Review: “One Snowy Night” by Jill Shalvis

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Small Craft Warning

Fabulously Sweet, Romantic, and Classic Jill Shalvis goodness – just in time for Christmas!  “One Snowy Night” is a Heartbreaker Bay holiday novella and it is the perfectly sized present of heart tingling Goodness!  The heroine is Rory, who works at the specialty pet store in Heartbreaker Bay for Willa the heroine of “The Trouble With Mistletoe”.  Her boss convinced Rory that she needed to reach out and visit her family during the holidays for the first time in a long while.  Rory ran away from home at seventeen, just after her junior year, and now, 6 years later she is trying to make amends by coming home to surprise her mother and half sisters.  Her stepfather isn’t convinced that she’s going to keep her word and show up for Christmas morning, so he gave her a task.  He has her bringing his special order gift for her mother to Tahoe, which has Rory even more stressed out and worried that something will happen that will cause her to let her family down yet again.  Her only way home, due to a terrible snow storm is Max, a guy who works at the Investigation and Security firm in the same building as the pet store.  Rory and Max have history, they attended the same high school as kids but they didn’t travel in the same social circles.  Max was a “Jock” and Rory was a “Wallflower” but he was nice to her and volunteered to be her lab partner a couple of times.  Max never knew that he was Rory’s first crush and is also the only person who can make her feel like the bullied, unwanted teenager she once was.  In the present day, there is a heat and attraction between Rory and Max and yet there is also a feeling of angry reluctance from.  Despite how cordial they were in high school Max seems to really dislike Rory and she doesn’t understand why.  The only thing that they agree on is their love for Max’s dog Carl.  Max has been resentful and angry at Rory for the past six years, quite simply, because she ruined his life and by the way she’s been traipsing around Heartbreaker Bay she doesn’t care about what she did to him.  Or she’s completely clueless.  The close quarters in the truck, during their Christmas Eve road-trip, and the treacherous, isolated, and blocked snow storm battered roads are perfect triggers to set off an intensely hot and heavy emotional and physical explosion between Rory and Max.

There are things that Max doesn’t know about all of the events that occurred in high school which brought about the ruination of his life.  Rory never knew about the fall out of her actions in high school, all she knows is that Max always looks at her like he can’t stand the sight of her.  Rory had been bullied by a “Mean Girl” in high school who somehow managed to have Rory take the fall for every one of her transgressions.  Out of revenge Rory set up a sting to catch the “Mean Girl” in the act.  The football coach’s office was getting broken into so that kids could have sex in there.  Rory knew it was the Coach’s daughter, the “Mean Girl”, so Rory taped the “Mean Girl” going into the coach’s office with a guy, unfortunately the guy on the day of the taping was Max.  The lighting was such that he couldn’t be identified but Max wouldn’t let a girl take the entire blame so he confessed that it was him.  The coach was so angry with Max that he kicked him off the football team which caused Max to lose his full ride athletic scholarship to the University of Michigan.  Therefore Max never went to college and got his degree.  It’s Christmas Eve and Max is driving Rory from San Francisco to Tahoe, normally about a four hour drive.  The drive starts off tense since Rory doesn’t want Max to drive her but her boss Willa arranged for him to take her.  Max is resentful because Rory isn’t acting apologetic for how she messed up his life plans and he initially doesn’t want to speak or listen to her.  However, the time spent during their harrowing drive from San Francisco to Tahoe, and some wise words from an older woman who they helped with her and her husband’s car problems, allows them to confront and clear up the issues from their past.  This unlocks and makes room for new feelings and the potential for something – more.

“One Snowy Night” is a short and sweet Heartbreaker Bay Christmas novella.  But Jill Shalvis packs in all of the delightful romance, the comedic hijinx, and her trademark lovable and engaging characters.  Basically Rory, Max, and his good dog Carl are the only characters in the book, everyone else only appears briefly having only several lines or is merely a phone call conversation.  “One Snowy Night” is truly a delightfully magical snow globe of a Romantic novella that I’d happily read under a cozy blanket with a mug of hot chocolate.

I’m giving “One Snowy Night” 5 Lightning Bolts and a Small Craft Advisory.


This novella was provided to read voluntarily for an unbiased review.

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