When this one came up for review, I almost passed on it. I am not entirely sure why…..maybe because it was up for review in September and I wasn’t ready to start thinking about anything Christmas related until at least November.
Or maybe it was because it was a collaboratively written novel, or that the title wasn’t grabbing me. I don’t know, for some reason I almost passed but I am terribly glad that I didn’t pass on this one!
August 1914. England is at war. As Evie Elliott watches her brother, Will, and his best friend, Thomas Harding, depart for the front, she believes—as everyone does—that it will be over by Christmas, when the trio plan to celebrate the holiday among the romantic cafes of Paris.
But as history tells us, it all happened so differently…
Evie and Thomas experience a very different war. Frustrated by life as a privileged young lady, Evie longs to play a greater part in the conflict—but how?—and as Thomas struggles with the unimaginable realities of war he also faces personal battles back home where War Office regulations on press reporting cause trouble at his father’s newspaper business. Through their letters, Evie and Thomas share their greatest hopes and fears—and grow ever fonder from afar. Can love flourish amid the horror of the First World War, or will fate intervene?
Christmas 1968. With failing health, Thomas returns to Paris—a cherished packet of letters in hand—determined to lay to rest the ghosts of his past. But one final letter is waiting for him (summary from Goodreads).
Let me just say, I loved this novel. It’s a novel written basically in all letter form which made for a super fast read that was hard to put down. The whole time I kept thinking “just one more letter” and next thing I know I was on a different year in the war! So super fast and because of the letters I felt personally connected to the characters in a unique way.
I normally don’t read a lot of books with different authors because sometimes it just doesn’t work. There is clearly a different voice or style and for me it doesn’t always flow well. However, for this book it was a home run. I loved how different yet familiar each of the letters were. The two authors nailed the different perspectives and gave Evie and Tom very unique yet similar voices. If this book hadn’t been written in letter form, then I am not sure that it would have worked as well.
So as I said, I loved it, but that doesn’t mean that it was flawless. For me, I felt like the last two parts (last two years of the war) were rushed and not nearly the same attention to detail as the other parts/years or letters. The ending felt rushed and I am not sure that they knew how to wrap things up. I felt like so many pages and letters were dedicated to developing the romantic tension between Evie and Tom and then toward the end it just happened too fast. There was only really two letters between the two that really committed their love to one another and that was too few for me.
Also I felt like it too Evie way too long to enter the War herself and when she did her time there was too fast and there wasn’t enough insight through her letters to convince me that she was ever really changed or had really seen anything at all. All this ground work had been laid for her to go to the front and when it happened we only had a few letters that were short and rushed. So I felt like I needed more on that. It almost seemed like an after thought.
All criticism aside though, this was a fantastic story. I loved the research and knowledge that went into the time period and history of the war. It was fascinating to read and clearly the authors did a ton of research on WWI to give it a realistic ring and it was well wroth it!
This novel isn’t really about ‘Christmas’ so the title is a little misleading but if you are looking for a war time romance with characters that you will no doubt fall in love with, check out this intimate novel full of letters!
Be sure to check out other stops on the tour for author interviews, reviews, and giveaways!
- Review copy provided by: Publisher/Author in exchange for an honest review
This book counts toward: NA
- Hosted by: NA
- Books for Challenge Completed: NA
Recommendation: 4.5 out of 5
Genre: Historical fiction, war romance, WWI, romance
Tuesday, September 26
Review at The Lit Bitch
Thursday, September 28
Review at So Many Books, So Little Time
Monday, October 2
Review at Let Them Read Books
Tuesday, October 3
Spotlight at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, October 4
Review at A Literary Vacation
Friday, October 6
Review at Library Educated
Tuesday, October 10
Interview at A Bookish Affair
Thursday, October 12
Review at Creating Herstory
Friday, October 13
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Monday, October 16
Review at Curling up by the Fire
Tuesday, October 17
Review at Faery Tales Are Real
Thursday, October 19
Review at A Holland Reads
Friday, October 20
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews