This month I chose to read Home for Christmas by Cally Taylor for my Taking It Off...the Shelf feature. I thought it was fitting since 'tis the season for holiday reads! I received this book after winning a contest earlier in 2013 but held onto it until the Christmas season. To say I was disappointed with this book would be an understatement. I actually toyed with the idea of not finishing it because it was just so blah. I pushed through (by doing some major skim reading) and finished it though. Sigh. Hold onto your horses because this will probably be one of the most negative reviews you've ever see on here!
Here's the synopsis:
Beth Prince has always loved fairytales and now, aged twenty-four, she feels like she's finally on the verge of her own happily ever after. She lives by the seaside, works in the Picturebox - a charming but rundown independent cinema - and has a boyfriend who's so debonair and charming she can't believe her luck!
There's just one problem - none of her boyfriends have ever told her they love her and it doesn't look like Aiden's going to say it any time soon.
Desperate to hear 'I love you' for the first time Beth takes matters into her own hands - and instantly wishes she hadn't. Just when it seems like her luck can't get any worse, bad news arrives in the devilishly handsome shape of Matt Jones. Matt is the regional director of a multiplex cinema and he's determined to get his hands on the Picturebox by Christmas.
Can Beth keep her job, her man and her home or is her romantic-comedy life about to turn into a disaster movie?
One of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to holiday books is when they're advertised as having something to do with Christmas (like this title and cover) and then they barely touch on the holiday. This book didn't have anything to do with Christmas, other than it being a deadline for Beth to get a new job or leave for Australia with her mom. If Christmas doesn't play into the story in a huge way do not put it in your title.
I found this novel to be way too predictable. I knew exactly how things would end up as soon as I started the book and the journey to the end of the story was just not exciting.
Carl, a colleague and former classmate of Beth's, was absolutely horrendous. It made me sad that Beth had to deal with his cruel and constant put downs and she never stood up for herself. This was an obvious example of adult bullying. I also found the final revelation with Carl at the end of the book to be ridiculous and out of the blue. It didn't excuse any of his awful behaviour.
Matt had a loony toons ex-girlfriend and before he realized he had feelings for Beth he considered getting back together with her. He knew she was nutty and was stalking him but he still thought about it. Argh! This made me like him even less than I already did.
Finally, Beth needed to grow a backbone. She did, a bit, by the end of the story but it wasn't enough of a change, in my opinion. I just couldn't connect with her or even get a really good handle on who she was as a person.
So. Home for Christmas was a big fat fail for me. I don't know if my thoughts are common among others who have read it or not but I just didn't like it. I wonder what Cally Taylor's other work is like but I don't know if I'll ever pick one up to find out.
I haven't picked a book for next month because I think I might take a break from this feature. I'm loving it but I'm doing two reread challenges next year and I want to see how I balance those with my other reading before picking another book for this feature.