A Cherry Cola Christmas by Ashton Lee is the story of a small town called Cherico Mississippi and the lovely people who live there. Maura Beth, the feisty librarian of the town, has just returned from her honeymoon and is ready to settle down into married life. She returns however, to find that her beloved town of Cherico's economy is struggling and a rare crime spree has spread across the town. Maura Beth decides the residents need a healthy dose of Christmas cheer and she calls upon her Cherry Cola Book Club to help out. She invites the entire community to come share inspirational stories, hoping that by coming together they can save their little town just in time for Christmas.
I picked up A Cherry Cola Christmas as a blind date with a book at a local bookstore. I'd heard about such a thing on-line and was so excited to see one in real life! My sister and I decided to each buy one and then exchange them after we finished reading. As I read A Cherry Cola Christmas I was surprised by two things. One, how much I loved this book. Ashton Lee does a great job of setting up a likable main character in Maura Beth. It's clear right away that everyone in the town, with the exception of one person, thinks of her as a leader and someone to respect. The supporting characters of the town also lend a likeable nature to the story and give a well rounded variety of people. I wouldn't call A Cherry Cola Christmas a cozy mystery novel because there really isn't a mystery to solve. It has the feeling of that type of book, however it's more of a window into the town and how the people there live their lives. I would call it a feel good story. I'm sure there's a name for that type of book but it's escaping me at the moment.
I found the names of the towns people and the way they talked very interesting. It wasn't bad, it was just different for me. It was clear that the author grew up in Mississippi because the names and dialect seemed very genuine to the south.
Second, I was surprised to learn that A Cherry Cola Christmas was written by a man. I didn't pay much attention to the author other than his name Ashton, which I wrongly assumed was a woman. He's written Maura Beth so well that I was genuinely surprised when I flipped to the back of the book and saw his picture. When I think of cozy books, mystery or otherwise, I automatically think the author is a woman. I'm so glad I was wrong! I absolutely loved this book and will check out other Cherry Cola Book Club novels. If you like feel good stories, I recommend this one!