reading: Christmas Stalking

I admit I bought this partly because of the title. And because I love romances set during a holiday (Christmas especially, but honestly I’d love to read more set at other holidays). And because lately I’m having a streak of good luck when it comes to reading Harlequin’s “Love Inspired” line, which at first I approached very tentatively.

Title: Christmas Stalking

Author: Margaret Daley

Harlequin Love Inspired Suspense

November 2012 christmas stalking

Reasons I Might Actually Remember This One: A female bodyguard with military training and a difficult background, Ellie St. James spends the Christmas holidays protecting cosmetics CEO (and product creator) Mrs. Rachel Winfield.

At seventy-three, Winnie is working on one last product before she retires; she doesn’t know it at the outset of the book, but someone’s been sending her threatening letters, and her business manager hires Ellie without consulting her. Winnie’s old but not helpless, and she’s written marvelously: kind but never twee or sacharin; invested in her adult grandson (the hero) but not overly interfering; in charge, but aging gracefully and stepping down intentionally once she’s finished a project that had meant a lot to her late husband.

Ellie, meanwhile, has a touching background that contains tragedy without being drowned by it. Her handicapped brother was bullied and died young, but instead of destroying her his life pushed her to become a strong woman, committed to protecting those who need her care.

More than anything this reminded me of a Nancy Drew mystery, only with an adult heroine. The mystery is complicated enough to be entertaining, but not written to be so creepy or gore-laden that it’s disturbing. There are set pieces (an elegant winter ball where a suspect shows up, for instance) that really, really brought Nancy to mind (and in case it’s not clear, I mean that as a compliment).

Active Ingredients:

missing or emotionally neglectful parents

raised by grandparents

time to provide grandchildren, you two

girl detective

scientist

snowed in

Christmas

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