Christmas Time 

(Lavender, Texas #5.5)

Kindle Edition27 pages
Published November 27,  2015

GoodReads Summary:

Not many young women are as alone in the world as twenty-two-year-old McKinley Alva who grew up in a children's home after being abandoned by her parents at an early age. Plain and shy as a child, she never was offered an adoptive home, but being quite bright was given scholarships and work opportunities to attend college. So she has a decent job, a share in an apartment, but few friends, having never learned how to relate comfortably to others. She has told her apartment mates that she'll be spending Christmas with her Aunt Ida in Iowa, a fictional relative whom she made up back in her teen years when other kids talked of their families. Prepared for a pleasant but solitary holiday with her videos and books, most of them about families and Christmas, she is literally thrown off her feet by an encounter at a grocery store with handsome young Jerry Caldecott. 
Jerry, along with his parents, spirit her off for an old-fashioned Christmas in a place she's never heard of before, Lavender, Texas where celebrating with family in the big Victorian house on Crockett Street is like stepping back in time. 
Christmas Time is an 8,000 word short story. Though an independent story, its place in the sequence of Lavender novels falls after the fifth book, 'Lavender Dreaming' and takes place just before 'Murder in Lavender', first book in the upcoming cozy mystery series.

First reactionWhat a lovely story. I only wish there were more of it! Full review on my blog later.

My Review:
McKinley Alva, or Mac to her friends, is alone in the world. No family of any kind. She even keeps her friends at a distance with a fictitious Aunt Ida. That's really alone when you don't let roommates know you don't really have anywhere to go for Christmas and you have to make up a relative. It's sad. Mac is a sad person. She lets no one in, no one close. So when she takes up with strangers, it's really strange.

Jerry and his folks literally scoop her up and whisk her off on a holiday adventure. She can't explain everything that happens, but she's hurting from her fall, so she isn't thinking straight. After awhile she stops trying to explain some things and she just enjoys herself with people who are just so warm and genuine that she can't and doesn't want to keep them at a distance. Christmas works its magic on Mac. Or is it human kindness and a bit of love, something Mac's had too little of in her life? Happiness, fun, acceptance? I gave this magical little story a 5-star rating just for the magic of it and the warm feeling it left me with. There are a few rough spots, but like other reviewers before me, I am inclined to overlook them and read other books in this series to see if the magic continues through the series, Lavender, TX by Barbara Bartholomew

I bought this in Kindle format from Amazon. This is an honest review and I am not being compensated in any way. All opinions are fully my own.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review