Married for Christmas (Willow Park #1) by Noelle Adams

Married for Christmas (Willow Park Book 1)


After years of dreaming, Jessica is finally getting married, but the marriage isn't exactly what she thought.

Daniel is her best friend, and she's known him all her life, but he's never gotten over losing his wife two years ago. His dream is to become the pastor of the church in their hometown, but the small-town congregation keeps balking over calling an unmarried minister. Since Daniel needs a wife and Jessica wants a husband and family, she proposes an arrangement that benefits both of them.

They can get married. They can build a life together. They can celebrate Christmas as a couple. It's fine that he doesn't love her. And it's fine that she's not exactly suited to be a small-town pastor's wife. And it's fine that she's more attracted to her sexy, brooding husband every day.

Jessica can be practical about this marriage. She knows what she's getting into, after all...


Married for Christmas was a surprisingly good read. I wasn't sure what to expect since the storyline is a bit crazy, plus the main character is a pastor so I was hoping it wouldn't be a preachy book. The author includes a note at the beginning of the story about how this is not an inspirational Christian romance, but rather a romance where the characters happen to be religious. She says how she isn't sure if she was able to really accomplish this, but as a non-religious person it was perfect. Really I expected more religion, more talk of God and such, than we saw in this book. For Daniel being a pastor it really was not that prevalent in the book. Yes, the characters have faith but it does not feel directed at the reader like so many books. It feels like they are spiritual and this is their story, not preaching to you the reader. I really like that, but it is usually hard to find. 

Daniel and Jessica have been friends forever. Daniel needs to get married to become the pastor at the church he has always wanted, and Jessica wants a family and roots. She has her mom, but she works so hard and takes care of her when she can that she doesn't have a lot of time for anything else. No one has ever been in love with her and when she realizes that they could help each other out if they were to get married she breaches this topic with Daniel. Jessica has been in love with Daniel forever, but he has never seen her as more than a friend. She knows this isn't perfect, but they are good friends and she thinks she can handle this marriage of convenience. 

Daniel lost his wife a few years ago and he is still not completely over that. When Jessica offers up her idea he is worried that he will be taking something from her. He has been married before and has had that loving marriage, but Jessica hasn't. If they were to do this then it would be forever for him, so he wants to make sure this is really what she wants. They eventually decide to do it and it is just kind of awkward and fun to watch. 

Once they are married Jessica has all of these ideas of what she should be like now that she is a pastors wife. It doesn't matter than Daniel doesn't care about any of that, or that she is not actually like she thinks she should be, she still tries. She thinks she needs to cook dinner every night even though she doesn't know how to cook. She just lumps so much responsibility on herself for things she just doesn't know how to do or doesn't enjoy doing and it is kind of sad. Daniel also keeps getting close then pulling away. He spends more and more time not with her and she starts feeling they are farther apart now than when they were just friends. Overall it is much harder on Jessica than she thought it would be. It doesn't help that she won't talk to Daniel about everything she is thinking and feeling. 

For Daniels part he does try to keep Jessica happy when he can. He does push her away then get close, but once she tells him there are issues he tries to be better so that she will be happy. He seems like a really great guy and he always tries to push Jessica to open up and let other people in. She wants roots and a community, so he pushes her to do things that he thinks she would really enjoy that would help her make some friends and really put those roots down. He was really sweet even if he struggled with a lot of things. This is one book where I wish we would have had both points of view. Normally it is not necessary, but having Daniel's point of view occasionally would have been nice. Having what he is thinking and what he is really struggling with would have been nice. Instead you have to kind of guess just like Jessica. 

One thing I really liked about the book was the sex, when it was described, seemed more realistic than most romance novels. Like the first time wasn't this perfect crazy good cum 8 billion times from him just looking at her thing. It was nice and hot and worked, but it was more realistic I felt. You don't see that that often so I was glad for that. 

Of course everything works out in the end just in time for Christmas day! They are so cute together and it was a really nice read. I do wish we could have gotten a little more time with them just as a normal couple once everything was worked out as I didn't want to say goodbye to them just yet. A really great read and I am going to have to find more from this author. 

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2

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