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A Heartwarming Holiday Read: A Review of Candy Canes & Caroling by Katie Mettner

First of all, a huge thank you to Katie Mettner for an advance reader copy of Candy Canes & Caroling. I loved it! Read on to learn why.

About the Book

Hazel Cane:

Age: 28

Looks: Tall, red hair, and curvy

Favorite Food: Candy Canes

Status: Single, but has her eye on a certain social worker in town

Irving Wallace:

Age: 28

Looks: Dark and handsome, accessorizing with a hip-hugging wheelchair and a furry German Shepherd

Favorite Food: Sweet Potato Nachos

Status: Happily single

Irving Wallace is a bit of a Grinch, a Scrooge if you will. He’s too busy opening the Bells Pass Housing Project to worry about caroling and Christmas trees. Enter Hazel Cane. Intrigued by her new colleague, she makes it her mission to help his heart grow this holiday season. With a candy cane on her lips and a song in her heart, she gets some unexpected help from an infamous diner, an angel in disguise, and a whole lot of Christmas spirit. Can Hazel convince this Grinch that Christmas can mean a whole lot more?

Inclusions: Hero is a paraplegic with a service dog.

My Review

In Candy Canes & Caroling, Katie Mettner constructs a delightful Christmas narrative set in the charming locale of Bells Pass, weaving together themes of love, community spirit, and the magic of the holiday season. The story introduces us to Hazel Cane and Irving Wallace, two contrasting characters who find their lives intertwined amidst the festive backdrop of a town immersed in Christmas cheer.

I love that the story starts by introducing Star, Irving’s service dog, who finds Hazel in need of some assistance. Right away, the story has an intriguing subplot. As I continued reading, I learned that Hazel is no victim and she doesn’t put up with people’s crap, something I loved about her. When she sets her mind to something, she does it, and she sees right through the psychological games people play. 

Irving Wallace is an equally compelling character. His disposition, shadowed by his personal challenges, is reminiscent of the classic Christmas curmudgeons we've grown to know and love in holiday tales. Yet, Irving is a fresh take on this archetype. Confined to a wheelchair, he represents a demographic seldom written as lead characters in romantic fiction. His complexity is skillfully portrayed, ensuring he is defined by more than his disability. His loyal service dog not only enhances his character development but also signifies the support and companionship that steers him through his toughest moments.

Mettner writes about Irving’s disability with grace, educating her readers while keeping the storyline organic and engaging. The representation is heartfelt and respectful, illustrating that love and emotional connections transcend physical limitations. I enjoyed learning about what it’s like for someone who uses a wheelchair. 

What truly stands out in Candy Canes & Caroling is its underlying message that Christmas is not solely about the decorations, songs, or material gifts, but rather, it's about the spirit of giving, spreading joy, and making a positive impact in others' lives, not just during the holidays, but all the time. 

Candy Canes & Caroling is more than a festive read; it's a narrative that resonates on a deeper emotional level, reminding readers of the true meaning of Christmas (and how we should treat people all the time). With its endearing characters, spirited setting, and a resonant message of hope and transformation, Katie Mettner's novel deserves a spot on your holiday reading list. It's a candy cane-sweet story with enough depth to be a satisfying, soul-warming read for the Christmas season, or indeed, any time of the year.

About Katie Mettner

Katie Mettner wears the title of 'the only person to lose her leg after falling down the bunny hill' and loves decorating her prosthetic leg to fit the season. She lives in Northern Wisconsin with her own happily-ever-after and spends the day writing romantic stories with her sweet puppy by her side. Katie has an addiction to coffee and dachshunds and a lessening aversion to Pinterest—now that she’s quit trying to make the things she pins.

Read about more of Katie's adventures as an amputee writer at

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Book Review of Candy Canes & Caroling by Katie Mettner