Christmas in August! I just got the third book in the trilogy, so I can indulge my preference to read a series from start to finish. This was a heartwarming Cinderella story. The book opens with Leni working in the diner that her adoptive parents own. She has just graduated with her degree in social work and is helping out while looking for a job. She is all decked out like one of Santa's elves when a good-looking stranger stops in the diner. Nick is on a mission for a friend. He needs to find Eleanor Long and let her know that she may be one of three heirs to a multibillionaire's fortune.
I loved the first meeting between Nick and Leni. There is an immediate connection between the two of them. Nick finds himself acting out of character, flirting with the waitress, and being unusually light-hearted. I loved the give-and-take between him and Leni. That all comes to a screeching halt when he finds out that Leni is his missing heiress. Leni is stunned by the news. I loved that she kept her head and didn't immediately leave for New York the way he wanted her to. Instead, she made him wait until the next day so that she could talk to her parents about it. Nick isn't used to not getting his way and isn't quite sure how he feels about it.
I enjoyed watching the development of the relationship between Leni and Nick. Leni is a down-to-earth young woman whose primary interest in her inheritance is the ability to help her parents. Her father suffered a job-related injury, and the medical costs are overwhelming. When the estate's lawyer has to postpone their meeting, Nick is left to watch over Leni. Despite his attraction to her, Nick is determined to keep a distance between them. Leni is not exactly cooperative in that endeavor. I loved watching her poke and tease him until he loosens up, only to have to do it again and again as he battles his feelings for her.
I ached for Nick, who is still grieving the death of his older brother. He is overwhelmed by guilt, also, because he feels responsible for Joe's death. He feels as though his parents blame him, too, and does everything he can to fill in for his brother. Though part of him wants to see where things could go with Leni, he mostly feels unworthy of having a relationship with her.
I loved the scenes where Leni shook Nick out of his comfort zone. The ice skating scene was fantastic as he allowed his old fun side to come out. There was also a profoundly caring part to Nick. When Leni's father ended up in the hospital, Nick was there by her side, doing anything he could to help Leni and her mother. It didn't take long for Leni to realize that she was falling hard for Nick. I ached for her as she accepted that sometimes love wasn't enough to overcome all obstacles. It took an eye-opening conversation with his father for Nick to see what he was doing. I loved his big moment at the end, as he let go of his grief and embraced the future.
I loved watching Leni throughout the book. She had a hard time accepting her inheritance because of her anger at her biological father. She felt that he had abandoned her and her mother, leaving them to struggle while he went on his merry way. When her mother became ill and gave Leni up for adoption, it added to her resentment of him. Fortunately, she ended up with loving adoptive parents. Now she has a chance to help her family, but it means letting go of her anger. I liked the way that Nick helped her with that.
Leni is also very independent. I enjoyed seeing her go head-to-head with Nick over using any of the estate "slush fund" before being proved an heir. Even once she was confirmed, Leni remained true to herself. I had fun watching her shop, taking advantage of her new reality. The scenes at the hospital party and the fundraiser ball were fantastic. I especially enjoyed watching her shine at the ball. I ached for her dismay at being tricked at the coffee shop and loved how Nick came to her rescue. But what I loved the most was how she decided to make a difference with the money she inherited. The epilogue was a terrific followup.
Cinderella's Billion-dollar Christmas Mass Market Paperback – Large Print, 3 December 2019
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- Publisher : Harlequin Books; Larger Print edition (3 December 2019)
- Language : English
- Mass Market Paperback : 251 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1335499636
- ISBN-13 : 978-1335499639
- Dimensions : 10.44 x 1.8 x 16.71 cm
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Warning will make your heart glowReviewed in the United States on 6 December 2019
Wow, what an heartwarming modern day Cinderella story. Leni is everything you think of when you think of Cinderella, compassionate and loving, she is out to save the world, I love her. And Nick, please send me a prince charming like him, baggage and all. Susan Meier, once again has written a story that will make your heart glow.
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