by Karen Schaler
Publisher: William Morrow
With all the glittering decorations, twinkling lights, snow angels, gingerbread men and mistletoe, Christmas is Emmie’s first love.
This year, she can’t wait to share her favorite Christmas traditions with her boyfriend, Grant. She thinks he’s “the one.” So when Grant’s hectic work schedule has him more “Bah Humbug” than “Ho, Ho, Ho,” Emmie creates a holiday-themed scavenger hunt to help him find his Christmas spirit. At the end of the journey, Grant will arrive at the charming town of Christmas Point where she’s planned a romantic weekend filled with holiday activities.
But Emmie’s plan backfires when a mix-up has the wrong guy following her clues! Sam, a best-selling mystery writer, thinks Emmie’s clever Christmas riddles are from his agent, who is trying to help him get over his epic writer’s block.
When he arrives at Christmas Point and finds the stunned Emmie, he immediately feels she’s someone special, but she can’t see beyond the fact that the wrong guy has shown up. Inspired by the small, charming town, Sam decides to stay and convinces Emmie to join him in a little holiday fun while she waits for Grant.
When Grant finally shows up, Emmie is disappointed to discover he’s not enjoying the activities she planned and can’t help but wonder if he’s really the one for her. She also can’t get Sam out of her mind and all the great times they had together. With Christmas coming fast, Emmie will need the magic of the season to help steer her in the direction of true love…
I’m no Scrooge--I love Christmas. And I certainly love Hallmark Christmas movies like they’re those tasty pretzel turtles you make at the holidays and eat until you’re sick. This story definitely makes an excellent Hallmark movie, but I’m not entirely sure it carries over into book format as well as it does for weekend-guilty-pleasure-TV.
I could handle the Christmas glitter, bows, ribbons, fake snow and tinsel that seemed to explode over every page of the story. Christmas was literally its own character in the novel and that was fine, but the heroine, Emmie, stretched the very edges of my patience and good humor with her willful ignorance of her boyfriend Grant, her overreactions and unfair accusations at Sam (leg three of the triangle), and well, perhaps a little nauseated by her Everything Christmas attitude.
Emmie was a lovely, giving person; and I understand throwing yourself into the holidays and bedazzling everything in red and green rhinestones. I just rather felt someone of her caliber would have dumped Grant six months ago because they weren’t a fit--and not drawn it out so painfully by dragging him to a “Christmas themed” vacation that a six-day corpse would have seen was going to be disastrous. And for such a lovely person, she was rather crappy to Sam, who is as much a Christmas-addict as she is, and no matter what snarky ‘keep away from me’ attitude she throws at him, he rolls with it like he totally gets it.
This may sound like I’m giving away the whole thing--but really this is in the back blurb. Emmie plans this magnificent Christmas romantic getaway, and her boyfriend keeps putting it off due to work, which is more important than her or Christmas. Meanwhile she’s at this romantic getaway alone, but there’s Sam, who’s there by mistake (that part of the plot is actually really cute)--and Emmie is just frustrated. All she wants to do is make this a PERFECT Christmas with her boyfriend, and Sam just happens to be willing to fulfill all her Christmas making-memories fantasies.
By the time Emmie did her black moment, going off on Sam and giving him the cold shoulder, I nearly threw the book at the wall. What did Sam do? He thought it over and decided she had every right to be mad. Then I threw the book at the wall. That said, it was a quick read and I would say the characters are memorable (though I still maintain Emmie is as dim as a box of broken light bulbs.) I loved the town of Christmas Point, the characters that populated the town, and the Christmasy things Emmie and Sam did while they were waiting for Emmie’s boyfriend to finally show up. It made me want to plan a trip to a town like that and shop and eat cookies to my heart’s content. There’s an adorable dog that tries to steal all the scenes; and a very brief, cute secondary romance for a character I wanted to be.
Obviously this is my opinion of the heroine--and the fact I have such a reaction to her does prove that her character is rather vivid on the page and proof of the writer’s voice and style. I imagine those who love both Hallmark movies and Christmas may not be as Scrooge-like about Emmie as I clearly am, so do let me know what you think if you read this book. I do imagine this book will be popular this holiday season...Christmas books and love stories always are.
PJ, here. Do you enjoy Hallmark movies? I admit, my DVR is loaded with them every holiday season. Tell me about your favorites of seasons past. Or which Hallmark movie you're most anticipating for the season ahead.
One person who comments before 11:00 PM, October 10, will receive a print copy of FINDING CHRISTMAS. (U.S. addresses only) (Must be 18 or older)