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Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Christmas Countdown by Donna Ashcroft


The Christmas Countdown

Kindle Edition, 284 pages
Published October 7th 2019 by Bookouture



Goodreads synopsis:
It’s that time of year again, snowflakes are fluttering and the countdown to Christmas has begun! Holly Devine is returning to the only place that feels like home, hoping that some festive magic will help to turn her life around…

Twenty-seven-year-old Holly Devine has just had her heart well and truly broken. Hurt by the two people she loves the most, she flees to her eccentric Aunt Clara’s cosy cottage to hide away over the winter season. But kind, impulsive Aunt Clara has other ideas… She’s not about to see her favourite niece wallowing in sadness during the most wonderful time of the year. So, with the help of her close circle of friends and plenty of gin, she creates a handmade advent calendar for Holly.

Every day in December, Holly opens a new door and has a different task to complete. She soon finds herself asking out a complete stranger – gorgeous, cheeky pub landlord, Finn Jackson. But as handsome Finn gets involved in her festive challenges, Holly’s determination to avoid romance is put to the test. Still, Finn’s far too carefree and single for true love, isn’t he?

As Holly begins to embrace each day – a complete makeover, building the biggest snowman she’s ever seen, singing in a karaoke contest – Finn is there adding fun and laughter to every moment. Holly starts to realise that she can become the person she’s always wanted to be…

But a secret from Finn’s past threatens to turn Holly’s Christmas upside down and makes her question everything she has experienced in the last few weeks. Will Finn open up to Holly in time to show her how he really feels? And will she complete the advent calendar challenges and fall in love this Christmas?

***

4 Stars

This was a really fun read. A lot of other reviewers said it was “flirty”. I am not sure that it the right description. I am going to say fun and intense, because when it wasn’t fun and exciting it was mega intense. The characters worked through a lot of issues in this. I am not sure either of them was really ready for a committed relationship when the book began.

The whole Advent Calendar thing was inventive and really got Holly out of her comfort zone. I think it is easy to get into the same mindset as Holly had in this book. You keep putting off until tomorrow to deal with things and suddenly not dealing with things becomes the norm. Holly really needed to confront her sister about stealing her boyfriend. And truly, what does it say about the boyfriend that he didn’t end one relationship before starting a new one? What a dud he turned out to be. I loved the addition of Holly’s Aunt Clara. What a hoot she was. I wish there had been more scenes with her in a more prominent role.

There is a big scene where the two of them (Finn and Holly) realize they really like each other and move into the “making love” phase. Suddenly, Finn is uncomfortable about being that “real” with Holly. His reaction seemed so odd to me. I was surprised the mountain between them didn’t grow even more. A lot of the conflicts like these seemed so easily remedied once the character focused on the issue. I wish there had been a bit more struggle to regain what they really wanted in life. I don’t always need a book wrapped up in a big bow when it ends. But a happily ever after scenario is always appreciated.

The intenseness of this book was remedied by the fun and exciting Advent Calendar Countdown and I found it to be an overall great read. If you love your romance with a bit of trial, definitely check this book out! You won’t be disappointed.


I received this as an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) in return for an honest review. I thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for allowing me to read this title.

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