Tis the season again in Plumley’s latest

Lezlie Patterson / McClatchy-Tribune News Service /

Published Nov 4, 2012 at 04:00AM

“Together for Christmas” by Lisa Plumley (Zebra, $6.99)

Lisa Plumley takes readers back to Kismet, Mich., for a third Christmas and sets up another love story (or three) in the Christmas-embracing town that is “like a freaking Christmas card come to life,” a place with “bucolic, over-the-top holiday jollity” that was “like a Norman Rockwell painting crossed with a Bing Crosby song dosed with a big handful of silvery tinsel and hung with candy canes.”

Or at least that is how hero Casey, a self-described Scrooge, describes the town on his arrival.

Plumley has a definite knack for providing readers with “holiday jollity” mixed with romance. Her blend of quirky characters who find themselves in quirky situations make for endearing stories.

The story is charming, the heroine is smart, strong and capable, the support cast endearingly odd and the two side love stories are bonuses.

Casey, the hero, is the only negative. And even though he doesn’t ascribe to the romance hero stereotype, he’s still likeable enough. He’s just comes up a bit short in the macho-hero world.

For one thing, his job as a troubleshooter for pampered celebrities isn’t very hero-ish.

Second, his very childish encounter with an old childhood friend turned nemesis just puts him in a place he never really leaves.

He’s charming, handsome and fun. He’s just missing the ruggedness and macho that makes heroes great.

Interestingly enough, however, that really doesn’t spoil the book, mostly because Kristen, his true love, is the perfect complement to his character. Also, there really aren’t any other really macho men (except for brief visits from some past characters) to compare him to.

Speaking of past characters ...

Readers will get very brief glimpses of past Kismet characters, Reno (“Home for the Holidays”) and Reid and Karina (“Holiday Affair.”) Also, Damon and Nastasha, from Plumley’s recent “Melt Into You” play a fun role in this story.

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