Here's is my final review for the 2011 Chick Lit Challenge hosted by the lovely Samantha at Chick Lit Plus. I have to say that I am so glad that I participated in this challenge as I got some great recommendations and met some awesome people. Because I had such a great experience with this challenge I will be participating again in 2012! (You can still sign up by going to this page. Go, go now!)
Since it's almost Christmas, I decided to read a holiday themed novel for this month's challenge and Wrapped Up In You by Carole Matthews was my choice. Here's the synopsis, from Goodreads:
A Christmas fling, or has Janie found the real thing? Thirty-something hairdresser Janie Johnson's single status is a constant source of gossip for her friends and clients. So after too many nights in with her cat, a blind date disaster and news that her ex is getting married, Janie realises it's time to do something dramatic with her life. It's time for an adventure! Leaving winter behind, Janie takes the plunge and books an exotic trip to Africa. Her friends think she's mad and Janie thinks they may very well be right ...but then she falls head over heels for her tour guide and fully fledged Maasai Warrior Dominic. But can Janie now face spending a snowy Christmas back home without him? Packed with unforgettable characters, romance and laughter, Wrapped Up In You is your very own perfect Christmas Carole!
When I love a particular author, as I love Carole Matthews (if you haven't read any of hers do it!), I tend to pick up their newest novels without paying much attention to what it's actually about. That was the case with Wrapped Up In You. It was by Matthews and it looked Christmassy. I was in. I wanted to love it. I tried to love it. I failed. Now, I definitely didn't hate it and I'm sure others would enjoy it but it just wasn't my cup of tea. I can't quite pinpoint what failed to excite me. Part of it is that it wasn't actually very Christmassy. Take a look at the cover up there. Now, reread the synopsis. I'm not crazy for expecting the novel to focus on Christmas, right? The novel started about mid December and went to almost spring (I think) with only a brief touch on Christmas. So, that was definitely unfortunate. I was also expecting something massively disappointing to happen to Janie. Everyone is incredibly wary of her new love, Dominic, and thinks that he's just using her for money and will leave her once he's wiped her out. All but one of her friends felt that way so I started wondering if it was true. I think that says something about the lack of connection I felt with Janie. I was believing her friends instead of believing in her and her love for Dominic. I didn't find myself rooting for her as I do for other characters in other novels. I also really wanted her to fall for her sweet and dependable neighbour Mike. The ending of this novel just didn't thrill me and I'm not entirely sure why. Maybe it's because I just wish things had turned out differently.
I don't want to turn people off of Wrapped Up In You (it still had Matthews' signature humour to it which I loved) but I can't quite bring myself to recommend it to other Carole Matthews fans. I think you'll all be expecting something different and will feel like me, a little disappointed. I hate when I have such great expectations for a book and am left with a "well...that was...meh" kind of feeling. I wish I had better things to say about this one as I feel like this review is a bit of a downer. I will say that I will still read more of Carole Matthews in the future. I just might pay more attention to the synopsis. Ah well. Can't win 'em all, right?
PS This book also adds to my total of Christmas books for the Book Lovers Inc. Holiday Challenge. One more book and I move from Santa's Helper to Serial Mistletoe-er. Stay tuned!