Overall Grade: 4.5 ⭐️
“That’s how I felt – like somehow we were what each other needed, in bed and out of it.”
There is nothing better to read than the redemption of a grumpy hero at the hand of a positive, insightful heroine. Louise Bay’s The 14 Days of Christmas offers up this trope in spades as she spoons all the delights of a Christmas romance. While this is no Hallmark Christmas story, it offers up the smells and sounds of Christmas as the backdrop to Sebastian and Celia’s love affair.
What did I love the most about this story?
*There is nothing better than an ambush. Sebastian’s grandmother, Ivy, and the Snowsly Christmas committee conspiring to draw Sebastian and Celia together make for some funny moments in The 14 Days of Christmas.
*Bay’s insistence on keeping Sebastian stalwart and capable as she softens him through Celia’s influence makes for a powerful characterization. Had she made him seem incapable, then I think she would have lost me as a lover of this story.
*Celia’s journey towards letting go of the past underpins the story well. That it takes Sebastian to force her hand at this might seem troublesome, but the choice always remains with Celia with Sebastian’s simple encouragement.
*The general story is sweet. I loved the tension between Sebastian and Celia, and Bay doesn’t hurry them too quickly into a physical relationship. She allows it to marinate for a bit before they jump into the steam bath.
*Sebastian’s final understanding of his parents’ relationship and his mother’s love for him provides a nice sentimental touch to The 14 Days of Christmas. I love that Bay takes most of the story before he’s able to process the truth of that situation.
My only struggle with the book is Sebastian’s continued want to go to Barbados. Over the course of the story, Sebastian begins to accept Christmas, and he starts to relish it, especially through the eyes of Celia. It felt a bit out of character that he would hold fast to his initial quest. I know that Louise Bay requires him leaving to move him to a conversation with his mother, but I was disappointed in his inflexibility. Thankfully, Louise Bay remedies the situation brilliantly, and she crafts a meaningful and beautiful happy ending for the two, but that moment felt too manipulative for the story.
For a reader such as myself who is reticent to read a Christmas romance, Louise Bay has inserted enough grit and humor into it that it undermines the oftentimes sickly sweet sentimentality of this sub-genre. The 14 Days of Christmas is a perfect weekend read as we approach the holidays.
In love and romance,