When Angie’s father dies, Angie can’t deal with her grief, so she flees to work in another country. It’s been three years, and she’s just now coming back to Cape Town to spend Christmas with her mother and sisters. Still, she can’t bear going home, so she finds herself making a stop in Celadon, where unfortunately, she is mistaken for part of a wedding’s bridal party.
She flees the wedding by telling others that she’s meeting her boyfriend at a cafe. This is where she runs into Ezra, who is sitting alone and asks if he’ll cover for her.
Ezra is also running away from his family. He hasn’t come home to them because he doesn’t want to meet their disapproval. He is actually supposed to be a guest at the wedding, but finds himself simply sitting in the cafe instead.
As he pretends to be Angie’s boyfriend, one thing leads to another. Angie and Ezra find themselves in several zany situations and wondering if they’re falling in love.
I noticed . . .
Christmas in South Africa is completely different from Christmas here in Atlanta. While we seldom have a white Christmas (only snow flurries this year), it’s cold and cozy most years. For Angie and Ezra, Christmas is in the middle of Summer. There’s an outdoor wedding reception, a parade, a live (and not cold) nativity play, and even a little swimming. I had a hard time squaring the environment with Christmas because it was completely different to my reality.
I have to note here that reading #ownvoices novels is simply as easy as reading novels by more diverse voices within your own favorite genres. I found myself learning and expanding my novels by simply reading a Christmas romance. So, don’t think reading own voices has to be hard. <end lecture>
I also noticed that this was a really talky novel. Angie and Ezra were constantly talking about their feelings, and connecting on deeper and deeper emotional levels. They might even have been dithering over their own emotional problems with their respective parents. It was truly exhausting for this no-nonsense girl. I felt like I was listening to my teenagers discuss their various emotional distresses. In fact, this book was chaste enough and emotionally overwrought enough that I handed it to my teenage daughter in case she wanted to read it.
I wondered . . .
I wanted to see more of both Angie and Ezra’s families. We get a little telling but not really any showing of how they resolved things with their families. I felt a little cheated since so much of the whole book was them deciding how to handle their relationships with their families and what their families would think of their actions in the time since they’ve seen them. I got all of the dithering, but none of payoff.
It reminded me of . . .
It reminded me of movies like The Sun is Also a Star or the series 24 where the action takes place over a single twenty-four hour period. A lot can happen in a single day, and it can even be life-changing.
One excellent quote . . .
As someone I loved but had an imperfect and complicated relationship died in December, when I came across this quote, I found that it resonated with me:
It does no good to pretend the dead were saints when they were only human.
Angie’s father was much loved and worthy of love, but he was no saint, and their relationship was not perfect. I hate when people suddenly act as if a deceased person took on sainthood by virtue of dying. Angie’s father didn’t. My grandfather didn’t. Still, the love is there.
Overall, I don’t think this book was the book for me, but it is a solid romance, and I know that there are many readers who would enjoy it. I plan to give her books another chance soon because there were elements of this book I really enjoyed, and I think it just might not have been the right book for me.