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?
Ok, we know that Christmassy stories – whether in books or on the screen – are filled with tropes and ‘advent calendar activities’ is one of my favourites! I really thought this was a very sweet story – with a few steamy scenes too. I enjoyed the alternating perspectives – they switch between Holly and Finn. I also really enjoy quirky characters and a snowy setting, both of which this book definitely delivered on.
I think this one does a really good job with the ‘background’ characters – as well as enjoying Aunt Clara’s and her WI friends, I liked seeing the relationships of some of Holly and Finn’s friends grow.
I gave this three and a half shining Christmas stars, and a generous helping of Aunt Clara’s homemade gin!