Okay, before we dive into the review of this delightfully festive, light and airy Christmasy novel, I wanted to share something I learned about the author: or, as I learned, authors. Christina Lauren is actually the pen name for longtime best buds and writing partners, Christina Hobbs and Lauren Billings. They’ve written several other books together, including The Unhoneymooners, which is on my to-read list.
In a Holidaze was one of the 5 options for Book of the Month Club’s December picks. Since I’m a sucker for a Christmas themed book around Christmastime, this pick was a no-brainer for me. The main character, Maelyn Jones, finds herself–as she does every Christmas–spending the holidays at her family friends’ Utah cabin. The snow-covered setting along with Christmas cookie baking, Christmas tree decorating, and snow creature making contests put me right into the holiday/winter wonderland mood (especially because we were expecting snow in the real world around the time I finished this book!)
And, of course, a good Christmasy novel needs a romance plot. When I first read that Maelyn (also known as Noodle, also known as Maisie–okay, I found the multiple nicknames a bit annoying) had made out with one brother (Theo) but was in love with the other (Andrew), I was like ugh, is this one of those irritating “oh woe is me, two incredibly handsome, sexy, eligible bachelors are in love with me and I can’t choose!” novels? Because, I’m sorry–but does that actually happen to normal girls in real life? Am I the only average thirty-something girl who has never had two very attractive, normal men fighting over who gets to love me?
When I ignored the above (very romance novel-like but not very realistic) theme, I enjoyed the supernatural premise of the story. Maelyn gets sucked into a Groundhog Day-like scenario, where she keeps living the same 6 days (her family’s annual Christmas vacation) over and over. She’s grappling with this crazy phenomenon and trying to figure out how to break the cycle, while her family arounds her thinks she’s losing her mind. She approaches this in a very sarcastic and humorous way, and I found it refreshing.
Normally, I find fiction/romance novels like this a bit cheesy, but Christina Lauren did a good job with making this one relatable. I easily connected to the characters: they could have been various members of my family during the holidays. Maelyn was a likeable protagonist, and her romance with Andrew is deliciously gratifying. Come on, who doesn’t love a good groping session in the closet scene?
**SPOILER ALERT!**: The last chapter, 6 months later, was a bit too much for me. Yes, they’ve known each other their whole lives. And yes, their whirlwind romance with supernatural elements may accelerate the normal dating timeline in the 21st century. And YES, it’s a freaking fictional romance novel. But I felt it was a bit over the top, this big romantic proposal with all their friends and family there. I would have been happy with the novel ending with them leaving the cabin together at Christmas, and leaving the rest up to the imagination. But I digress.
Conclusion: This book got 4 out of 5 stars for me. It was exactly what I needed after reading a mystery/thriller before this, and it lifted my holiday spirits. I finished this book in a day and a half! Want to grab your copy? Right now, it’s just $10 –yes, $10!–with your Book of the Month subscription.