Charlie asks a question: Is it out of line, so to speak, to post reviews of books set during a holiday on another day? (I read this last week, hence the review now.)
To have and to hold, in convenience.
First Published: 30th November 2013
Date Reviewed: 24th May 2014
Jessica is going to propose to her childhood friend, Daniel. She loves him, and although he doesn’t love her that’s neither here nor there – this marriage will not be about love. Jessica wants a family but has never met the right man, and Daniel needs a wife if he’s to be selected as the next pastor of his home town’s church. Jessica’s adamant that love is not important, and Daniel says he can never love another as he loved his deceased wife. So the set-up is perfect… surely.
Married For Christmas is a short tale about the first month of marriage between two friends who both see an advantage in getting married. The characters are Christian but there are a few detailed sex scenes so, as the author points out, this isn’t a book for those looking to read a ‘fade to black’ and/or typical Christian romance.
The book begins well, and at first the characters are good – well developed, and showing much potential. Many readers have said it would’ve been nice to have read a few chapters from Daniel’s point of view and this reviewer would agree. Daniel is a solid, very good, character throughout, whereas Jessica changes somewhat, and not in a ‘regular’ way, but in that way that suggests the author really wanted to write about someone else. You have to be wary of Jessica, in this sense, and know that she will quite possibly get on your nerves.
Jessica’s thoughts about her past are consumed by the idea that men don’t like her, no one has been in love with her, and that she was never going to find anyone. However, as becomes apparent, there have been men who liked her. And, whilst it’s perfectly okay that Jessica has limited her pool of available men by discounting anyone who doesn’t share her religion, it does make the constant refrain unbelievable, even when considering insecurities and quietness. Men who liked her but were turned down because they weren’t Presbyterian nevertheless count as men who liked her. With her limits and the limited-by-design scope of her social life, the ‘no one likes me’ track doesn’t work.
The book could do with an overhaul. Missing words, poor grammar, and strange statements mar what would otherwise be fairly good writing.
What’s good is Daniel. Daniel remains a good guy throughout the book despite Jessica’s belief to the contrary. The change he undergoes is well-written and even if it’s predictable, it brings forth the sweet romantic element that was sorely needed. The sex scenes are written well and there are a fair number of them. They are detailed and verge towards erotic fiction at times, however this is somewhat influenced by the mixing of genres and they are less graphic when considered away from that context.
Married For Christmas is cute, but being upset about the marriage you planned working out as planned doesn’t invite empathy, especially when the marriage is only 4 weeks old. Similarly, the annoyance at the help offered (understandable somewhat out of the context of a close community, not understandable in it) doesn’t ring true given the amount of thought Jessica would’ve given to being a pastor’s wife. Strictly alright.
May 30, 2014, 6:45 am
Lol, I do try to save them for xmas, but then I read them around xmas too. So whenever is fine really :)
May 30, 2014, 9:10 am
It sounds as though Jessica didn’t feel she was worthy of being loved, so she rejected men before they had a chance to reject her. It’s a common thing. She needs to speak to a counsellor. :)
May 30, 2014, 1:16 pm
A definite seasonal read but only because its perfect for the Christmas Book Challenge I do every year.
May 31, 2014, 8:46 pm
I almost never read a Christmas-themed book except around Christmas, but this one seems more like a standard romance with the Christmas theme thrown in, so I don’t think it’s out of line at all!
June 2, 2014, 6:01 pm
I am not much of a seasonal reader and so I say it doesn’t matter. :-) I think Christmas reading is good any time of year.
June 4, 2014, 9:44 pm
Sounds like an okay read — and I’m much more forgiving of “meh” Christmas stories than I am normal ones! I’m totally cool with seeing reviews of holiday-themed books at any time of year . . . if they sound great, I usually bookmark them so I have time to check ’em out way in advance of the actual holiday! :)