Welcome to Serenity is the fourth book in The Sweet Magnolias series and the first to center around someone other than one of the three Sweet Magnolias, Maddie, Dana Sue, and Helen.
This book, surprisingly (to me anyway!), is also a Christmas book. (I really wish I hadn’t continued to delay my library hold until after Christmastime! haha)
Jeanette, who runs the spa at The Corner Spa (the spa and fitness center The Sweet Magnolias launched in book 1) is talked into representing The Corner Spa on the council for the city’s annual Christmas celebration. Unfortunately for Jeannete, because she despises Christmastime.
Meanwhile, Tom, the new city manager, is also forced onto the council by the mayor. If we thought Jeanette hated Christmas, she’s got nothing on Tom, who is a regular Scrooge!
Overall this was a cute story. It’s a typical HEA romance. What I didn’t like so much was how quickly Tom fell for Jeanette. He went from “that woman was rude to me!” to “I can’t get her out of my bed, I must convince her to date me!” If you can look past that (I did) you’ll find a pleasant sweet romance.
Both Jeanette and Tom had valid reasons for hating Christmas, and learning about and watching them overcome their pasts was enjoyable.
As a bonus, we get to know Mary Vaughn a little better. In the previous books she’s very much been painted as a villain, but now we get to see her from an outsider’s – Jeanette’s – viewpoint. And what Jeanette sees is a woman who just needs a friend. I really appreciated the friendship that developed between the two women, and I hope that if I continue with this series we will get to see more of that.
I’ve probably said it in my previous reviews, but I’ll say it again. The Sweet Magnolias books are very different from the Netflix TV Series (especially after book 1!) so if you’ve already watched the show, brace yourself for the differences in the books.