Disclaimer: I absolutely love Hallmark Christmas movies. Everything I say is out of this undying, appreciative, in awe type of love. Yes, I make fun of them, but my husband and I make fun of each other all of the time, and we are annoyingly in love.
Kim Rossi (Alicia Witt), an aspiring romance novelist, just got dumped at a book reading.
By a note.
This is just one step below getting dumped on Twitter, and one step above getting dumped on a jumbotron at a Pacers’ game.
Garth (Casey Manderson), Kim’s now ex-boyfriend, is a serious writer. Apparently a serious writer
- has a romance blog
- shares their writing with others
- needs their significant other to be a serious writer
- wears glasses they don’t need (I’m not buying those, buddy!)
Garth’s name has an onomatopoeic quality, as it is the groan emitted when people see him walk into their writing workshops, and when he inevitably raises one finger and interjects “actually…”
Kim has been working on her novel (and keeping its contents secret) for probably as long as I have been writing and rewriting mine.
Has it really been 8 years????? Yeeeesh.
She, at least, has shown her manuscript to her super cool and supportive father.
Kim’s favorite author, H.T. Cowell, is a mystery. No one knows his true identity, and he hasn’t written anything new in ages. Everyone’s itching for a new H.T.!
Kim, so annoyed that she got dumped by a dude name Garth, decides that she is going to finish her novel to stick it to him, and the world. While totally doing her job at the car dealership she works at, she finds a week long conference for romance writers at a magical place called The Mistletoe Inn.
And, you’ll never guess! H.T. Cowell is going to be the special guest! AND one special writer will get a chance to have their work read by him! Will he
- wear a werewolf mask?
- have his face partially hidden behind a raised coat collar like Dracula?
- expose his true identity?
Oooooh, this is exciting. Pack up, folks, we’re heading to Vermont!
And, guess where his room is? Oh, right across the hall from Kim.
This is going to be fun!
Kim also meets a writing conference pro, Sam (Lucie Guest). It is worth noting that Sam is one of the greatest Hallmark movie friends we’ve ever been given. Thank you, Hallmark, thank you.
At the meet and greet, Kim waltzes in sporting a white gown and a necklace of red and green presents. She didn’t receive the memo that the dress like your favorite Charles Dickens’ character was cancelled on account of everyone else being lame.
Garth pops onto the scene, and I almost barf. He is attending the conference too.
He quickly leaves the conversation because he thinks it’s very important that he live tweet the conference for his followers, and he cannot be bothered by these amateurs.
The next morning, Kim goes for a run before the workshop begins. As she passes Zeke sitting in a cafe–
She slips on ice, and her feet do this ↓↓↓↓
Back at The Mistletoe Inn, Kim (who is somehow still walking after she slipped into the air and did a triple-Salchow-Russian-split-combo then landed on her butt), chooses her workshop group from a Christmas tree. Group C!
Which quickly turns into Group F- because Garth strolls in wearing a fedora and twirling an umbrella, waving to all of his fans like he is headlining The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
GO AWAY GARTH.
But, please stay because you are super entertaining.
Kim is left without a partner, but Zeke walks in! The workshop leader insists they partner up, and Kim says
- no, thank you
- no, really, I am fine
but she groups them together anyway.
While blissfully typing away to the whale sounds on her white noise machine, Kim hears a neighborhood gang of kids recreating STOMP. No, maybe it’s Garth tap dancing in his room. Or, maybe it’s Rocky Balboa punching away in a meat locker.
Nope, it’s Zeke on his typewriter.
Kim taps on his door and tells him to chill with the pounding. Zeke, instead, pushes his way into Kim’s room and reads her writing, both picking it apart and praising it.
The next day, like any good Hallmark BFF, Sam is sleuthing and matchmaking. She is on the case of finding out
who in the world is H.T. Cowell?
- thinks H.T. is a guy wearing a tweed blazer
- literally shoos Garth away from a conversation
- reminds Kim and Zeke about the romantic dinner dialogue assignment
- sets up a dinner with the 3 of them
then “remembers” she is busy, winks, and prances away.
BUT, I think Sam is H.T. Cowell. Fingers crossed!
To Garth’s complete and utter shock, Kim wins the first round of the contest. She is now in the running to be read by H.T.!
Although Sam smoothly ducked out of dinner after planning it, Kim and Zeke decide to go on this faux-date anyway. In the name of literature!
And it is romantic! They
- bring up exes
- eat sexy desserts
- talk about spoons
We find out that Zeke is divorced, and has had trouble writing since the death of that relationship. We also find out that Alicia Witt should always wear her hair like this.
Because they developed a level of trust at the ❤ romantic ❤ dinner, Kim sends Zeke her manuscript. Then freaks out for like two days. She blasts her whale sounds and nervously chews the head off of her Christmas bear waiting for his feedback.
Meanwhile, freakin’ Garth wins Round 2 of the contest. Here is a rare look at his submission:
Justine sashayed into the cafe, her maroon silk dress hugging her every curve in the soft glow of Yankee Candles. The scent? Evergreen. Just like her love for me.
“Garth…” she whispered, her lips curling around the purr of my name.
“Yes, my love?” I growled, as I flexed my chiseled pecs.
“I have never met a man as romantic as you. As amazing of a writer. One that looks better in glasses.”
I smiled, and corrected her gently. “Actually, I am the most romantic person, best writer, best glasses wearer in the world. Male or female.”
“That’s true, Garthie, I’m sorry, you’re right about everything.” She looked embarrassed, ashamed almost. She had never looked more beautiful.
“Now, shut up and kiss me.”
Zeke finally finishes reading Kim’s manuscript. He likes it, but thinks that it’s the quality of a first draft. It is lacking unique detail, and the characters are a little flat. Kim doesn’t take this well. At all.
Kim, confidence shattered, now must go in front of a panel of professional book agents. They say basically what Zeke said. Her work is not terrible, she definitely has talent, but is a little green.
To inspire and comfort her, Zeke whisks Kim to New York City. He also books them suites in the hotel that appears in her manuscript, so she can include personal details of it into her next draft.
It may have just been me, but every time they said New York City, I couldn’t help but think of that Pace Picante commercial from so many years back. NEW YORK CITY?!
The next morning, they find out that H.T. Cowell’s speech got pushed up, so Kim and Zeke must rush back so they don’t miss the grand reveal! Because she won’t be back in time, Kim has Sam turn in her final submission for the contest. And guess what happens?
That little squirt, Garth, throws it straight in the trash.
Although Kim and Zeke make it back just in time for H.T.’s speech, she is furious and confused when she finds out that her submission wasn’t received. But, that is the least of her problems!
Because Mr. Tweed? Oh, he ain’t H.T. Cowell.
Oh, but look who is…
Kim is ticked that Zeke didn’t inform her that he is, in fact, H.T. Cowell. She gets out her pitchfork and yells
- DEFINITELY NOT NON-FICTION!
then heads home in a rage.
Once she is home, Kim
- starts rewriting her book (and it is actually going really well!)
- gets a call from Sam, who won the contest to meet with H.T. Cowell
- sends her updated manuscript to Sam
At Kim’s house, Garth pops back into the scene. He compliments her, does an interpretive dance, shines her shoes all in an attempt to get her back.
Or…to have Kim put in a good word for him with Zeke. Lol, okay. With a flip of her hair, Kim flawlessly utters
“Aww, you’re too funny, Garth.”
Later, Kim gets a better knock on the door. It’s Zeke! Sam gave him Kim’s revised manuscript! She’s going to get published! They love each other! They make out. The End!
I rate The Mistletoe Inn Balsam Hillworth, which is a 4.5/5 on my scale of Pen Names.
- Mark Hall
- Orna Ment
- Folger Covfefe
- Homer Fambly
The Mistletoe Inn was great. Alicia Witt and David Alpay had so much chemistry that I got shocked just by touching the remote. I really appreciated how it depicted writers supporting each other. And how it depicted the exact opposite.
We got some of the strongest secondary characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting in a Hallmark movie. Lucie Guest was so much fun as Sam. Can we have her as a lead next year?? And, Casey Manderson as Garth! I cannot overstate how much I loved Garth. Oh, he was terrible, but spot on. I had a Garth in every single English or Creative Writing class in college. Truly the greatest Hallmark villain of all time. He will never be topped.
Thumbs up! Thumbs up! Thumbs up!
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