Last Christmas Ellie Oliver met and fell in love with a mysterious woman over the course of one magical snow day. But had her heart broken the very next morning. Soon after, she loses her dream job and is stuck barely making ends meet working at a local coffee shop. She’s about to lose her apartment when the landlord of the coffee shop proposes a plan to have them marry so he can get his inheritance and he’d give her a generous percentage. She’s run out of options so she agrees and suddenly finds herself traveling to his family’s cabin to spend the holidays together. Ellie is shocked when Andrew introduces her to his sister, who is none other than the woman she spent last Christmas with. Now Ellie has to decide whether to follow through with the crazy marriage of convenience plan or to throw away the financial security she could receive for the chance at real love.
I bought a copy of this book shortly after it was released but I held off on reading until closer to the holidays since it was a holiday-themed story. I was excited to read it because The Charm Offensive, also by Alison Cochrun, was one of my favorite books this year. This story was very different from that one but I really enjoyed it. It was full of fun Christmas shenanigans but it also dealt with some pretty serious topics, such as familial expectations and coping with failure. But it was all well-balanced and made for a cute and cozy holiday romance.
Ellie and Jack’s one magical day together played out through installments of Ellie’s webcomic that she created to help process what happened and then everything else that happened was in the present day. I really enjoyed this structure, it gave us just enough of what happened the year before to get you invested in Ellie and Jack without getting too slogged down with flashbacks or weird time jumps. Ellie’s circumstances were quite desperate at the time Andrew came into the picture and proposes this marriage of convenience so I could totally see why she would go along with it. Her family was crap so it was also easy to see why she so quickly fell in love with Andrew’s family and all their crazy holiday traditions – it was everything she longed for but never got to experience. Then Jack shows up and throws a wrench into her plans. It was cute, sweet, and rather funny seeing them trying to fight their feelings (and basically failing). There was some angst thrown in the mix and even a love trapezoid (you’ll understand if you read it!). If you want a book that captures all the magic of Christmas while still also feeling quite grounded in reality, I’d give this one a shot!