Clark Griswold was onto something, at least with his annual holiday meltdown. And since the last three weeks of my life have been riddled with humbug—another breakup, a broken toe, an office promotion I deserved and didn’t get—I’m not at all in the mood to celebrate nor have the happ, happ, happiest Christmas EVER.


4,5 stars

THIS is how a Christmas romance is done!

And I dare say it’s more than a Christmas romance with the depth of that story, the multi layered characters, the past trauma, the cuteness of the kids, the shenanigans of the family and… a twist I never saw coming!

Kate Stewart clearly redefines the genre!

This is a second chance romance, beginning when Whitney, working in advertising, has been robbed from her promotion by an a$$ kisser!

She’s had a recent string of bad luck with a broken toe, the end of a convenient relationship and now…that!

So when she is headed to the family cabin to celebrate Christmas for a few days with her family, she is determined to enjoy her holiday and leave the bitter act behind her.

I was immediately falling for her family and especially for little Peyton and his “Mep” to say “Yep”!
Also Gracie, nine years old and having her first period, being a diva rang so true! I couldn’t help but wonder if Kate had been inspired by a niece.

The weekend will expose the family dynamic and the struggle of married couples. Serena, Whitney’s older sister, is in a tight spot with her husband Thatch. My heart broke for them as you could see that they did love each other but that twenty years of marriage had taken its toll. Again, that rang so true! Kate was imparting some true fact and reality check about marriage.

When Whitney’s successful brother arrives with his family, he brings a co-worker with him.

That colleague being none other than the great love of Whitney’s life in college: Eli.

Pretty early on, we see that Eli is still very attracted to Whitney. But she has been hurt so deeply that she can’t trust him anymore.

We’ll have some flashbacks into their romance seventeen years prior, wondering why such a so enamored couple broke off. What happened to make Whitney so destroyed?

I was of course rooting for Eli who seemed to have matured and not being frightened of commitment any longer.

He fit right into the family, being adorable with the kids, supporting the men of the family and helping everyone.

His chemistry with Whitney was also undeniable.

When we finally got an explanation, it was like a bomb being dropped! I couldn’t stop crying and I never expected THAT explanation!

If you are looking for a smart romance, with depth, banter, ugly cry and cuteness overload with the kids, go for it!

Thanks for reading!


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  1. This is one of the books I was hoping to get to in December, ahhhhhh I need to read this one! I’m so happy to hear you loved it so much because I should too. Wonderful review, Sophie!

  2. Kate Stewart really did redefine holiday romance. I love your review!
    I forgot about the diva niece and her first period. So funny!
    It was such a great mix of funny and realistic emotions. I loved it! Lemon Pledge… I laughed so much at that scene.