I appear to be definitely in the minority here, but I LOVED this story! Loved it to the point that my initial thought after finishing it was "THIS is what all Christmas stories should be like!"
Perhaps it's that I grew up watching and/or reading [b:A Christmas Carol|5326|A Christmas Carol|Charles Dickens|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1165518693s/5326.jpg|3097440] at least once a year, and am therefore predisposed to believe all Christmas stories must have ghosts in them... :P
I just loved how real it felt. Which, admittedly, is an odd thing to say about a ghost story. But each of the characters, even Emily the ghost, felt like a real person to me. Isaac, Ryan and she are all so lonely and so beautifully open to love, yet also so tentative and reluctant and scared.
I loved how perfect Isaac and Ryan are for each other. How they're both looking for the same things, but are both afraid to admit it--to the point that they nearly lose out on having it altogether.
The only thing that seemed forced in the story was that Ryan would hike that far into the woods in a blizzard. However, the excuse that he was following Emily's voice helped me suspend my disbelief enough to just go with it.
After that, the men's reactions seemed just so sincere and honest. From accidentally saying the wrong thing while trying to do the right thing, to being hurt and embarrassed enough to run away, to wanting to go back and un-say or undo things. And I ADORED that it was only Emily's interference that kept them from sabotaging their chance together.
I don't care how in the minority I am on this opinion, but this is without question my new favorite contemporary Christmas story!