Saturday, January 27, 2018

Noelle - Greg Kincaid

Title: Noelle
Author: Greg Kincaid
Rating: 2 Stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of A Dog Named Christmas comes this heartwarming Christmas story about the power of family and the strength and love that comes from our pets.

In this installment of the poignant stories of the McCray family and their lovable canines in rural Kansas, matriarch Mary Ann McCray is determined to shake up Christmas by accepting the role as Crossing Trail's first woman Santa Claus. Mary Ann, always a bit of a rebel, is looking to offer a more progressive voice in the staunchly conservative town at Christmastime and has a few ideas up her red velvet sleeves.

But all isn't whimsy in town as the McCrays' close friends the Robinsons decide to divorce during the holiday season, turning their young children Keenan and Emily's lives upside down.

And then there is Mary Ann and George McCray's son, Todd, who has moved back to town to be with his girlfriend and to start a new job at the city's animal shelter. Tagging along with Todd is the incorrigible Elle, an oddly shaped dervish of a dog that Todd stubbornly tries to train as a service dog. However lovable, Elle has a hard time staying out of trouble, and the refrain, "No, Elle! No, Elle!" is often heard throughout town.

Lately, though, Todd feels like his life is headed down a troubled path. Although he is concerned that he has disappointed his parents with some of his recent decisions, Todd feels the need to make his own choices an live life his way.

The McCrays and the Robinsons are in need of a Christmas angel this year, but when you live in Crossing Trails, anything is possible.

This was a book I really wanted to like - the story sounds cute and promising after all, but I just couldn't get into the book.  The story started with a very long and detailed account of Lester's dog breeding skills and habits.  I understand this was a way to introduce the reader to Noelle, but to me it was boring and unnecessary.  It made the book sluggish at the beginning - and I almost didn't want to finish it.  I kept going only out of intrigue.

The book didn't really pick up much in pace or in depth of story as the book went on.  I felt like all the characters were very surface characters, and there was not much to the story other than fluff and stuff. 

The story also skips around between characters quite a bit.  It was almost like reading a book with three separate story lines that all could have been their own books.  One minute we'd be reading a section about Mary Ann and her husband, and then we'd skip to a chapter about Todd and his wife.  It skipped from main character to main character like that with every chapter.  It made it very hard to know the characters, and none of the characters were well developed, because there was a distinct lack of focus. 

I did like the passion Mary Ann had for keeping the Santa Clause tradition alive in her town, even when she was thrown to the wolves and asked to play Mrs. Clause because she felt the gentleman who played Santa was too old (and he really was.)  However, that little snippet of  a story line was not enough to save this book in my mind.  The book would have been much better had the author picked one story line and developed it and the characters into a more well rounded and better written book.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the Blogging for Books program.*

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