Review by Veronica

His eyes fixated on the spot where our hands are touching, and my fingers are tingling from the touch. I have to wet my lips and swallow to make words work.

Another charming and heartfelt Christmas story from Jaimie Admans. 

In Mistletoe Gardens a legend: anyone who kisses underneath the mistletoe will be guaranteed another year of love… When local baker Essie Browne discovers that Mistletoe Gardens is to be demolished in January, she’s determined to save the place she loves so much. So Essie proposes building a life size gingerbread house to bring in the crowds…just how hard can it be? Well, quite hard actually. Essie can bake gingerbread blindfolded, but she hasn’t got a clue how to build an actual house with it! She needs help – and fast! Enter local builder, Joss Hallissey. Essie is convinced that with Joss’s help they can pull this off. There’s just one tiny Joss hates Christmas, gingerbread, and… well, just about everything else too. Joss the Grinch makes it clear that her idea is ludicrous and pointless, but he reluctantly agrees to help with her plan. Will the gingerbread house be enough to save Mistletoe Gardens? Or will Essie’s chance for a magical kiss under the mistletoe be lost forever?  

Jaimie Admans is one of my go-to insta buy authors. Every time I pick up one of her books, I am in for a charming and sweet love story. This book was so easy to read and fall in love with. Jaimie knows how to write a Christmas book that is chalked full of holiday spirit and left me feeling all festive inside. One of the things that I adored about this book was all the secondary characters. Goodness, the residents of Folkhornton are lovely in every possible way. They are quirky, sweet, and had me laughing at times. Their stories about why Mistletoe Gardens was so special to them melted my heart and sometimes had me reaching for the tissue box. 

There is also some fabulous food talk in this book. I love holiday baking, so I gobbled up all the descriptions of holiday treats Essie would bake. The whole story around building a giant gingerbread house captured my attention right from when Essie brought it to the town at the beginning of the book. My mind started racing, trying to figure out various ways that someone could build a gingerbread house that large. It was so exciting to read the scenes where Essie and Joss discussed how they would make the house, and watching this festive project come to life was so joyous. I also enjoyed Jaimie’s gingerbread facts at the beginning of each chapter. 

Essie is a big ball of festive sunshine. Even though she always tries to face the world with a glass-half-full attitude, she can be riddled with insecurities that make her doubt herself and her abilities. It was wonderful watching Essie grow confident and learn to believe in herself again. Joss comes across as quite the grouch. When I first met him, he actually reminded me of Luke from Gilmore Girls. The way he sat in that meeting, and his grouchy behaviour, just screamed Luke Dane. But underneath that prickly exterior is a man with a heart of gold. He was such a kindhearted person. His acts of kindness were not showy or used to get attention. His prickly behaviour comes from being knocked down time and time again by the universe and those he thought he could trust. It was absolutely fabulous watching Essie work her charming magic and slowly melt those ice walls around his heart. 

Like any Jaimie Admans story, the romance is so utterly sweet. It’s a charming slow-burn romance. There are plenty of cute and heartfelt moments between Essie and Joss. Watching them work together on the gingerbread house was lovely and exciting. One moment, they are joking around, and the next, they are having these emotional conversations. I loved that they both felt comfortable enough with each other to talk about their past, their fears, and the things they were struggling with. Essie and Joss become this wonderful support system for each other. 

The Gingerbread House in Mistletoe Garden is a perfect Christmas romance to read on a snowy December night. 

Thank you, Rachel Random Resources and Boldwood Books, for the arc in exchange for an honest review.