Eve is an ambitious head mistress at a Bristol school but after a panic attack forces her to go to the hospital, she has to admit that it is time to take a break. So off she goes to visit her aunt Mary in Cornwall. During her childhood, Eve used to spend all her summer holidays with her aunt and they were very close but then she became too busy at work and she hasn’t seen her in years. But Eve doesn’t connect only with her aunt, but also with her lodger, ex-marine Jack, who is recovering from an injury.
Although I found the narration and dialogues rather formal and not completely engaging, the plot is romantic and enjoyable and the Cornwall landscape creates an evocative setting. (NP)
Christmas is usually a miserable time of the year for Lucie but this year she’s escaping to Manhattan for her friend’s wedding. And she’s taking along her childhood friend Dale as her plus one. But somehow things spiral into a web of lies when his family thinks they are now a couple.
I had high expectations for this book to really make the charm and whimsy of Christmas explode around me. Christmas in Manhattan sounds wonderful and it was but it just took too long for Lucie and Dale to get there. Instead, I felt like too much time was spent lying to family and friends about their fake relationship as an excuse for missing Christmas and how they will “break up” when they get back.
I also felt completely in the dark about what happened to Lucie’s mother and why she hates Christmas. Hints are dropped all over the book with a large thud that took me out of the story wondering what happened and wishing they would spit it out already.
What I really liked about this book was the real relationship Lucie and Dale have - the one they were ignoring, or trying to. I loved how Dale was there for Lucie, day or night, rain or shine.
This book has a lot of interesting characters but I had a difficult time understanding how Lucie and Petra were even friends, much less having Lucie be a bridesmaid.
Although this book had many moments that dragged for me, I liked the story overall and enjoyed the scenery. I thought Dale and Lucie were good characters and their emotions were so raw and intense at times. I even felt a little compassion for Petra by the end. Readers who think Manhattan at Christmas time is the place to be should give this one a look. (SB)