The Holiday Treatment – Elle Spencer

3.5⭐️ – Holly writes the best Christmas movies but hates Christmas. Every year, instead of joining her parents to celebrate – in Christmas Cove, Vermont, of all places – she goes to Hawaii on her own for a few days. And who just happens to be on the same plane? Holly’s work crush, Meredith. Turns out Meredith thinks Holly is as hot as Holly thinks Meredith is and they proceed to give each other the best Christmas ever. Holly is well on her way to becoming a believer again when Meredith gets a promotion that moves their very hot fling into the no-future category. The two women decide to stay professional and work on making Holy’s work dream come true: a gay Christmas movie.

The story is told in third person from Holly’s point of view. At first, I kind of liked her and found her annoying at the same time. She’s an interesting character, however. She’s cynical and sarcastic but she’s also very earnest and open in the right circumstances. She’s insecure and hides behind humour. Because the story is told from Holly’s sole POV, the reader doesn’t get as much insight into Meredith’s mind. It doesn’t help that the author makes her act completely out of character at one point. What we do know is that she’s sexy, elegant, competent and self-assured except when it comes to her family.

I enjoyed the first part of the story a lot. Everything in Hawaii is fun and sexy and promising. The rest of the book feels a lot like going back to real life after vacationing in paradise. It’s not as fun, not as sexy. It’s uncertain. Then comes the breakup because of course there has to be a breakup, even though it feels totally unnecessary as the MCs already have obstacles to navigate. The good news is, it makes so little sense that it doesn’t last long. I rolled my eyes, put the book down, had some lunch, came back and bam! It was magically resolved in a few pages.

There are a few other issues too, but I still recommend this book if you’re looking for a light and cheerful Christmas story. As usual with Elle Spencer, the writing is snappy and vibrant. She made me like Holly a lot by the end and I enjoyed the secondary characters. The Holiday Treatment makes about as much sense as any Christmas movie, and maybe that’s enough.

3 stars

The Holiday Treatment @ Bold Strokes Books

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