Christmas at Holiday House
by RaeAnne Thayne
I was provided with an eARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review of this book.
My merry holiday readathon continues with Christmas at Holiday House. I was a little nervous after my first two books that I wasn’t going to find one that really spoke to me, and pushed all the right Christmas buttons. Maybe holiday books weren’t my jam after all?
Christmas at Holiday House did something right off the bat that I love: we had not just one, but three points of view throughout the story! We followed Abby, Ethan, and Ethan’s sister Lucy as they all navigated through the holiday season, through their past relationships, and towards their new lives.
Abby is a single mom after the traumatic murder of her husband two years prior. While there isn’t any graphic mention of his death, it is brought up more than once in the novel, and contributes to the fears Abby begins to overcome with the help of the Holiday House. Now that she has come out on the other side of crippling grief, she’s able to realize that she needs to start somewhere new with her son, somewhere she won’t be known only as the widow.
Lucy, her college roommate and best friend, called Abby after Lucy’s widowed grandmother fell down the stairs of her home, which just so happens to be the Holiday House in question. What Lucy failed to mention to Abby, who as a nurse volunteered to stay with and care for her grandmother, is that it slipped Lucy’s mind to mention Abby’s arrival to her other family members, namely Ethan. This fun little plot twist set up the entire novel in a way the forced the characters to learn to navigate each other and everything the Holiday House throws at them.
If you’ve read my reviews for any length of time you know I have a few reading pet peeves. There is one universal pet peeve I seem to encounter time and time again in romance. I will never understand why the author thinks we need the same information repeated in every chapter. I’m very fortunate to have a good memory, and do not need a recap of what happened two pages ago before we can move on to the next event. Despite this trend, I did really enjoy this story which was in thanks primarily to the characters, their depth, and the holiday shenanigans they partook in.
During a time where leaving our houses or hosting big gatherings is not only frowned upon, but dangerous for everyone everywhere, Christmas at Holiday House reminded me what it would be like to have a normal (if I was stupidly wealthy and had a thousand friends) Christmas.
Ethan and Abby’s son bonded right away, and Ethan took the pair snow tubing and skiing while I lived vicariously through all of them. There was a gingerbread house contest, Christmas carols, Christmas tree decorating, Christmas shopping, Christmas cooking, you name a festive holiday tradition and it can probably be found within the pages of this novel. And honestly, that’s exactly what I have been looking for.
I think the characters that tied this novel together so sweetly for me were Abby’s son and Ethan and Lucy’s grandmother. There was something so innocent about the way both of these characters interacted with others that made me want to invest more deeply in the story.
While this novel doesn’t get down and dirty, it does have a rather high sizzle factor. The chemistry between Ethan and Abby, as well as Lucy and Jose, jumps off the page.
There were times during this novel when I was having so much fun with the characters that I wanted to rate this book five stars just for the experience. My rating lost a star solely because I skimmed so much of the latter half of the book, dodging inner monologue that continued to consist of mostly recaps of events we’d already read about five or six times. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone who wants a lightly steamy romance, and a very Christmas heavy read. It was exactly what I was looking for.