I rarely read Christmas books in the run-up to Christmas, so this year I thought I would give it a go and see if it made me feel any more festive. Her Christmas Chance was set at the right time of the year but I wasn't particularly aware of the season, other than the mention of a Christmas tree. The story was more about the relationship between Bella, who has cerebral palsy, and Chance, an ex-con.
Bella has been protected by her family for many years and longs to become more independent. She has moved into a cottage next-door to her newly married sister, Tally, and had met Chance, the brother of Tally's new husband, at the wedding. Chance has a murky past and since leaving jail, has concentrated on his woodwork skills; repairing damaged antiques. There is an attraction between Bella and Chance, but Bella's huge ginger tom cat has a habit of getting into Chance's workshop and destroying his painstaking work.
What with Chance's history, Bella's disabilities and a destructive cat, any relationship seems doomed from the start.
Despite its problems, the friendship between Bella and Chance proceeds in a fairly predictable, but enjoyable fashion and I was enjoying the audiobook. What really threw me with this novel was the episode, towards the end, where Chance and Bella seem to end up in some alternative time. There was no evidence earlier that this was in any way a paranormal novel, so this sudden time-slip seemed completely out of place. In fact the ending, per se, seemed rather awkward and contrived, and for me, dropped a star rating from an otherwise, pretty good read.
The narrator, Kate Marcin, did an excellent job of the challenge thrown up by Bella's speech defect, without rendering her impossible to understand.
5* for the narration.