Review: Married for Christmas by Noelle Adams

Publisher: Noelle Adams
Where did I get the book: Netgalley
Release date: Out now

After years of dreaming, Jessica is finally getting married, but the marriage isn’t exactly what she thought.

marriedforchristmasDaniel is her best friend, and she’s known him all her life, but he’s never gotten over losing his wife two years ago. His dream is to become the pastor of the church in their hometown, but the small-town congregation keeps balking over calling an unmarried minister. Since Daniel needs a wife and Jessica wants a husband and family, she proposes an arrangement that benefits both of them.

They can get married. They can build a life together. They can celebrate Christmas as a couple. It’s fine that he doesn’t love her. And it’s fine that she’s not exactly suited to be a small-town pastor’s wife. And it’s fine that she’s more attracted to her sexy, brooding husband every day.

Jessica can be practical about this marriage. She knows what she’s getting into, after all…

This book includes fully-developed sex scenes between a husband and wife.

*blurb taken from Goodreads*

Thanks to some folks on twitter, I became aware of this book after they had some hesitation about a smexing Pastor. Me? I was up for a challenge and I’ve enjoyed previous books of Noelle Adams (under her other author name, Claire Kent) previously.

Firstly, I’m not a reader of inspirational romances so I was intrigued by how I would feel reading this book. I’m glad I did because I thought the author did a wonderful job in making spirituality very important to the characters but without preaching or whacking the virtue of religion over my head.

I thought the beginning for Married for Christmas was a little rushed, and Daniel accepted the marriage of convenience very quickly considering he was a pastor who believed in marriage. They get married very quickly and whilst the attraction and tension was missing in the beginning of the novella, the story got moving very quickly and I got sucked into their romance and their new way of life.

Their religion is very important to Daniel and Jessica and it’s there to see throughout the book but there was no religious overtones or preaching like I said before. The romance was central to the novella, and I really enjoyed how Daniel and Jessica’s relationship was sweet and heated at the same time. Their sexual relationship wasn’t toned down and there were no fade to black scenes.

Spoiler. Jessica was a virgin until she had sex with Daniel. For herself, she believed in waiting for marriage and it’s also revealed that Daniel only sexual experience had been with his first wife, Leila. I loved that the author presented it matter of factly. It was also revealed that Jessica would only date guys that believed in her faith but again there was no judgement or preaching–just simple facts. End spoiler.

Whilst Jessica was an open book, Daniel was guarded and he struggled with moving on from the death of his first wife and he struggled with his faith. He thought something was broken in the world and his faith. I was surprised by how emotional this book was, and in some ways I wanted this to be a full length novel so it could be explored deeper because the ending was very quick. Daniel’s sudden change of heart of confessing his love was done in a page or so. I wished it would have been more drawn out. A part of that problem could have been there was no POV from Daniel in the novella.

I really enjoyed Jessica’s character because she didn’t let Daniel get away with hiding away. She pushed him and confronted him on his issues until it all came to a head towards the end of the novel. Jessica also struggled with herself on what she thought a pastor’s wife should be; she wasn’t a great cook and she was a little anti-social. Daniel encouraged her in many ways but he didn’t push her. I loved how they interacted with one another, and the smexy scenes were well done. There was no dirty talk (alas) but there was plenty of heat between the pastor and his wife.

I’m so glad I read Married for Christmas because I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this novella where spirituality was a big part of the characters. The romance was sweet and who can resist a bearded pastor with tight abs ;).

I give Married for Christmas a B- (The minus is for the quick beginning and ending)

Comments

  1. Willa says

    I read this last night! I do like Claire Kent/Noelle Adams but some of her titles haven’t worked for me. I think the continued lack of the male POV in her books is a serious stumbling block for me – Daniel immediately accepting Jessica’s proposal and his confession of love at the end were too quick – I know there are limitations in a short story but a little insight into his thought process could have made things more acceptable.
    There was plenty of page time with Jessica and her thoughts and after a while it just went around in circles – ‘I will be a good Pastor’s wife, I will learn how to cook, rinse repeat’. It would have been great to use this word count to have page time with Daniel and his POV.

    MS Kent/Adams has great/fresh ideas – I just wish she would flesh out her male characters more. So my grade would be a C.

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  2. says

    Hi Lou! I was introduced to this story on another blog site and said yes . . . so I bought it. I read it and must say . . . I didn’t hate it . . . BUT I didn’t like it either. I thought that Daniel wasn’t a fully developed hero, and Jessica whined a great deal. Loved the idea of a marriage of convenience particulary about a pastor. Anyway, I appreciate your review. Sounds like my own thoughts. Happy holidays!

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  3. Lou says

    @Patoct: I hope you enjoy it.

    @Willa: I’ve read a couple of her books that I enjoyed. I just wished this one had been longer so Daniel’s issues about his faith and losing his wife could have been explored more deeply. I think the author wrote a novella in the hero’s POV under one of her other pen names.

    @Stella: Yes! I think Daniel needed some page time because I did find that his quick agreement to the marriage, and the ending where he declared his love, seemed awfully fast. Happy Holidays to you too!

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