Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson

cold-feet-christmasCold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson, to be published on November 6 by HarperImpulse.

Author. Goodreads. Amazon. Barnes & Noble.

Source: e-ARC via Netgalley (Thank you, HarperImpulse, for providing me with a free e-copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!)

Genre: chick-lit.

Running out on your wedding shouldn’t be this much fun! A remote Scottish castle on a snowy Christmas Eve. A handsome husband-to-be. A dress to die for. It should have been the happiest day of Leah Harvey’s life – but the fairytale wedding turns sour when she finds her fiancé halfway up the bridesmaid’s skirt just hours before the ceremony! Fleeing the scene in a blizzard, Leah ends up stranded at the nearest cottage, where she collapses into the arms of its inhabitant – a man so handsome she thinks she must have died and gone to heaven! 

And when Rob Cavelli suddenly finds himself with an armful of soaking wet, freezing cold, and absolutely gorgeous bride on the run, he’s more than happy to welcome her into his snowbound cottage this Christmas… (Goodreads)

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My rating: 2/5.

This book was one of those “meh” reads that I got through because I don’t like leaving review books unfinished (despite the fact that it is sometimes inevitable). This is a ranty review with some spoilers, so watch out!

First of all, I didn’t like the two main characters, Leah and Rob. They’re stuck in (snowed in) a remote Scottish cabin, both recovering from traumatic events concerning their loved ones, but they jump each other nevertheless. Leah just got cheated on by her fiance, but she’s still finding it “hard to resist” Rob, who she thinks is married at the time.

She also says things like: “It should have broken my heart to see his scrawny little backside pumping up and down on top of Becky, but it didn’t. I actually felt nothing but relief. It was like something inside me needed to see it, to make me come to my senses. I didn’t want to marry him at all. It was more of a wake-up call than a heartbreak.” — Who says that? She then goes on to make excuses for the sad “scrawny little backside”, saying it was her fault he cheated because she didn’t love him.

Despite her big mouth and apparent confidence, Leah has a painfully low opinion of herself – she blames herself for a tragic event that happened years ago, but that doesn’t explain the rather silly decisions she makes and thinking of herself in this manner: “… you’re wearing perfume seductive enough to make whole smoked salmon on the slab sit up an whistle, and have enough cleavage on show to make a hooker blush.” Leah has no friends in London, so she uproots her life easily – but she goes from being socially dependent on her fiance to being socially and financially dependent on Rob.

Rob is dealing with the loss of his wife, and he’s not coping at all. So while he spends a couple of hot nights with Leah, he’s an emotionally stunted idiot. He invites her to go to the US with him – but only as a business partner (she’s a cook so he offers her a catering job for his huge company). Without giving too much away, I can’t really connect with a hero who thinks (during sex, that is): “He knew he was big, and knew he could hurt her, but just didn’t care.” No. Just no. He’s also fond of generalizing, patronizing thoughts like this one: “After seeing their fiance doing the dirty with someone else, most girls would be snivelling in a corner, desperate to win him back or stab him in the eye with a stiletto heel.

So, why didn’t I stop reading this lovely book? Well, the second half of the story is somewhat better than the first. So if the first deserves a 1/5 rating, the second gets up to 3/5, so 2/5 is actually an average estimate (very scientific, don’t you think?). In the second half, we get to witness a sort of an awakening on Leah’s part (and a downfall on Rob’s), but I still think they’re actually poisonous for each other and should not end up being together. And when you feel like that about a couple in a romance novel, you know the story just isn’t right for you.

I think I’d like it much better if I could connect emotionally to either Leah or Rob, so perhaps it depends on your preference of personalities. They just didn’t work for me.

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Do you like/read/buy Christmas-themed novels for the holidays? 

Are you looking forward to the holiday season?