Calder Pride

Lone Calder Star

Eve’s Christmas by Janet Dailey
(Zebra, $6.99, G) ISBN 08217-8017-4
First, I don’t have a lot of problems with the story…well just a few. But I do have to comment that I have some problems with the cover blurb (which describes a scene that is inaccurate and never in the book) and with the fact that Eve’s Christmas is a remake of an earlier Janet Dailey novel called With a Little Luck. Nowhere on the cover does it mention that. Truth in advertising, where are you?

Now, to the story. Eve’s Christmasgives us Eve Rowland, a twenty-six year old freelance music teacher living in a tiny town with her parents. Eve is happy with her life, yet she knows she is missing something. As she gets older, she realizes she wants a family and knows that she will never find it with the men in Cable, Wisconsin. The man who enters her life one spring night is Luck McClure (no that is not a typo…Luck is his name). Luck is a widower, having lost his wife 6 years ago. He has an eight-year-old son, Toby, who doesn’t remember his mother and wishes he had one.

Luck and Eve literally run into each other one night as Eve is walking home from choir practice and Luck is coming out of a tavern, half drunk on the night of the anniversary of his wife’s death. Eve is wearing a brown coat, brown hat and brown gloves. With her brown hair and eyes, she reminds Luck of a brown mouse, which he tells her. In his mind, she is cute; in hers, he has just insinuated she is rather plain (which she thinks she is). They part, only to run into each other later when Luck and Toby toss a baseball through the windshield of Eve’s car. The relationship has begun.

The story follows this relationship as the two decide that they will marry and then decide they need to have some courtship to get to know each other. Toby has accepted and is excited that Eve will soon be his mother. Luck has accepted that he is ready and that he really is in love with Eve on a much more mature level than he ever was with his first wife. Eve has doubts. She needs to be convinced that Luck loves her for who she is and accepts that she is not beautiful. She needs to know, however, that he is attracted to her. She also needs time to accept that she will be a mother to Toby, a boy ready to embark on a relationship she needs time to adjust to.

The story takes place from the spring of one year to Christmas at the end of the year. They meet in the spring, even though it is still cold. The back cover talks about Luck’s need to make Toby’s Christmas happy and special, with a Christmas tree on his car and snow on the ground. By the time Christmas rolls around, Luck and Eve are still dealing with how they feel and the only tree on the car is brought by Eve’s mom.  Luck doesn't even get a tree at all. This is slightly distracting, as I assumed that when the two met, it was Christmas, but in reality it was spring.

Eve is difficult to like at times. Her lack of self-esteem crops up at the oddest times, making her seem more insecure than her success indicates. At the same time, Luck (who works for his father) and Eve (who teaches music on a freelance basis) conveniently work when they want and with little apparent need. Luck and Toby apparently have just recently moved to the area, but Toby has more friends than any eight-year-old I know. These friends are always asking him to spend the night, leaving room for the romance to occur.

While Eve’s Christmas is enjoyable, these little quirks caused me just enough concern to keep the luster from being too shiny. This is clearly one of Dailey’s early romances because it doesn’t have the polish of some of her other stories. However, it is rather romantic and not erotic, making it a good choice for younger readers just getting their feet wet in the romance genre. The things I found annoying will probably not be noticeable to them.

--Shirley Lyons

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