Title: A Christmas to Remember
Author: Jenny Hale
Release Date: October 10
Source: Bookuture on NetGalley (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.)
Check on this book on Goodreads.
Preorder this book at: Chapters
Carrie Blake loves her job as a nanny but, while her friends are settling down, all of Carrie’s spare time is spent with other people’s families. Though it breaks her heart, her New Year’s resolution is to embark on a new career and fix her love life.
As Carrie starts her last job, she’s sure she’ll be going out on a high – the house is amazing , the kids are adorable, and she’s in charge of decorating the tree!
The only problem could be her boss… single-dad Adam Fletcher might be both handsome and successful, but he’s always working. Doesn’t he realise he’s missing out on precious moments with his son and daughter?
As Adam’s family arrive for Christmas including his sensitive sister, Sharon, and his fun-loving elderly Grandpa, Walter, Carrie realises that she might just have found the perfect allies in her quest to persuade Adam to loosen up. There’s still time for Carrie to make this the best Christmas ever… after all, Christmas is the time for miracles, isn’t it? Let the festivities begin! (Source: Goodreads)
Carrie is a nanny, and while she loves her job, she’s trying to plan for a future that allows her the time to make her own family. She falls for her new boss and his family and thinks that maybe they could be the future she’s looking for. This novel is set against the backdrop of Christmas, which should inspire a certain amount of romance. However, this romance about a nanny who falls for her boss falls completely and utterly flat. The magic of Christmas was not present or alive in the book at all and the romance was both uninspired and uninspiring.
This book bored me. It was flat, with no emotional highs or lows, and was very repetitive making the whole read sort of monotonous. The characters were boring and bland, with almost no real characterization just adding to the monotony again. I found the romance was basically non-present and mostly seemed like the hallucinations of a woman obsessed rather than an actual romance. The pacing of the book was really strange as well, which made reading the book something or a chore. Obviously, I was less than impressed.
Carrie, the female lead, in this book is a boring character to follow. She has no depth except for some rather shallow anxiety which is used to create introductions in each chapter, but is otherwise just a constant annoyance to read about because it is both repetitive and totally no anxiety inducing. I didn’t feel like Carrie was anxious so much as highly annoying, which really just speaks to the writing quality because there was basically no emotional depth present in this book. Furthermore, Carrie’s “love” for Adam, which develops very quickly, seems rather more like a stalker than a real relationship. She becomes irrationally jealous of his coworkers for no reason as she has no relationship with Adam beyond her role as his nanny.
Adam is probably the least romantic lead I’ve ever read. (Maybe I’m a little spoiled by Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You the Sun, which I read just before this and full of amazing guys.) He is very boring and kind of…not a great guy. I was confused because Carrie would go on for pages about how infuriating Adam was because he was a bad dad, but then would sum it all up with “but he’s really something, so sweet, so perfect”. There was no evidence to suggest he was sweet or perfect anywhere in the book. Adam was just boring and a bad dad. You’re supposed to love him, but there was no reason to anywhere in the book, which really made the whole book seem bad. One thing that confused and annoyed me was, why make your male lead own a brewery when you don’t seem to know anything about beer? Any and all descriptions of beer in the book were poorly written and obviously hadn’t been researched which bothered me so much. Write about things you know about, or at least do some research.
As I’ve said the romance, which is meant to be the central thing here, is really lacking. With two bad leads there’s already a lot working against it. Add to this the complete lack of emotion in the book and it really just falls flat. There’s no romance in this book to me There are moments where there could have been romance, maybe there was supposed to be some, but it just fizzles and falls away. Part of this is due to the weird pacing issues in this book. The book is so slow, constantly dragging out these weird moments in the book and filling in the spaces with rambling bouts of repetitive anxiety about nothing, but then the romantic bits (sleigh rides, the first kiss) are just sped past and fizzle away. These acing problems make the few moments of light in the book just fall apart completely and mean that the romance just never really surfaces. The whole relationship between them remains totally distant until the last 30 or so pages and then suddenly BAM they’re so in love but there’s no build up at all.
Something of a personal complaint is that this book continuously stresses how important the kids are to Carrie but they really have no presence. They’re shoved aside at every moment in favour of the weird non-existent romance or those rambling anxiety parts. The kids don’t eat meals with the family, all scenes with them are really short or they’re in the background while Carrie goes over her anxieties for the millionth time. The fact that the kids are stressed as being important but really aren’t bothered me to no end because it just added to the fact that Carrie is basically just weirdly obsessed with Adam for no reason, and that Adam is just a bad dad.
The plot itself is pretty standard stuff, and is the kind of stuff that makes a good romance novel. Nanny falls in love with boss and his kids during Christmas. It’s got all the right pieces to make a good romance, but the pieces are all bad and make the whole things just fall flat. The whole thing to me was just flat and boring. There was no momentum, no climax, nothing to keep me interested. The characterization was poorly done which made the romance bad too. I do not recommend this book at all.