Author: Lisa Dickenson Series: Standalone Genre: Romance Release Date: October 22, 2015 Book Length: 384 pages Publisher: Sphere Review: 1/5
At thirty, Claudia’s life is stale and the romance with long-term boyfriend, Seth, has disappeared. Determined to inject some festive spark back into their love life, Claudia and Seth go on their first date in a very long time. But when the night ends in disaster, Claudia suddenly finds herself facing life – and Christmas – alone.
Life alone is exciting, scary and full of soon-forgotten exercise regimes and ill-advised attempts at crafting sexy underwear. It’s also filling up with dates, surprisingly. With best friends Penny and Nick at her side, a surplus of festive markets, mulled wine and Christmas tunes, Claudia attempts to face all this change with gusto. One thing’s for certain: this year, Christmas is going to be very different . . .
This is the story of Claudia and her twelve dates of Christmas. Hilarious, uplifting and romantic, it’s a story about losing love, finding love, and discovering what’s been there all along. Expect Christmas sparkle, butterflies-in-your-stomach romance and a lot of very funny moments in The Twelve Dates of Christmas.
Oh my. Where do I even begin with this? The synopsis makes it sound kind of cute, but you could probably tell by my rating that this was not the book for me. Before I get into the bits I didn’t like, I will mention a few of the things I did:
The cover: it’s really pretty, and I always get sucked into the pretty covers.
It felt festive: I wanted to read a holiday-themed book, and I thought this delivered really well in giving me that vibe.
Claudia had a Friends poster in her childhood bedroom: do I even need to explain this?
The dedication at the front: the author thanked herself in the dedication which I thought was kind of funny.
Unfortunately, that is a much shorter list of things I thought were good about it than I had hoped to give it. Mainly, the thing that I didn’t like was how dramatic and far-fetched the scenarios in this book were. Claudia has just broken it off with her boyfriend of 5 years – a man who, just hours before their disastrous date that ended things, she was so into trying to impress to give him the best night ever. The part in the synopsis about ‘life alone being so exciting’ actually makes me laugh because she didn’t have a life alone after him??? It was literally ONE DAY. I completely understand that everyone grieves the end of a relationship differently, but I find it really hard to believe that like a day or two after, she was able to go on a date with someone new so effortlessly. Basically, her reasoning for this was that she kind of wanted to ‘spite’ Seth because she had seen him with someone new the night they called it off, and I found that to be very childish. Although Seth was awful, I really wanted to root for Claudia to find better, but that became difficult when she was so petty, annoying, gullible, immature, and just plain stupid. I really don’t think that she was in the right head space to go on one date, let alone twelve, so I really didn’t feel any sort of desire to watch her find love.
It felt like the author was forcing the timeline to move so fast because she could only fit the Christmas narrative within the one month of December. This is just a personal preference, but I enjoy more of a slow burn when it comes to books with romance in them; I would rather the author build up tension for like, 200 pages with narrative that makes me question where the relationship will go, rather than it being so predictable and outwardly cheesy. Speaking of cheesiness, there were many scenes in this book that reminded me so much of those Lifetime movies with the bad acting. I just cringed through so many scenes and felt way too much second hand embarrassment to allow myself to enjoy it.
The book wasn’t completely awful; it just was not my cup of tea. If you like predictability, cheesiness, and exaggerated drama, you might like this, but it just was not for me.