s sweet and delicious, just like a sip of hot cocoa. Their relationship has this slow-burn feel, but not your typical slow-burn with all those hot and heavy moments. Theirs is full of sweet and tender moments that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Just like Nia, I found myself trying to figure out if James was real or was he a magical nutcracker. I will admit it was fun and had me guessing to the very end. On a side note, Jaimie won me over with her many references of how much James looked like Flynn Ryder from Tangled. He just so happens to be my favourite Disney prince (well, sort of prince), and really you can’t go wrong with Disney references.

I felt this instant kinship with the little community in Nutcracker Lane. The shopkeepers are such a fun, quirky cast of characters, and it’s so much fun watching them get back into the Christmas spirit as the story progresses. While Jaimie described Nutcracker Lane through Nia’s eyes, I felt like I was standing there seeing and smelling all of the holiday wonders. I found myself closing my eyes and dreaming of having my very own bookstore in Lane.

If you are looking to read an uplifting and charming Christmas book, then I would highly recommend reading The Little Christmas Shop on Nutcracker Lane.