Long time no post. I’ve been away on holiday and had all the best intentions of getting so much pool reading done and having a bunch of reviews stockpiled for when I got back. That plan failed terribly, but I have zero regrets. Instead of having my head in a book constantly, I was able to truly switch off my brain, relax and enjoy time with my family. It’s not something we get to do together for an extended period of time very often, so it was lovely and I am so glad that my books took a back seat.
Thank you to @panmacmillan for this advanced copy of Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by @jennibayliss in return for an honest review. Meet Me Under the Mistletoe was published on 10th November 2022 and you can get a copy here.
Two of Nory Noel’s oldest school friends are having a winter wedding in a luxurious castle; she should be excited right? Except she’s not. She’s not seen her old school friends in quite some time and they have since grown apart so Nory is dreading spending the week with no plus one amongst a group of couples.
Once the champagne starts to flow, old tensions start to rise again and Nory is desperate for some quiet time alone from her friends. In the castle gardens she quite literally bumps into Isaac; the castle gardener and Nory’s rival from childhood.
Turns out that Nory and Isaac have more in common as adults than they thought and the pair start to steal moments away together whenever they can. However when Nory tries to do something incredibly kind but risky for Isaac, everything could backfire and the pair could end up as rivals once more.
General Thoughts 🤔
This is likely going to be my penultimate Christmas book of 2022 so I was hoping that it would be as cutesy and romantic as it sounded. I am pleased to report back that it lived up to my expectations and it was a lovely book for me to read whilst flying back from my holiday and trying to spark some Christmas spirit. The book wasn’t exactly Christmas themed, but it was set around that time of year and it had all of the cosy feelings of winter.
There are no real shocks or surprises in the story but I didn’t need or want there to be. I just wanted to be swept away and get a lovely warm tingly feeling about some lovely characters that were involved in a lovely story. What I wanted was what I got.
I really liked Nory as the main character. She wasn’t perfect, but I loved her for it. She was a relatable girl and she owned a second hand bookshop so if you’re a bookish person, what was there not to love?! I thought she was a tad naive in her decision making and was potentially a little too trustworthy but who hasn’t been there. Her heart was in the right place and to me, that was all that mattered for her character in this story.
Isaac was such a lovely guy. Potentially a little too lovely for me. I didn’t find myself lusting after him or anything but he was perfect for Nory. The two of them seemed to fit together so easily that it was hard to believe that they had ever thought that they had any differences.
Writing Style ✍️
This is the first Jenny Bayliss book that I have read, but I have since noticed that Christmas books are kind of her thing. She did it so well with this story, I can tell that this is definitely her jam. When reading, it was like I could feel that she was enjoying writing every dialogue between characters, every scene description and generally every chapter. There was a lot of love oozing from her writing and it was what made me finish this book feeling warm and fuzzy. I’d very much like to go back and read her other Christmas books next year.
Conclusion & Scoring 🎖
I sat on an aeroplane saying goodbye to a Caribbean beach and heading towards a wet and cold Wales when I read this and I owe this book a thank you for making me feel somewhat better about that. This was a gorgeous story about family (relatives and chosen), friendships (close and distant) and love (old and new). I loved the wintery, cosy feelings this book oozed and I think I can probably now say I’m looking forward to Christmas.