One Wish in Manhattan by Mandy Baggot | Rating: ★★★★★
Outside, the city was turning into a winter wonderland; inside, there was an avalanche waiting to happen.
As a note, an e-galley of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.
I’ll be the first to admit that I have a weakness for stories that feature holiday themes or New York City–One Wish In Manhattan happens to have BOTH! Can you see where I’m going? If you said yes, then you have been paying attention. I loved the summary so of course I tripped over myself to request a copy.
Of course. I really did love this one. I had an inkling that I would enjoy it, but I wasn’t prepared for how much I did. It was full of so much holiday cheer, pop culture references, love and one woman’s search for her daughter’s father and maybe something for herself as well.
One Wish In Manhattan is light and heavy all at once, with twinkling lights and city streets so vivid you feel like you are there; it is packed with emotions and plots that play with us like a good story should. I felt cheerful while reading it and felt myself wanting to sit back and enjoy it with a cup of hot coffee or chocolate.
It promised a load of cuteness, dramatics, searching and Christmas–and it delivered all that and more. It’s easy to see why my attention was captured. And although it had its flaws and could drag on in some spots, it was just what I needed and is going on my recommendations for anyone looking for something fluffy.
And if you are longing for the holidays to come around.
So how can I describe One Wish in Manhattan? Two words that come to mind are: sweet and sincere. Yes, sweet and sincere are the biggest descriptions--the only accurate ones--I can use for this review.
Mandy Baggot has a great flow in her writing that’s thoughtful and enjoyable; a breeze to get lost in–the story she writes is fun and real and here and there moments will make you tear up a little bit. She's just spot out with the way she portrays each character and their stories. I've highlighted quite a few spots in this one because there are a lot of good moments in the narration.
And I mean a lot!
We’re split mostly between two switching narrations; Hayley and Oliver, in the days leading up to Christmas in the ever-so-dreamy setting of New York City. Its location is a massive part of what caught my attention with the story, but the reality of it is the heart and soul of the story falls into the characters and their romance.
We see their thoughts and everyday lives; their hearts desires and their struggles. Both are incredibly interesting characters with complex human emotion and a whole lot of baggage and backstory to explore. It's a wild ride getting to know Hayley and Oliver and watching as they develop into something new and beautiful; I wouldn't have missed it for the world.
They’re flawed, they’re gentle, they’re alive in a way that all characters should be. There’s not just one side to either character and their lives are completely different yet they mesh so well with one another by stories end. Hayley and Oliver were more than just words on paper. And as far as their romance goes? I loved their interactions and promises.
And their first meeting was too fun! I love that they refer to each other, from then on out, as Lois and Clark.
Mandy ties it all together (characters, plots) perfectly, and ends by wrapping it up in a nice red bow. By the stories final pages, we’re left feeling a little lighter and even swooning. It was genuinely a fun, cute, read that left me with the warm and fuzzies.
I also liked most the sense of family that came from it. Even the parts that were a bit strained. Mandy was sure to level the field with cute family interactions and realistic fights, silence or disagreements. Whether that be in Oliver's family or Hayley's; everything fit together incredibly well.
I even enjoyed the heart wrenching scenes as we hear about Oliver’s family, his relationship with his mother. The loss that they suffered was massive and weighs at Oliver’s heart in one of the saddest ways. I liked how realistic it was in his struggle knowing that his health could decline at any minute like other men in his family tree.
I liked that it was real and that things weren’t always the smoothest.
I loved Hayley’s dynamic with her daughter, Angel; the little girl is just so likable and there’s something very Gilmore Girls about their closeness. They would do anything for each other. And thankfully, this had to be intentional because Mandy references the show a few times during the novel.
Angel is genuinely one of the most charming children characters I’ve seen in ages. I loved her! It's so incredibly rare for me to like the presence of a child in stories; not because I hate them necessarily but because sometimes their presence just seems off.
She’s witty and intelligent and sweet; the little nugget has such a good heart and wise beyond her years you can’t help but to want the best for her and remain hopeful.
Still, she undeniably a little girl and Mandy balances these traits out well.
Of course, I love Dean’s interactions with Hayley too. He is a good uncle to Angel and a good brother to Hayley, even if they had a rocky moment at one point. I like the way they are all tied to one another and obviously are related; their bond is just nice.
One Wish In Manhattan is hands down one of the sweetest holiday stories and will bring optimism and warmth into readers hearts after they finish. It's romantic, it's full of cheer and life. I enjoyed it immensely and you will too–it may be early bu you must put this little guy down on your to-read list and treat yourself.