Miss Novak's Christmas

Romance - Contemporary
103 Pages
Reviewed on 09/13/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite

Robert A. Valle’s Miss Novak’s Christmas is more than the story of an immigrant who comes to America from Slovakia. It captures the whole of her life, fascinating details subtly dropped in with the ownership of a viola, a hard-earned gift from her father. Her day job is working as a shop assistant, but Anya is a talented musician, and she jumps at the chance to play with a small chamber orchestra at the Lincoln Center in her adopted home city, New York. Anya’s insecurities stem partly from the loss of her parents, but more from her strict musical training – the viola is subservient to the violin. Also, she thought she had found “Mr. Right.” He deserted her, and now she finds it hard to trust. Can Anya overcome her insecurities?

Miss Novak’s Christmas instantly transported me to the snowy glitz of late December in New York. I loved the slightly stilted formal writing style that evoked Anya’s early life in Slovakia, and I was fascinated by the way a viola is played… how an orchestra comes together to create magic. Enchantment is created a second time when Anya plays Christmas music in a pub, duetting with David and his guitar. Could this happen again? How can it be when Anya’s precious viola vanishes without a trace? Do Anya and David have a future or is he romantically involved with violin-playing Annie? Robert A. Valle made me believe an ordinary man was an angel, and so will you when you read the irresistible Miss Novak’s Christmas.

Pikasho Deka

Get into the wonderful Christmas spirit with Robert A. Valle's Miss Novak's Christmas. Anya Novak is a shy Slovakian immigrant who likes to go unnoticed. A talented viola player, Anya plays in a chamber orchestra at the Lincoln Center, where her conductor, William Thornton, insists that she be more aggressive and passionate in her playing. After a chance encounter with an elderly gentleman, Anya meets David, a guitar player with whom Anya ends up playing the song Silent Night at a pub. However, her past baggage prevents her from acting upon her attraction to David, and after an unexpected cab accident, she loses her viola. But fate intervenes, and Anya sees David again. Can she trust herself and play the viola with freedom ever again? What does the future hold for Anya and David?

Miss Novak's Christmas is a beautiful Christmas story with a gentle message about hope in the face of adversity. Robert A. Valle crafts some likable characters in this short and concise novella that manages to tug at your heartstrings in just a few pages. Valle uses a smooth and minimalistic style of prose that will appeal to all kinds of readers, and you're in for a cozy read that's bound to lift your spirits. Introverts will find a lot to relate to in Anya. I enjoyed her budding romance with David, and Valle's ability to create chemistry between them in a few scenes is really commendable. I also liked Niels' guest appearance, who acts as a sort of guardian angel for the two. This is the perfect book to spend your holidays with. Highly recommended.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

In the third book in his series of Christmas novellas, Miss Novak’s Christmas, Robert A. Valle writes about Anya Novak, a beautiful viola player from Eastern Europe. She has moved to New York and made a few friends, but, because of the tragedies and challenges she faced in her hometown of Bratislava, she is hesitant to form a bond stronger than friendship. Anya meets a kind gentleman, Niels, after a rehearsal with her small chamber group, and he treats her to dinner at a pub. Anya meets David as he plays guitar on the stage and feels drawn to him. David encourages her to play with him at the pub on Christmas Eve, but an unfortunate accident results in the loss of Anya’s treasured instrument.

Robert A. Valle captivates his readers with imagery that caresses each of the senses. While reading his novel, I felt as if I could easily navigate the streets of Manhattan and see the landmarks he described. It’s hard to write a holiday romance that only spans a few days, but Valle keeps the ambiance of the season and creates noticeable sparks between his characters. Anya seems reticent, but she is a strong protagonist with words and actions that support the beauty and spirit of the holiday season. Reading no other book in his series, I could easily follow the plot and make the connection with Niels. Miss Novak’s Christmas is a lovely selection for holiday readers or for any time you need a heartwarming urban story with romance and a touch of holiday magic.