I’ve always got my eyes peeled for Aussie Christmas book and Sandy Barker’s 2020 release – The Christmas Swap – is a firm favourite festive read of mine, so of course I was absolutely delighted to that a sequel was coming out this year! The Christmas Trip revisits the same couples we fell in love with in The Christmas Swap, one year on from the events of that book.
What is Sandy Barker’s The Christmas Trip about?
It’s a year on and our three May Ladies are all loved up but still living worlds apart.
Chloe has had a whirlwind year amongst the glitz, glamour (and demanding work) of Hollywood. She’s taken on the role of Assistant Producer on the film, ‘An Extraordinary Woman: The Eloise Capel Story’, Archer’s passion project and as Archer’s girlfriend, she’s now schmoozing with A-listers.
Jules is immersed in her Melbourne life, working for a non-profit and sharing an increasingly crowded flat on the waterfront with flatmate, Ash ― and their frequent visitors: Ash’s boyfriend, Davo, and Jules’ love, Matt, and his dog, Dexter. She’s considering moving out on her own, only Matt keeps hinting at Jules moving to his vineyard down south.
Lucy, meanwhile, is stuck in long-distance-relationship hell. While her career is flying high ― a promotion and frequent trips to the US for work ― her relationship with Will has stalled. She doesn’t want to be a part-time girlfriend, finding their time apart agonising, but Will seems perfectly content.
When Archer’s planned Parisian proposal at Christmastime is derailed by an ash cloud over Europe, he hatches a plan to bring all six of them together for a Christmas ― and a marriage proposal ― to remember. In Hawaii!
My review of The Christmas Trip by Sandy Barker
I really adored The Christmas Swap and Barker has given us the gift of another gorgeous Christmas story to love this year in The Christmas Trip.
It was so fun to check in on the May ladies and their significant others. It felt a bit like when you catch up with friends you haven’t seen for a while and everything slots right in like no time has gone by. When it comes to romance stories sequels can be tricky – the meet cute is done and “will they get it together” tension is lost, and I think sometimes the spark is lost. In this case though Barker has done a lovely job of portraying couples who are a year into their relationship, still somewhat starry eyed but also with some experience together behind them, and has given us an engaging read with some decent stakes and challenges without getting too scary (it’s a Christmassy romance after all!). As well as the three couples from the first book there are some great new characters introduced, who I felt added to the fullness of the story.
I feel like the Christmassy-ness of this one came from the hearts and actions of the characters more than the setting, but that Hawaii made a perfect setting for a fun Christmas get away. I could practically feel the sun and sand, and loved the way that the characters pulled together to make a special Christmas for each other. The descriptions of the food were also fabulous and helped me feel like I was right there at the table (gosh I mish make a pavlova or two this year!)
Honestly, if you’re after a Christmas romance read with an Aussie twist I can’t think of a better pair of books to check out!
Big congrats to Sandy Barker on this release (and here’s hoping for more festive fun from these friends – I don’t think we could ever have too many Aussie Christmas books when they’re this lovely!)
The Christmas Trip by Sandy Barker
Out now from Harper Collins UK One More Chapter.
Source: Review e-copy provided to me by One More Chapter (thank you!) via Netgalley. All views are my own.
Category: Contemporary cosy Christmas romance.