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Reviewed by Grant Leishman for Readers' Favorite
A Christmas Cannoli Kiss (Christmas Cookies) by Annie Armistead is a sweet Christmas romance that warms the heart. Isabella left her hometown of Pittsburgh some two years ago to try to regain her life after losing both her parents in an automobile accident. After two successful years employed in marketing in Florida, she has decided to use the occasion of her friend’s wedding to return to her home for good. On the plane flight back to Pittsburgh, she unexpectedly runs into Nate, her high-school summer crush from over ten years ago. Unsure of what she wants to do for work in Pittsburgh, when she discovers that her favorite neighborhood bakery, which she remembers from her childhood, is going to close down as the owners are retiring, she resurrects her and her girlfriend Beth’s youthful dream of owning a bakery together. Isabella has the recipe for her mother’s famous Cannoli Cookies that she is certain would form the basis of a successful bakery business. When she discovers that Nate is also interested in purchasing the bakery on behalf of a consortium that wants to demolish it and turn it into a parking garage, the battle lines are drawn.
A Christmas Cannoli Kiss (Christmas Cookies) is a frothy, seasonal tale that was actually perfectly timed for when I read it. Author Annie Armistead has created a strong leading character in Isabella who definitely knows her mind and sets out to achieve her goals, yet still manages to infuse some romance and softness which round her out nicely. This is a short novella with a straightforward plot that is easy to consume in one afternoon, perhaps sitting by a fire. I did enjoy the setting and the nostalgia that was evoked by Isabella’s visit and stay with her childhood best friend. The author did a thorough job of setting the scene for a relaxing family Christmas. I was also pleased that she thought to include the recipe at the end of the book for these now-famous Cannoli Cookies. One could imagine that after reading the story, many readers will dash off to the kitchen to recreate Isabella’s perfect Cannoli Cookies. This is a simple, sweet romance that makes few pretensions otherwise and I have no doubt it will prove to be a source of joy for those who love Christmas, romance, and cookies. I can definitely recommend the read.