A snowstorm. A stranger. A spark. It should be the perfect start to the perfect love story.
But real life is far messier and more complicated than in the pages of the books in Megan Taylor’s family bookshop – the last few years have left this young widow in no doubt of that. Moving back home to York should have been a fresh start, but all it did was allow her to retreat from the world.
When prize-winning author Xander Stone rams his supermarket trolley into her ankles and then trashes her taste in books, Megan is abruptly awoken from her self-imposed hibernation. It’s time to start living again, and she’s going to start by putting this arrogant, superior – admittedly sexy – stranger in his place.
Just as she is beginning to enjoy life again, the worst happens and Megan begins to wonder if she should have stayed hidden away. Because it turns out that falling in love again is about more than just meeting under the mistletoe…
Three years after her husband’s death, Megan is still trying to move forward. On top of that, her bookshop is struggling and she’s not sure it’s going to make it. When famous novelist Xander Stone agrees to do a book signing at her shop, she is thrilled. But his rudeness and condescending manner do not bode well for the event. Angered by Xander’s scorn towards romance novels, Megan invites him to her book club and begins to see a different side of Xander Stone.
This is a sometimes light romance that, interestingly enough, pokes fun at some romance tropes while simultaneously introducing many of those tropes into the actual book. There are several nods to Jane Austen and some poignant discussions of the financial plight of bookstores right now. I’m not sure this transports me completely to the Christmas season, as I think most of the book could have taken place at any time of the year and I didn’t completely feel the holiday spirit.
I have some problems with Xander, the most important of which is that he has a pattern throughout the book of suddenly becoming rude and extremely verbally abusive out of the blue, with no warning. It happens more than once, and the explanation for it is not good enough. I also don’t like the name Xander as a shortened form of Alexander. It sounds like a little boy’s name. But considering his behavior and penchant for temper tantrums, maybe it’s fitting.
The other characters are likable and the narrator, Laura Brydon, does a good job differentiating between all the characters and bringing their personalities alive. This takes my rating from two stars to three.
I received a free copy of this audiobook from Saga Egmont Audio. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.
NOTE: The first cover is the cover of the audiobook. The second cover is the cover of the Kindle edition. I prefer the audiobook cover. What do you think?
ANOTHER NOTE: I’m annoyed that a book with an abusive main character has 1500 ratings on Amazon and over a 4-star average while much better books struggle for an audience.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Rachel Burton has been making up stories for as long as she can remember and always dreamed of being a writer until life somehow got in the way. After reading for a degree in Classics and another in English Literature she accidentally fell into a career in law, but eventually managed to write her first book on her lunch breaks. She loves words, Shakespeare, tea, The Beatles, dresses with pockets and very tall romantic heroes (not necessarily in that order) and lives with her husband and two cats in Yorkshire. A Bookshop Christmas was a finalist in the RNA Romantic Novel Awards 2022.