"A sparkling romantic gem to usher in the holidays."
Reviewed by Melissa Kammer
Posted January 2, 2010
Vancy Bashalde Salo has hit a lull that has left her a bit
restless and on edge. She relishes the fact that her
grandchildren are happily married and that the wedding
curse has been broken, but she needs something to occupy
her free time. When her friends suggest that she try her
skills at matchmaking, she is taken with the idea. She
knows just the couple to start with, Salo Construction's
new employee, Eve Allen, and her neighbor, TC Potter. How
hard can it be to have them in love by Christmas Eve?
Eve Allen has given up on Christmas and men. She has had
too many bad experiences to enjoy what used to be her
favorite holiday especially coming off the recent disaster
of a relationship. She is looking forward to her new job
and quietly working through the holidays. However, her
boss's grandmother, Vancy, has other ideas, and
unfortunately Eve wants nothing to do with a man especially
one who crushed her childhood dreams and broke her heart.
Will she make it through the holidays unattached? Or is
the third time the charm?
TC Potter is a freelance writer, and his widely popular
articles about everyday men earned him a place as one of
America's most eligible bachelors. When his neighbor,
Vancy, comes knocking on his door and invites him to
dinner, he thinks nothing of it. However, he soon realizes
her intentions, and he wants no part in her matchmaking
attempt until he notices that Eve presents a challenge.
After having women throw themselves at him, he can finally
pursue one who seems not to be interested in him. Will he
be able to woo her on his own? Or will he have to enlist
the help of a meddling grandmother?
Holly Jacobs delights her readers with a heaping dose of
cheer in this fabulous romantic treat. Ms. Jacobs keeps
the laughs coming and those pages turning as we are sucked
in to a festive matchmaking attempt. Vancy is a sweet yet
cunning force to be reckoned with and she cannot be
dissuaded from her course once her targets are in her
sights. Eve and TC are the hapless victims caught in the
melee. With the rest of the characters just as quirky and
just as lovable as these three, I found it hard to put the
book down and was thoroughly caught up in the whirlwind of
this Christmas romance. EVERYTHING BUT A CHRISTMAS EVE
brims over with fun and frivolity, and it is certain to
bring out that holiday spirit.
For years, Nana Vancy Bashalde Salo believed that sheâd
cursed her own family to bad weddings. Now that the curse
is broken, sheâs bored. Her best friends, the âSilver
Bells,â convince her to try her hand at matchmaking. And
Nana has just the person in mind, Salo Constructionâs new
office manager, Eve Allen.
Eve is coming out of a bad relationship and longs for a
little quiet and order. Thatâs definitely not in the cards
with Nana Vancy around. And itâs even less possible when
Nana tries to hook her up with TC Potter, a boy who broke
her heart in kindergarten when he told her there was no
Santa, and then broke it again in 9th grade when he stood
her up for a dance. Eveâs heart still healing from her
last bad relationship, she doesnât need it broken by TC for
a third time.
Freelance writer, TC Potter makes his living by writing
articles about Every American Man. His life was pretty
much perfect until he was named one of Americaâs most
eligible bachelors last year. Heâs spent the last twelve
month hiding out from women whoâd like to de-bachelor him.
Now heâs finally met someone heâd really like to date, but
Eveâs not interested. But maybe with a Hungarian
grandmotherâs help, and a little Christmas magic, he can
convince her that they have something too special to ignore?
Rejoin the Salo family in Everything But a Christmas Eve
and discover if Nana Vancy really does have some Hungarian
Vancy Bashalde Salo was bored and the entire Salo family
knew it. Which is why theyâd all practically thrown her out
of the house today, insisting she go to lunch with her two
oldest friends, affectionately known in the family as The
Silver Bells, mainly because they were long since grey and
were named Annabelle and Isabel.
Vancy hoped her friends would be more sympathetic than her
family. She knew she was driving them allâfrom her husband
Bela, straight down to her grandchildren-crazy, but she
couldnât seem to help herself. For years, sheâd fretted and
worried about the Salo Family Wedding Curse. Whenever sheâd
thought about it, it had always been in all capital
letters, because cursing your own family to bad weddings...
well, that was the sort of action that deserved all
capitals, even if it had been an accidental curse.
She looked across the table at her oldest and dearest
friends and told them about the curse, not for the first
time. â...and so there I was, Vancy Bashalde, the prettiest
girl in Erdely, Hungaryââ
Isabel Henning interrupted and filled in, âAnd you planned
the most elaborate, fancy wedding the town had ever seen.â
Annabelle Conner picked up. âBut your Bela didnât show up
and you thought heâd deserted you, so you said something
like, If I donât get my beautiful wedding, I hope he never
gets one. Him or any of his descendants, or something to
that effect.â Annabelle paused. âI think that last part,
tacking on his kids and such, was sort of mean spirited,
Vancy. I mean, you never met the kids he hadnât had yet,
and they didnât leave you waiting at the altar.â
âBut Bela hadnât been there because heâd had an accident,â
Isabel supplied. âAnd when he showed up you married him
right away, without bothering with another fancy wedding.
Youâd realized all you wanted was him.â
Vancy realized she had probably mentioned the curse story
once or twice...maybe more, but they were friends so they
should listen again. âAnd then when my childrenââ
This time Annabelle interrupted her. ââgot married and had
disaster after disaster, and none of them got their fancy
weddings, you remembered what you said and because youâre
Isabel picked up, ââyou knew words had meaning, and you
realized that youâd cursed your own family. And you tried
to break the curse with your grandchildrenâs weddings.â
âBut they didnât cooperate.â Vancy spoke rapidly so her
friends would interrupt and ruin her story. âFirst my
namesake, Vancy, was stood up at the altar, then met the
love of her life and didnât wait for me to plan a wedding,
then my grandson, Noah got stood up at his stag party and
found out he was in love with an old friend...and didnât
let me plan the wedding.
âBut then there was Dori, who didnât let you plan her
wedding either,â Isabel started.
Vancy broke in. âAnd Bill, my granddaughter Doriâs new
husband, figured it out. Thereâd never been a curse because
Bela and I broke it when we married without waiting to plan
another wedding. Thatâs the part you two forgot, the fact
that I tried to soften the curse by adding that when
someone in Belaâs family cared more about the marriage than
the wedding, the curse would be over. And Bela and I broke
the curse ourselves.â
Yes, dear, we know.â Isabel heaved a huge sigh, as if
listening to the story again was a trial.
âYouâve told us this story a few times over the years.â
Annabelle patted her hand, and shot a look at Isabel that
Vancy didnât miss.
âAnd even if you hadnât,â Annabelle continued, âthat
reporter boy that made your granddaughter Vancyâs life
miserable when he wrote that wedding curse story gave the
details. All the gory details. And Vancy, dear, there were
a lot of gory details.â
âSo, Vancy, if you donât mind me sayingââ Isabel started.
âUs saying,â Annabelle corrected.
âUs saying. Annabelle and I donât understand this malaise.
You should be celebrating the fact that thanks in part to
you, all three of your grandchildren are happily married,
and the curse is broken. Your great-grandchildren...how
many are there now?â
âVancy and Matt have Chris and Ricky, and their little girl
who wonât answer to anything but Fred.â
âThey named their daughter Fred?â Isabel sounded aghast,
and Annabelle nodded her aghastment agreement.
âNo, the boys were upset she was a girl and started calling
her Fred...and it stuck. So, Fred she is. And both Dori and
Callie are pregnant. Theyâre both due any day nowâtwo new
babies before the end of the year. I swear theyâre racing
to see who can get to the finish line first. Theyâre giving
Bill and Noah fits, because theyâre both such tomboys and
wonât let something like a little pregnancy slow them down.â
âVancy, it sounds like thereâs a lot going on to keep you
busy...â Annabelle said.
âYes, I know, but I canât help it, Iâm bored. I loved
setting up the kids, and planning their weddings. Even when
the weddings all fell through, it was fun to plan. Now,
thereâs nothing. Rick and Chris are way too young to even
think about matchmaking for.â
âSo, why wait for them? There are plenty of single people
in the world,â Annabelle said. âMaybe you could help one of
âMatch-make for someone else? Someone other than family?â
Vancy rolled the idea over and over in her mind. She didnât
see a downside to it. âIâm so very good at what I do, and
there are so many single people in the world.â
âI would be like shooting fish in a barrel,â Annabelle
chirruped gleefully. âYou always say you have abilities
because youâre Hungarian. So, pick someone at random.
Someone single. I mean, you wouldnât want to use your
skills on someone already married.â
Vancy tried to think of someone single. Suddenly, she
remembered her Bela talking about someone just yesterday.
âWhy, Bela just hired a new girl at the office. Sheâs going
to be more than a secretary, sort of an office manager. He
said she was tall and blond, but I shouldnât be jealous,
because he was rather fond of short and grey.â She smiled
at the thought. Her Bela was so sweet.
âAnd this girl, she tsked him during the interview and told
him that he wouldnât know a pie-chart from a spreadsheet
even if one of them bit him in the butt.â
âAnd he hired her anyway?â Isabel asked, once again aghast.
Vancy loved her friend, but Isabel spent a great portion of
her life aghast at one thing or the other.
âHe hired her because of it. Bela likes someone who isnât
afraid of putting him in his place.â
âWhich explains why he married you,â Isabel muttered.
Vancy heard her friend, but ignored her. Her mind was too
filled with matchmaking ideas and she felt more excitement
than she had in months and months. âAnnabelle, you are a
good friend. I think this may work.â
âOh, Annabelle, what have you done?â Isabel whispered.
Vancy ignored that as well. She was too excited about her
There was no more Salo Family Wedding Curse, but there were
plenty of single people in need of her help.
And she was going to start with Eve Allen, Salo
Constructionâs new office manager.
Maybe by Christmas Eve, sheâd have helped Eve find her
No maybe about it.
When Vancy Bashalde Salo set her mind to something, she
always achieved it.
Knowing words had power, Nancy Vancy Salo whispered as her
friends were talking, âEve Allen will be head-over-heels in
love by Christmas Eve.â
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