The Man Who Loved Christmas, by Kathryn Shay

>> Saturday, September 21, 2002

Next I'm reading the second in Kathryn Shay's firefighter series, The Man Who Loved Christmas. I liked the first one in the series, Feel the Heat.

Plot summary:

Dylan's a risk-taker and fights fires by confronting danger head-on. Beth instructs her recruits at the Fire Academy that caution and safety is the credo of a good firefighter. So when Dylan comes to teach at the academy, the clash is inevitable. But so is the attraction between them...
Posted later...

I finished The Man Who Loved Christmas and I loved it. It was an A- for me. I'm not usually into tear-jerkers, but I read half this book with a lump in my throat and loved it. I think the difference is that the lump was because the story was so emotional, not because the characters are going through tragedies.

The love story was very well done, from the time Dylan and Beth were enemies to their first rapprochement at the hotel, to their deciding to commit to each other. Shay succeeded in showing their changing feelings. I must be a bit of a sadist, because I liked seeing Dylan suffer, wanting more from a woman who was determined to give him nothing but sex. I was rooting for him, but he still needed to suffer a bit.

I understood Beth's issues (something I wasn't able to do in the preceeding book in the series), and I thought her reaction to them was realistic. Of course, I thought Dylan and the psychologist were right in forcing her to start living again, but her reaction to so much loss was realistic.

I liked that when she gets pregnant, she actually considers an abortion as a possibility. This was a first for a Harlequin for me. In this particular case, I felt her decision to not go through with it (of course! this is a romance novel after all. If I ever read a romance where the heroine has an abortion or has had in the past and isn't made to "pay" for it, I'll know romance publishers have really started to respect their readers) was the right thing to do. I understood her impulse to not want something to care about a child again, and risk losing it, but in this case having it was the right thing.

I found the setting of the book, with the training of the new recruits for the Fire Department, very interesting. However, at times it felt like Shay just wanted to cram every fact she found in her research into the book, and it felt a little artificial. It was interesting, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't very smoothly incorporated.

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