Jenny Holiday’s follow-up to last year’s fantastic Duke Actually sadly fell short.
I feel guilty for rating this book so low, especially considering how much I ADORED Jenny Holiday’s last book, Duke, Actually. That one was a five-star home run, whereas this one is very mid, especially in direct comparison. I think my issue was that Duke Actually had gripping, fun characters right off the bat that many women could relate to. So This is Christmas is really lacking in this department, as I didn’t find myself caring much for either Cara or Matteo. They didn’t have the chemistry I wanted, and honestly, as someone with no interest in Star Wars or Star Trek, I felt there were way too many references to those fandoms. I understand that their ability to bond over their mutual adoration of these topics is part of their appeal to one another, but as someone with a considerable lack of context, I just ended up skimming whenever I saw either mentioned.
I have no issue with people liking them! But the fact that enjoying those series is one of the few character traits I can remember about our main love interests post-reading is not a good sign. The side characters were all fun, and Holiday is a good writer; I think I never connected with the characters or cared for them the way I did with Duke, Actually. I probably expected too much from this, which is on me. This was a hallmark movie of a book; fine in the moment, but I forgot everything about it the minute I finished.
Title: So This is Christmas
Author: Jenny Holiday
Three Descriptors: Gentle, Charming, Hallmark-esque