My Rating: ⭐️⭐️
Title: Meet Me Under the Mistletoe
Author: Jenny Bayliss
Format: eBook (NetGalley)
Publication Date: 10/17/22
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Categories: Women’s Fiction, Holiday Romance, Contemporary, Christmas
Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.**
Thank you to Penguin Publishing Group for giving me a chance to read this eARC in exchange for an honest review!
Elinor Noel – Nory for short – is quite content running her second-hand bookshop in London. Forever torn between her working-class upbringing and her classmates’ extravagant lifestyles at the posh private school she attended on scholarship, Nory has finally figured out how to keep both at equal distance. So, when her oldest friends invite their school gang to spend the days leading up to their wedding together at the school castle, Nory must prepare herself for an emotionally complicated few days.
The reunion brings back fond memories, but also requires Nory to dodge an ill-advised former fling. When she falls quite literally into the arms of Isaac, the head gardener with nothing but contempt for the ‘snobby prep school kids’, the attraction between them is undeniable. And as Nory spends more time with Isaac over the wedding festivities, she finds herself falling hard for the boy who used to throw mud at her and her posh friends.
As Nory and Isaac explore their common ground, pressures mount on all sides and Nory must decide what kind of life she wants to live and what sort of love is worth the risk…
Content Warning: mention of suicide, cheating
I was expecting a light-hearted Christmas romance but I got something a little bit more than that. Here’s what I think about this book:
+ It starts off in a cozy bookstore, I got the holiday feels right away just from that alone but then it moves on to a castle in the English countryside where Nory’s friend is going to get married at. It’s a reunion of Nory and her boarding school friends and the castle is in her hometown. This is where she runs into Isaac and an attraction between them sparks.
+ There is a big cast of characters because we get to meet Nory’s friends from school. I thought they were a fun group and I loved how they interacted with one another. Everyone had such different personalities, they each stood out.
+ I thought the love story was very sweet. Isaac is someone from Nory’s hometown and past and it was pretty funny how they reunite again.
~ I was expecting light hearted but got a book with some heavy topics like a friend who committed suicide and even Nory’s past scandal of sleeping with one of her friends while drunk (and he’s married). There is also the subject of classism throughout the story. Nory went to a boarding school and all her friends are rich, compared to Isaac and everyone at home who isn’t rich. So there was a lot of judging going around. There was a lot of friend drama, maybe too much drama, but I was hoping for a simple, sweet Christmas love story.
~ The story starts off in a cozy bookstore that Nory owns and then moves to the castle but where is the Christmassy vibes? I felt like it had Christmas stuff near the end of the book but I was expecting it from beginning to end.
Tropes: childhood acquaintances to lovers
Spice Level: 🌶
Why you should read it:
- fun interactions between a big group of friends, humor and drama
- a cozy bookstore and a beautiful castle in the English countryside, some Christmas vibes
- sweet love story between Nory and Isaac
Why you might not want to read it:
- needs more Christmas
- too much drama between the friends and some heavy topics – reads more like women’s fiction than romance
I struggled to get through this one even though the beginning was fine. I loved the beginning because it starts off in a cozy bookstore and then at a castle and we get to meet Nory’s friends. Someway in the middle of the story, I started to lose interest. I wanted more of Isaac and Nory but I felt like a lot of the friend drama got in the way of that love story. I wish it was more Christmassy also. So it didn’t work for me because I was expecting a light-hearted story but if you like romance with a little something more, then you will enjoy this one.
One thought on “Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by. Jenny Bayliss | ARC Review”
I could see how you’d think light hearted based on the cover. Hope your next read is much better for you.
LikeLiked by 1 person