Sleigh Bells in the Snow by Sarah Morgan
Release Date - November 2013
Book Review by Tracy Farnsworth
Jackson O'Neil left his family's Vermont ski resort and spa and found his way in the world. Now, his father is dead and the resort is struggling. Jackson returns home to try to turn things around, despite his grandfather's disapproval.
One of the first issues where Jackson and his grandfather butt heads is over the hiring of one very lovely Kayla Green, an expert in marketing. To win his grandfather over, Jackson asks Kayla to come stay at Snow Crystal for exactly one week and find out what makes the resort so magical.
Kayla hates Christmas, so a trip to a remote Vermont cabin sounds ideal. While people gather to celebrate the holidays, she plans to quickly interview the O'Neil family and then hide in the log cabin for the rest of the week. She never expects for them to take her under their wing as a member of the family, and she's definitely not enjoying all the attention.
There's one other hurdle Kayla faces. She's finding herself becoming far too attracted to Jackson. Kayla does not do warm and fuzzy romances, but something about Snow Crystal is starting to melt her heart, so she must work extra hard to keep her defensive wall up!
I'm a Vermonter, born and raised here, so I always find myself interested to see how authors portray the state. This was more intriguing to me because the author is in the UK, and my mother, when she moved to Vermont many years ago, wasn't prepared for the difference in attitudes, weather, or even driving on the wrong side of the road. I have to thank Sarah Morgan for not falling prey to what many authors do and make Vermonters have unusual accents. I've read far too many books where Vermonters apparently say "ay-yup" in every sentence, and that's simply not true.
Because I'm a Vermonter, I went into this being a little more critical than the average reader. The author gets a lot of the atmosphere right. Weather in Vermont is hugely unpredictable. We were at temperatures of 70 just a few weeks ago, and suddenly we're in a cold snap of teens with snow coming down rapidly. We're even being told to expect single digits by the end of the week. Even dressing in layers isn't enough to keep you warm.
There were parts where I disagreed such as Vermonters not locking doors. Due to years of increases in drug-related burglaries, we do lock doors when going out or at night, even if it is just for a quick walk around the block. Snow Crystal is fictional, so you won't find towns of this nature. Stowe or Jeffersonville (Smuggs) are probably the closest given the details about being near Mount Mansfield, but these towns spread out enough that you won't find that everyone in the town knows one another. I know people in both areas, and they definitely keep doors locked.
Despite my overly critical nature, I loved Sleigh Bells in the Snow. It was an emotional, heart-felt read. It sets the stage for the other two O'Neil brothers to find romance, and I can't wait to catch up with Jackson and Kayla in those future novels.