REVIEW: ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas by Olivia Miles
‘Twas the Week Before Christmas by Olivia Miles has plenty of holiday festivities inside its pages, setting the mood for Christmas with cozy traditions. I finished reading ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas during that exact week this year, urging me to stop procrastinating with my own decorating.
Why was this book in Dorine’s TBR? I collect holiday stories with the full intention of reading them in December and January every year, which never happens. I have good intentions, and dream of filling my days with holiday stories, but somehow, I become too busy with life to follow through. This book landed in my pile in 2013 because it featured an inn as the setting during the holidays. I love B&B stories for their romantic ambience and homespun traditions.
Holly Tate owns the White Barn Inn, inherited from her family. She looks forward to spending the holidays with her guests every year. She’s especially excited this year as she will be the official owner of the land her family has leased for 99 years. Max Hamilton is one of Holly’s guests during the week before Christmas. Will he be a gift or a bad omen for the New Year?
When I first started reading, this book seemed familiar, but I think it’s just a common theme from all the holiday movies I watch. Initially, I was curious about Holly – what got her to this point in her life? The reader is told more later, but initially it’s unknown. Her ability to run an inn successfully at such a young age was appealing. I really enjoyed the details about the inn and the guests. Unfortunately, the weather scares most of them away except for Max. That’s convenient for this couple to get to know each other better without outside influences, but I missed the guests’ interaction with them.
This was an enjoyable book after I got through the halfway point. Up until then, I felt Holly blushed too much with a constantly grinning Max looking on, so it felt repetitive. This might not have been so obvious, but the POV was off with Holly thinking about her red cheeks when she couldn’t see them. Those little POV hops always bump me out of the story. Fortunately, that minor detail calmed down further into the book.
I did not like Max at all through most of the novel because he was keeping a very important secret from Holly. I had hoped he’d grovel a lot when his truth is revealed, which was done in a satisfactory manner, but I think that part of the story was rushed. That made it feel like Holly overlooked Max being an idiot a little too easily. He needed to grovel a lot longer in my opinion for being a jerk.
In the end, I liked how the story resolved. I still feel that the inn details were the best part of the story, as well as one of the quirky guests. I would have liked more of that instead of Holly and Max fighting their attraction alone. Holly’s career choices and friendships kept the story moving forward, while I wondered when and how Max’s secret would be discovered.
I think those that appreciate small town settings with a beautiful, homey inn as the setting will appreciate ‘Twas the Week Before Christmas the most. By a new-to-me author, I enjoyed it enough to look for more by Olivia Miles.
Thanks so much to Wendy the Super Librarian for hosting TBR Challenge 2017. I had such a great time visiting with the other bloggers and chatting books with them this year. Even though I didn’t get my reviews posted for all the TBR Challenge months, I read 11-12 books that had been languishing in my TBR. I fully intend on posting reviews for the ones I’m behind on, so come back to The Zest Quest, or sign up for my mailing list, to check up on me!
Review by Dorine, courtesy of The Zest Quest. Print copy purchased.
‘Twas the Week Before Christmas by Olivia Miles
Category: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Harlequin 2013
Rated 3.5 out of 5