It’s usually the unexpected events in life that bring us close to the people we come to love in our lives. This is exactly what happens to the main couple Annie and Nate in the cozy Christmas story that is Under the Christmas Tree by Robyn Carr.
When Annie makes a quick pit stop in Virgin River on her way to do annual Christmas baking with her parents, she didn’t expect to discover a box of cute, but pitiful abandoned puppies under the town Christmas tree. And when she called the vet to the cozy, local bar to check the near-death puppies over, she wasn’t expecting the young, very handsome Nate Jenson in place of his father (the previous vet). Most of all though, she didn’t expect to spark his interest – especially after overhearing him talking about his upcoming vacation where he’d be surrounded by a sea of tiny bikinis. But spark his interest, she did. With the commitment to care for the puppies keeping them together for weeks on end, their lives began to change and their interest in each other only grew.
Annie and Nate are both really just down to earth people. They basically grew up in the same circle – living in the same small town. Due to the slight age difference though, they never really got to know each other. However, now that they’re grown, that isn’t an issue anymore. In fact, they are both quite surprised to see how much each of them has changed in the years since their childhood. They make quite a cute couple as they spend more and more time together. They get along and have quite a bit in common, but not so much so that they seem like the same character.
This little Christmas novella was a very sweet, quick read. However, I did have some qualms with it. One of which was the pacing. Being a novella, the story was less than 150 pages. The story spans approximately 3 weeks which is quite a bit of time to space out over such a short amount of pages. Throughout the whole story, I felt like I was time hopping and missing large chunks of Nate and Annie’s relationship developing. This almost made it seem like it was more insta-romance even though they did fall for each other over a somewhat respectable amount of time. Another problem I had with the story was the lack of Christmas. Early on, the holiday really filled their air of the story. Annie found the puppies under a snowy Christmas tree and the cozy bar they kept the puppies at was quaintly decorated for Christmas. However, after the first 30-ish pages, I lost all sense of the holiday in the story – which was odd considering it was the main time setting for the story. My final problem with the story was lack of conflict. I don’t always expect there to be a physical conflict in a romance story. However, there really wasn’t much of an emotional one in this story either. Annie had some trust issues, but they seemed to be easily dismissed and there really weren’t any other problems. The story really was just very convenient and full of very convenient plot points.
Overall, Under the Christmas Tree was a cute, quick read. It didn’t hold much sustenance and I suspect by New Year, I won’t remember much about it. For this reason, I give it 2.5 stars.