The Reluctant Elf - Michele Gorman (2014)

When Lottie's Aunt Kate is seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, Lottie and her seven-year-old daughter spend Christmas in Wales and find themselves hosting a reviewer at her aunt's B&B to obtain a rating that will ensure Kate keeps her business. What Lottie doesn't count on is the home is rundown and in dire need of repairs and refurbishing. With the assistance of the local taxi driver, Danny, she tries to turn the B&B into a Victorian-themed Christmas experience for the reviewer and his dysfunctional family. I really enjoyed this cute story. Lottie and her daughter were likable characters that I had a lot of empathy for. Lottie is in over her head without a clue how to turn this Christmas disaster around but I liked how determined she was to try. Lottie's daughter is precocious and the statements she makes throughout the story should be from someone who is much older than a seven-year-old. I wasn't too sure about Danny at first, especially when Lottie offers him a large chunk of change to help her and she knows virtually next to nothing about him. Fortunately, Danny turns out to be a decent guy who steps up to assist and has quite a lot in common with Lottie. Though the results were not perfect, Lottie and her crew manage to pull off their best effort in spite of the reviewer's demanding and ungrateful family. With this novella, Michele Gorman pens a sweet Christmassy story that will thaw the heart of any Grinch. (SH)

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