Review: Shine a Light by Rebecca Crowley


Title: Shine a Light (Orchard Hill #1)
Author: Rebecca Crowley
Date of publication: 30 Nov 2021
Genre: Hanukkah romance, holiday romance

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My rating: 4 stars


When Ellie Bloom’s life literally goes up in flames after an apartment fire, she slinks back to her sister’s house in the St. Louis suburb she’s avoided since her mom died. Ellie quickly caves to her nephews’ pleas to direct the temple Hanukkah play—her mom’s pride and joy—and by the time she’s lighting the first candle in her menorah, she doubts she’ll ever escape her hometown. And then she spots the cute fireman who rescued her lighting his own menorah in the window next door.

Firefighter Jonah Spellman may have dropped out of seminary, but he still has deep roots in his Jewish faith. Hoping to mend fences with his Rabbi father who can’t forgive his career change, Jonah agrees to direct the Hanukkah play, never expecting to clash with his beautiful, fire-starting new next-door neighbor.

By day they spar—Ellie’s desperate to live up to her mom’s legacy while Jonah’s driven to impress his dad. But by night they return to their secret candle-lighting ritual. Will their love burn as brightly as the Hanukkah flames?


This is a lovely and tender Hanukkah romance and I greatly enjoyed it. I usually go for high drama, high angst romance and this is very much the opposite and it still worked great for me.

I have enjoyed some of this author's previous football romance and was excited to read her take on holiday romance. I was curious to read something that was not about Christmas but about Hanukkah and they way it is celebrate.

I liked both MCs, two young Jewish people dealing with their own issues. There was a lot of focus on loss and grief which I didn't expect but also think it was beautifully handled. It did bring tears to my eyes, so visceral was the sense of loss.

In a lot of way this is a small town romance, rather focused on traditional values of family and community with no hint of queer people even existing, something I am not too happy about.

I did like the exploration of what having a community around you means - the support but also the meddling and memories and pressure. We see supportive families but also the burden of their expectations. There were no major conflicts, romantic or otherwise, the tension was brought about by some unfortunate circumstances and miscommunication.

It is a festive, heart-warming, deeply hopeful and happy making romance. A perfect holiday read to dissipate the cold and darkness of the winter outside.

CW: loss of a parent to cancer, fire, road traffic accident,

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