Saturday, November 30, 2019

Christmas in Vermont (Anita Hughes)

When you find yourself meandering over to the bookstore's holiday section, you usually know what you're going to be getting. There are no surprises in a holiday novel, but readers love them precisely for their predictability so they can escape from the real world. All that being said, it's important that a holiday book have at least some whimsy and warmth and for any book to keep the reader's attention. Even with a title like Christmas in Vermont, I didn't really find either of these in this book.

Emma is a Manhattan copywriter who visits a pawn shop on Christmas Eve. She finds her ex-boyfriend's engraved watch and wonders whatever became of him. Her best friend, Bronwyn, discovers that Fletcher, the ex-boyfriend, is staying in a snowy Vermont inn and sends Emma there. What Bronwyn doesn't know is that Fletcher has a fiance and a daughter.

Christmas, a Vermont Inn, snow -- sounds magical, right? It is in theory, but while holiday novels do require the reader to suspend disbelief at times, this one had way too may "coincidences" to be believed. Hughes calls it "synchronicity" in the book, but it just came off as annoying. Finding ex-boyfriend's engraved watch in a pawn shop? Check. Best friend sends me to the same middle-of-nowhere inn as my ex-boyfriend? Check. I become close with my ex-boyfriend's ten-year-old daughter? Check. Ex-boyfriend has a fight with his fiance and the fiance leaves? Check. You can only guess how it ends.

There are better holiday books out there.