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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Bright Lights, Big Christmas

Narrator: Kathleen McInerney

Macmillan Audio

ISBN: 978-1250285812

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 09/26/2023

Format: Audio, e-book, paperback

My Rating: 5 Stars (ARC)

From Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author of The Homewreckers and The Santa Suit, comes a novella celebrating love and the warm, glittering charm of the holiday season.

"Nobody does Christmas like Mary Kay Andrews." ―Debbie Macomber

"Cozy up with Santa's favorite novelist!” ―Adriana Trigiani

When fall rolls around, it’s time for Kerry Tolliver to leave her family’s Christmas tree farm in the mountains of North Carolina for the wilds of New York City to help her gruff older brother & his dog, Queenie, sell the trees at the family stand on a corner in Greenwich Village. Sharing a tiny vintage camper and experiencing Manhattan for the first time, Kerry’s ready to try to carve out a new corner for herself.

In the weeks leading into Christmas, Kerry quickly becomes close with the charming neighbors who live near their stand. When an elderly neighbor goes missing, Kerry will need to combine her country know-how with her newly acquired New York knowledge to protect the new friends she’s come to think of as family,

And complicating everything is Patrick, a single dad raising his adorable, dragon-loving son Austin on this quirky block. Kerry and Patrick’s chemistry is undeniable, but what chance does this holiday romance really have?

Filled with family ties, both rekindled and new, and sparkling with Christmas magic, BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CHRISTMAS delivers everything Mary Kay Andrews fans adore, all tied up in a hilarious, romantic gem of a novel.

My Review

The queen of summer and holiday delights, Mary Kay Andrews, returns following The Homewreckers (5 stars) with her latest fun novella, BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CHRISTMAS —assured to get you in the festive spirit for the upcoming holidays!

MKA cleverly brings small-town charm, wit, sass, and endearing characters to the big city for a magical story of nostalgia, love romance, miracles, community, and second chances. You must often step out of your comfort zone to find the unexpected in the unlikeliest places.

BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CHRISTMAS would make for a fun Hallmark Christmas show!

The Tollivers have been growing Christmas trees in the mountains of western North Carolina for four generations. Not only do they sell them locally, but they also set up a Christmas tree stand in New York every year after Thanksgiving.

This year, there will be a change.

Kerry Clare Tolliver (34) has received the news from her mom Birdie she must go to New York with her mountain brother, Murphy (39), to sell trees since Jock, the dad, is recovering from heart surgery. The mom must stay there to care for him since his young wife left him. They need the sales in New York to float their business, with the dad being out of work for a while.

Kerry's mom and dad divorced years earlier, and she moved to Charlotte, NC, to live in the city with her mom while Murphy stayed at the farm like a grisly mountain man.

Kerry had graduated from art school in Savannah, and her job at the Charlotte ad agency had merged with another prominent firm in Atlanta, leaving her without a job. She recently gave up her loft and moved back home, taking on some online line freelance work. She is waiting for her next opportunity in her field.

The last thing she wants is to travel with her brother from NC to New York City in a truck that pulls a vintage trailer (Spammy, a family heirloom) and dog Queenie. They must sleep in the small trailer, use the bathroom facilities, take showers at restaurants and bakeries, and eat there.

The Tolliver Family Christmas Trees: Farm fresh since 1954. They finally arrive with lots of problems and challenges; however, in the process, Kerry meets Patrick (Mercedes Man) and his lovable son, Austin, as well as an entire community of business owners and new friends who take them under their wing.

Austin is a big helper to Kerry, and she falls for him and his dad. She finds she likes this more than she thought and dreads when it is almost time to leave.

MKA pulls out all the stops, bringing all the supporting cast of young and old characters with special friends for a memorable and dazzling festive Christmas.

Heartwarming and enchanting, full of heart and humor!

This is what Christmas is all about! The author brilliantly celebrates the true meaning of the holidays and the extended community spirit that binds us all.

As a NC native, I LOVED BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CHRISTMAS. I adored Kerry and all the characters for a spectacular Christmas holiday read. My FAVORITE holiday read! I miss all the NC wintery Christmas stands/farms, a former favorite family tradition the day after Thanksgiving with my sons. Being in South Florida for 20 years, unfortunately, it is not the same.

It would not be summer or Christmas without the loveable, funny, and talented MKA! A longtime fan of MKA, I have read all her books, and each one is a treasured gem. You will laugh out loud and always learn something in the process.

There is nothing more special than Christmas in NYC! I love the small-town characters embraced in the city for a magical Christmas of second chances!

I read the e-book and paperback versions and listened to the AUDIOBOOK narrated by one of my favorites, Kathleen McInerney, giving an outstanding award-winning performance for all voices! I listened in one sitting—I highly recommend the audio!

BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CHRISTMAS is perfect for fans of authors Debbie Macomber, Sherryl Woods, Kristy Woodson Harvey, and Viola Shipman! Be sure to put this gem on your Christmas list! Ideal for book clubs and holiday gifts.

Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Macmillan Audio for a gifted ARC and ALC via NetGalley and a beautiful paperback copy for an honest opinion. #SMPInfluencers

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Sept 26, 2023

My Rating: 5 Stars


"Andrews (The Santa Suit) serves up a Christmas treat in this sparkling tale."

―Publishers Weekly

"Nobody owns Christmas like Santa's favorite novelist, Mary Kay Andrews. With wit, wisdom and the occasional tangle of tinsel, North Carolina native Kerry Tolliver reinvents her life as she sells Christmas trees from a beloved camper in the glittering heart of New York City. Grab the eggnog and the cookies and cozy up in Greenwich Village with Bright Lights, Big Christmas for big fun." ―Adriana Trigiani

“From a magical Santa suit, to a Christmas tree stand in the heart of New York, to a neighborhood full of quirky characters, and the smell of fresh cut pine Christmas trees, nobody does Christmas like Mary Kay Andrews.”

―Debbie Macomber

About the Author

Photo: Bill Miles

MARY KAY ANDREWS is the New York Times bestselling author of 30 novels (including The Homewreckers; The Santa Suit; The Newcomer; Hello, Summer; Sunset Beach; The High Tide Club; The Weekenders; Beach Town; Save the Date; Ladies’ Night; Christmas Bliss; Spring Fever; Summer Rental; The Fixer Upper; Deep Dish; Blue Christmas; Savannah Breeze; Hissy Fit; Little Bitty Lies; and Savannah Blues), and one cookbook, The Beach House Cookbook.

A native of St. Petersburg, Florida, she earned a B.A. in journalism from The University of Georgia. After a 14-year career working as a reporter at newspapers including The Savannah Morning News, The Marietta Journal, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, where she spent the final ten years of her career, she left journalism in 1991 to write fiction.

Her first novel, Every Crooked Nanny, was published in 1992 by HarperCollins. She went on to write ten critically acclaimed mysteries under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck. In 2002, she assumed the pen name Mary Kay Andrews with the publication of Savannah Blues. In 2006, Hissy Fit became her first New York Times bestseller, followed by fifteen more New York Times, USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestsellers. To date, her novels have been published in German, Italian, Polish, Slovenian, Hungarian, Dutch, Czech and Japanese.

She and her family divide their time between Atlanta and Tybee Island, GA, where they cook up new recipes in three restored beach homes, The Breeze Inn, Ebbtide, and Coquina Cottage—all named after fictional places in Mary Kay’s novels, and all available to rent through Tybee Vacation Rentals. In between cooking, spoiling her grandkids, and plotting her next novel, Mary Kay is an intrepid treasure hunter whose favorite pastime is junking and fixing up old houses. WEBSITE







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