CHRISTMAS BOOK REVIEW: The Empire State Cat’s Christmas Gift by Nic Tatano

The Empire State Cat’s Christmas Gift
By: Nic Tatano
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 4 November 2016
Format: Ebook, 265 pages

The night her house catches fire, kick-ass lawyer Tish McKenna’s neatly ordered life is thrown into chaos. At least she’s alive—thanks to her adorable cat, Socks!—and after her near-death experience Tish realises she wants more in her life than late nights and case files…

Professionally speaking, hot-shot attorney, Spencer Capshaw hadn’t realised how far off track he’d come. Sure, he had his reasons originally—saving his dad’s life required more money than the DA’s office paid him—yet helping corrupt corporate bigwigs was not why he became a lawyer…

With a little help from a furry friend, these two lost souls find each other in the heart of Manhattan. But when Tish and Spence are pitted against each other in a trial that pushes them both to their limits, can their budding relationship survive? (Goodreads)

A fun and flirty romance novel about high powered lawyers in New York City, The Empire State Cat’s Christmas Gift by Nic Tatano is an entertaining read with a touch of festive magic.

Tish McKenna is woken up late one night by her cat, Socks, who alerts her to the fact that her house is on fire. Thirty seconds later and her bed (with her in it) would have been crushed, so Tish has a lot to be grateful for. Unfortunately, whilst waiting for her house to be repaired, she has no choice but to keep Socks with her at work, meaning her law firm now has its very own office cat. With the loss of a powerful client leaving her office short on work, the next case has never been more important for Tish to win, with the publicity and the payout set to bring her good fortune.

After witnessing Tish at work in the courtroom, Spence Capshaw is bewitched by her mastery of the jury and the ease at which she reduces witnesses to dust. As his work partner points out, she is exactly his type of woman and he would love to meet her. However, he doesn’t even know her name or where her law firm is based, so he’s left hoping for another courtroom encounter. In the mean time, Spence finds his evenings being taken up with a certain feline that starts appearing in his office through the air vent. Not knowing where the cat has come from, he makes a habit of feeding it and even buying it toys to play with.

When Tish and Spence do eventually meet (with the help of a street vendor) they are immediately drawn to each other, realising that their offices share the same building. Spence admires Tish’s values, as she only takes on cases from good clients who she can believe in, not those who are only out for money. However, Spence realises that his partner’s latest client is Tish’s opposition, a ruthless man who will stop at nothing to win. He might not be working on the case himself, but he feels guilty by association and thinks it could threaten his new relationship. He wants Tish to see that he also only takes cases for the right reasons.

There is an overwhelming sense of fun to this book that I loved, with there being a light, flirty humour throughout. The plot is developed somewhat slowly, with the characters being aware of each other but taking even longer to actually meet. Once they do, there is an obvious chemistry between them and both want to see where their relationship goes without rushing in. They seemed like a realistic couple, even though the courtroom drama between them was a little out of the ordinary and Tish seems to overreact to what is essentially Spence’s job.

As a character, however, I really liked Tish and thought that she was smart, sassy and full of spirit. She fights for what she believes in and lays it all on the line regardless of whether it’s a court case or a relationship. She is very much all or nothing, and as a result she is scared of being hurt if she gives her whole self to someone. It takes her time to trust Spence, and she feels betrayed that he hadn’t told her about his firm’s client sooner. Despite her righteousness, Tish can also appreciate when she’s in the wrong, which makes her more admirable and well-rounded.

I thought that Spence was similarly well developed, as we get to know a little of his history and why he has taken on certain cases over the years. His softer side also comes through with Socks, as he reveals a love of cats from his childhood and his wish for his own office cat. I liked how he could be the perfect gentleman, taking Tish out on dates that were out of the ordinary and upping his game. He is in this for the long haul, as Tish seems to tick all his boxes as his ideal woman and he doesn’t want to risk losing her over something stupid. He is smart and thorough, coming through as Tish’s white knight on more than one occasion.

I really enjoyed seeing the relationship blossom between these two, with the added connection of the cat making for a lot of fun rivalry between them. I think that the street vendor, Benny, also deserves a special mention, as he helps get them together and to work things through, all with typical New Yorker charm. I think that there is a touch of festive magic towards the conclusion, but on the whole I wouldn’t say that this is really a Christmas novel, so don’t be disillusioned by the title. I’d highly recommend giving this one a go if you’re new to the festive romance genre, to get started with a more subtle approach to the festivities.

An entertaining novel with a touch of feline magic, this book is primarily a romance with the barest hint of Christmas adding some sparkle at the finale. The book is full of comedy, aided by Socks the cat, and sure to put a smile on your face while it pulls you into the love story. I thought this was one of the more fun festive-themed novels this year, and am growing to like Nic Tatano’s writing style more and more.




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