Author: Tracy Andreen
When Finley Brown returned to her hometown of Christmas, Oklahoma, from boarding school, she expected to find it just as she left it. Christmas hasn’t changed much in her sixteen years. But instead she returns to find that her best friend is dating her ex-boyfriend, her parents have separated, and her archnemesis got a job working at her grandmother’s inn. And she certainly didn’t expect to find the boy she may or may not have tricked into believing that Christmas was an idyllic holiday paradise on her grandmother’s doorstep. It’s up to Finley to make sure he gets the Christmas he was promised. This is Finley’s Christmas. It’s about home and family and friends and finding her place, and along the way she also finds the best Christmas present of all: love.
I was excited to pick up this book, since it was a Christmas contemporary set in Oklahoma. I have family from Oklahoma, and my mom grew up an Okie. However, the book left a bad taste in my mouth, because the author portrayed Oklahomans in a very stereotypical way. Tracy Andreen grew up in Oklahoma, so this could stem from her experience there. Or, the stereotyping was simply supposed to be a joke.
In the book, Finley, returns home for the holidays after spending the semester at an elite boarding school. She spends the holiday season coming to terms with the things that occurred while she was away at school, all while working at her grandmother’s inn. Things get mess when her snobby British schoolmate shows up at the inn with his aunt for the perfect Christmas holiday.
In the book, we meet characters that sound and act like dumb hicks that never left their small Oklahoma town. It seemed like most the girls end up getting pregnant in high school, or at least that how it was with Finley’s family. And, sure Oklahoma is known to be a religious state, but I wouldn’t classify everyone as judgemental.
Moving on, Finley wasn’t enjoyable to read about and, in the audiobook, she had an overly southern accent. Not all Oklahomans have an accent, but apparently in this book they do. Also, the love story didn’t work for me one bit. I didn’t get an ounce of chemistry from them. It felt forced, and I wasn’t buying the enemies-to-lovers story the author was selling.
“Three percent Neanderthal wasn’t it?”
Rather than hate-to-love it was an unexpected romance story. The two didn’t even know each other well enough to hate one another. Perhaps if this was a dual perspective story where we heard from Finley and her love interest, Arthur, I wouldn’t have had such a negative opinion on the romance.
Furthermore, the plot was predictable from the get go, but not in a cute Hallmark movie way. More like a Disney Channel movie that is trying to be relatable and cute. About halfway through the book, I knew exactly how everything was going to turn out. I don’t always mind this, but it is more annoying when the story already isn’t captivating me.
Besides the holiday romance and family drama, the book’s message is that life is tough. Things are hard, but you shouldn’t give up. If you fall down, get back up and try again. Although, I think this is a good message, the book didn’t deliver it well. True, one shouldn’t give up because something is hard. But giving up shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing.
Sometimes we do things that might not turn out the way we hoped. They might be too hard, or just give us stress. It is always okay to say ‘I can’t do this.’ Not every choice you make will be right, but it is better to do what is best for you, than to do something because you feel obligated to. Honestly, life isn’t that black and white, and you should make the best decision you can for yourself.
As you can tell, I had such a great time reading this book. Okay, bad joke. This book was a big letdown, and wished I had DNFed it. Still, if you liked this book, then I am happy for you. I think that I probably rambled way too much in this review, so, sorry (not sorry). Anyhow, give me a like, a share, and a follow.
Until The Next Chapter,