Baby It's Cold Outside -- Addison Fox
Book 1 of Alaskan Nights
Baby It’s Cold Outside is another one of those light-hearted and fun cliched romances all packaged up into something delightfully sweet, cute, and fun. While the love story itself wasn’t the most unique storyline in the world (perky, misunderstood girl with a heart of gold meets broody, commitment-phobic male with misguided notions of his life), the presentation of the story itself was fabulously entertaining.
It’s not Lucky Harbor-like nonsensical humor, but it’s got the same elements of friendship-bonding, family love, warm character interactions, and a bevy of character development that make it hard NOT to fall in love with the all the people in the entire small town of Indigo, Alaska.
Small town romances, I’ve noticed often hit your sentimentality where it’s most effective--at least it does for me.
Sloan McKinley is the oft talked about thirty-three year old daughter of Winifred McKinley--she runs in social circles, was raised in the high society fashion, and thinks twice about her appearance and image before she goes into the public. But after a terrible bout of match-making gone wrong thanks to her mother, who is desperate to have her daughter married off, Sloan receives an S.O.S. from her best friend, Grier Thompson. Grier is in Indigo, Alaska sorting out the legalities of an estate inheritance from a father she never knew, and in the midst of it all, there’s a sullen half-sister who isn’t making things easy for her.
In a moment of desire to escape her high society New York life for a short time, Sloan agrees to fly up to Indigo to support her best friend, and maybe find some room to breathe away from her mother. What Sloan didn’t expect to do, however, was slowly develop an attachment to the small town of Indigo and all of its occupants. Least of all, she hadn’t expected to find instant attraction and a growing sense of love for the town’s lawyer, Walker Montgomery.
Also, there’s something of a small town bachelorette competition in an attempt to marry off all of Indigo’s bachelors. Or something like that.
Baby It’s Cold Outside was fun. It was fun and it was cute and it was sweet and I found myself reading through the entire thing quite quickly if only because I found it very enjoyable. And fun. I compare it to a Jill Shalvis work if only because I had just finished reading the first three books of Lucky Harbor in 2015--another small town romance type of story following three half-sisters and their love interests, and a whole town full of people you can’t help but fall in love with despite and in spite of all their weird antics.
To be totally honest, it’s hard NOT to see parallels in every Contemporary Romance set in a small town with a staple set of quirky characters. So I mean no offense by making comparisons, but they just happen to pop up in my mind.
In this case, Indigo is a small town of eight hundred and twelve (something repeated quite often), with its own unique residents with their own unique personalities that are quite attention-grabbing all on their own.
The moment Sloan arrives into town, she meets and quickly befriends Avery Marks, a girl working at the hotel she is staying at who doesn’t hesitate to whip out the finest wine for a girls’ night bonding fest. I love how easily and readily Sloan and Grier become attached to Avery, placing her as the third in this fast-developing best friendship.
Casting aside her former persona from New York, Sloan quickly jumps into the fray of Indigo’s population, making friends left and right without reserves, not caring that her mother would have disapproved of a lot of the things she does and intends to do… such as compete in the little bachelorette competition (which includes skeet shooting and Iditarod racing).
And like any other romance novel ever written, it doesn’t take long for Sloan and Walker to find each other and start up a courting dance of sorts, building that sexual tension until it erupts into a big steamy, explosion of great sex and multiple orgasms (am I all allowed to use this word in a public forum?).
Meanwhile, we also get to see some side stories of other couples including: Grier and Mick (their complicated relationship will be fleshed out in the next book), Avery and Roman (their even more complicated history will be hashed out in the third book), and Jack and Jess who get a subtle side story and their own quiet Happily Ever After™. Other couples are also hinted at throughout the book, but they aren’t the main focus, which DOES help make the cheese factor of the book a little easier to handle--not that there was a lot of cheese, but the story COULD have gone in that direction, what with Couple Curtain Calls and that sort of thing.
Baby It’s Cold Outside is one of those books I’d read for the pure pleasure of seeing human interaction and heart-warming romance. While Sloan does a lot of developing throughout the book, it doesn’t escape my attention that there wasn’t much for Sloan to develop from in the first place. She’s a great person with very insignificant flaws of city girl expectations upon arrival in Indigo. But her flaws are very quickly set aside as she shows her ability to step back and rethink her expectations and pre-judgments, or think through a situation before putting her foot in her mouth.
You can’t help NOT liking her because she’s so perfect, but at the same time not entirely a Mary Sue.
I’m slightly disappointed, however, that her relationship conflicts with her mother weren’t really expanded upon. Then again, with Walker and HIS broody Daddy Issues™, I suppose there was no need for more delving into others’ parental conflicts.
On the other hand, I’m interested in the complicated history behind Avery and Roman--a little bit of a first love gone bad during their youth type of story that will take place in the third Alaskan Nights book. And just as well, I’m kind of interested to see where Grier’s life takes her as well--if it’s one character who has a bit of growing to do, seems like it would be her.
Again, this is a very well-written, heart-warming romance that is both enjoyable and fun. And I couldn’t help but feel the coldness of Indigo’s climate as I read the entire book during our own winter season in the States. This would have made a pretty good holiday time read, honestly, and I’m glad I could make some time for it.
2016 Reading Challenges:
• Goodreads Reading Challenge
• BookLikes Reading Challenge
• Bookish Resolutions Challenge -- New to Me Author #2