top of page
  • Writer's pictureRita Garcia

Book Review: Restoring Christmas by Julie Arduini

My favorite Christmas Story this season!

I simply loved Restoring Christmas by Julie Arduini. A delightful, warm Christmas story with all the best the season has to offer. Curl up by the fire and enjoy this cozy Christmas read that will warm your heart and make you eager to trim your Christmas tree.

Introducing Holly Christmas and Kevin Holt

Restoring Christmas by Julie Arduini

Restoring Christmas by Julie Arduini

Holly and Kevin are the central characters in Restoring Christmas, first featured in the A Christmas to Remember collection. Restoring Collection is now available in print, as well as for Kindle and free for Kindle Unlimited.

Holly grew up in Upstate NY, the area that houses the State University of New York at Geneseo, Jen-Uh-See-Oh. Her parents owned The Christmas Mansion, and her father, Chris, was beloved by all in Geneseo Valley as their favorite Santa to visit.

Holly never really shared the holiday passion. Because she was raised around the tourist attraction, she missed out on time with her parents. When Holly’s mom passed away, her father threw himself into renovating the mansion. His plans were disorganized and unfunded, and he died without ever changing the aging place.

When Restoring Christmas begins, Holly’s coming back to her hometown. She chose not to go to college locally and made a life for herself in Ohio. That job disappeared, and her Uncle Nick pleaded for her to return and help him. The Christmas Mansion is falling apart and in desperate need of an updating.

Guilt and grief drive Holly. She doesn’t have plans to stay in town beyond what Uncle Nick needs to get the adored mansion back in shape. That is until she meets Kevin Holt.

Kevin Holt is a teacher for students who have minor special needs. One of his duties is to oversee a group of students who are assigned to a business in Geneseo Valley. It’s a daunting task given the last place, a grocery store, dismissed the kids after they played football with the pickle jars.

He’s made a contact with Nick Christmas, so Kevin’s prayer is the students behave and be a great help to the senior citizen at The Christmas Mansion. As soon as the Clark Kent-looking teacher arrives, he notices the young woman with long black hair who seems so sad. What Kevin doesn’t notice is one of his students, his best friend’s son Nathan Welling, blurted out what he discerned about Holly. Nathan questions why Holly works at the Christmas Mansion when he can see she hates Christmas. Kevin’s mortified, not sure if Holly understands some of the issues his students have. What Kevin doesn’t realize is young Nathan is right. Holly hates Christmas.

These characters were fun to write because their attraction was immediate, but their differences huge. Kevin lives with his best friend, Jonah, and Nathan to help them with their grief over the loss of Jonah’s wife, Lily. Kevin’s faith sees him through his challenges. Holly stuffed her faith away when her mother died, and she’s reluctant to pursue it again.

What they have in common is hurt and holidays. Kevin hates Valentine’s Day, and Holly’s curious. As they work on updating the mansion and managing plans to make it the only place in the northeast to visit for Christmas fun, the two grow closer as Kevin tries to show Holly Geneseo Valley is the home for her.

As for character likeness, for Kevin, right away he’s described as a Clark Kent lookalike. When I was looking at stock photos for the cover, that was the first thing I was looking for. Holly has stunning long black hair, so I looked for that in the cover as well.

Hopefully you’ve enjoyed getting to know Holly and Kevin better, and that you’ll be ready to “Deck the Halls” when you finish reading Restoring Christmas.

Julie Arduini knows how to weave an intriguing story.

Anytime I see a new book by this author.

I plan a weekend to relax and get lost in a beautiful story.

Dr. Rita writes Stories that Touch the Heart. Romance is a big part of her novels; hope is an even larger element of her stories.


Reflections With Rita

bottom of page