• Small town Starlight, Iowa is known for its close community and quirky characters. When Dante stepped into Barney's Diner life as he knew it changed. Waitress Caroline Picasso picked up on him as soon as she spotted his World Cup ring. Goalie for the Italian Soccer League, Dante didn't expect to be recognized in the little Midwestern town. With the Stetson he sported to the subtle Texas accent, Caroline dubbed him "Italian Cowboy."

    When Amanda Marston literally "breezed" through the door to the diner that evening Caroline was on high alert. Matchmaker by nature, she spotted the perfect couple, and began to brainstorm how she could bring them together. Back in her hometown for her brother's New Year's Eve wedding, Amanda was enjoying winter once again, after having taken a teaching position and living in Florida. Christmas was in the air and Amanda's spirits were bright as she and her hometown community prepared for the coming of Christmas and the celebrations surrounding this holy day.

    Later that evening Dante's rental car refused to start, making it impossible to have repairs made until morning. Dante hadn't prepared to remain in Starlight for the night. Was God trying to tell him something? Caroline offered to house the soccer star which was only the beginning of a series of events that caused Dante to reflect on the course his life was taking. Spending some time in Starlight revealed a life that he missed, family, closeness with friends, and a future with someone to love and share a family. Amanda had sparked in him feelings that he couldn't explain. Is God pointing the way to a life-changing event when Dante's career is waiting in Italy?

    This is a delightful Christmas romance, one that is colorful and filled with emotions and a variety of developments. The characters in this book are so well defined they become a part of your life. JoAnn Durgin has a way of making her characters real to the point that you feel like you know them personally. This author is also a master at creating an atmosphere of pure and ardent romance, with God at the center of her characters' hearts. Her own relationship with her husband shines through her stories so that you feel the love in the air as she describes the feelings that her characters evoke in one another. There's intensity in romance without the graphics, leaving the reader "in the moment." I read last year's Christmas romance by this author, "Meet Me Under The Mistletoe," and had the same response, Don't miss this beautiful Christian Christmas romance!

    Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.

    Nancee Marchinowski

    12/08/2013



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