Themes: Adult, Contemporary, Christmas Romance
Christmas has always been a sad time for young widow Holly Brown, so when she’s asked to look after a remote house on the Lancashire moors, the opportunity to hide herself away is irresistible — the perfect excuse to forget about the festivities.
Sculptor Jude Martland is determined that this year there will be no Christmas after his brother runs off with his fiancee and he is keen to avoid the family home. However, he will have to return by the twelfth night of the festivities, when the hamlet of Little Mumming hold their historic festivities and all of his family are required to attend.
Meanwhile, Holly is finding that if she wants to avoid Christmas, she has come to the wrong place. When Jude unexpectedly returns on Christmas Eve he is far from delighted to discover that Holly seems to be holding the very family party he had hoped to avoid.
Suddenly, the blizzards come out of nowhere and the whole village is snowed in. With no escape, Holly and Jude get much more than they bargained for — it looks like the twelve days of Christmas are going to be very interesting indeed!
It was a nice, cosy Christmas read but be aware the plot is more about the found family than the actual romance.
And I enjoyed this family, with its very different but all strongly willed members, even though I didn’t like how they treated our heroine, Holly. Perhaps it’s because this book is a bit old (it was first published in 2010) but I felt like it glorified the stereotype of the woman that exists to cook and take care of the family (even one that is not even hers!). From my point of view, Holly was treated a bit like a domestic, as if it was normal for her to do all the housework while not being paid for that. Even worse, I was shocked by a passage where she literally says she would like to go to the pub but can’t because she has to cook (again, not the job she was hired for) and the love interest isn’t saying anything or encouraging her to go.
I understand that the plot is built like that to enhance Holly’s qualities but it could have been done without being in conflict with her personality. Here, there is a clear inconsistency between the Holly saying she’s capable of defending herself and even asserting in the beginning that no she’s not the cleaner and that she will not cook or do anything that is outside her contract, and the one that ends up doing everything without anything in return.
In brief: Despite the huge weakness I just discussed, my rating shows that I still managed to enjoy my reading once I ignored it. It remains a nice, cosy read that is actually really Christmassy, in a big, old mansion in the middle of the English countryside!
My rating: 3/5
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