The Christmas Backup Plan
by Lori Wilde
Thank you to Netgalley for providing an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
As someone who has more than dipped their toe into the romance genre, I was so excited to finally get to try one of Lori Wilde’s books! I’ve heard her name and praises all over the book community, and was so thrilled to get to experience a little of her magic for myself.
This book started off as a breath of fresh air after my last read. It was a straight forward, to the point, Christmas romance that I could not wait to curl up in bed and devour.
When the story begins, our main male character had just been medically discharged from the army after a paratrooping accident. He is readjusting to civilian life, and dealing with the lingering effects of PTSD. Our female lead is a wedding planner who had just suffered a minor concussion, and was in need of a ride out of town for her best friend’s wedding.
These two are total opposites, and as the story progresses they butt heads on more than one occasion. Despite their differences, they have been a part of each other’s lives for as long as they can remember. The Christmas Backup Plan is book number four in a series, leaving our two main characters as the only unmarried siblings of the bunch.
It’s easy to see how Wilde was able to create such an expansive universe when it felt like every character we were introduced to came with enough of a backstory to fill their own novel (and maybe they already have). Wilde was able to introduce each new character briefly enough that I, as a first time reader, never felt lost or confused, despite reading the fourth book in this series.
I knew we were in for a wild (hehe pun) ride when by the 25% mark our main characters had already made out. This novel got s t e a m y people. Wilde did not disappoint or give us the dreaded fade to black. This novel also required me to suspend disbelief when it came to their fated hum that would announce when our characters had found the one, which is why we had the kissing so early on in the story.
I really only had two hangups with this novel. The first being that our male character was so clearly written by a woman that it sometimes took me out of the story, and the second being the dreaded inner monologue I can’t seem to escape.
If our male point of view had sounded more like a guy, I think this novel would have been a complete hit for me. I really loved the mental health representation, and how the characters openly talked about therapy options like art therapy, animal therapy, meditation therapy, and others.
I tried to let this story sweep me off my feet, but would only get a few inches off the ground before I was bogged back down to earth with internal monologue. I don’t know why I dislike it so much or why it’s so prevalent in the romance novels I’ve been reading. While I didn’t love these sections of the book, I will give Wilde some credit here. Wilde’s monologues were not just repetitive information, but included changes in the character’s way of thinking or seeing the world around them.
Overall I do see why Wilde has the fanbase she does, and think she’s created a really smart universe for these characters. So much so, that I think this series would do incredibly well as a smutty television series on HBO or Starz. I also thoroughly enjoyed just how much Christmas there was in The Christmas Backup Plan. The chemistry between the characters leaped off the pages, and their connection did keep me interested until the very end.
I also loved how two characters who started off not able to understand each other at all, recognized that their differences were things that could be appreciated and valued. While this book may have just been a steamy okay read for me, I do think a lot of people will fall in love with Wilde’s setting and her characters. If you love men from a small Texas town, and women who are too strong and independent for their own good, you should definitely check this series out.