Monday, September 14, 2020

Book Review: My Christmas Number One

By Sara Steven

Cara doesn’t do sexy and she only does ‘Happy Christmas’ under duress. She is, after all, a serious musician, and her stubborn streak is born from her struggle to recover from a serious injury.

Javi lives for escapist fun - in his music, and in his life - especially since he’s always failed at life’s more serious challenges, including marriage and fatherhood.

Javi and Cara are forced to record a Christmas single together, but neither of them have plans to spend any more time with each other than they absolutely have to. With Christmas traditions that couldn’t be more different, and outlooks on life that are worlds apart, the chemistry just shouldn’t work. But the magic of Christmas can bring even opposites together… (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon)

My Christmas Number One felt like a departure from the typical holiday stories I’ve come to expect with “Christmas” in the title. I expected lots of snow and mistletoe, but what I discovered were hot tropical nights and palm trees! And it worked well. This non-traditional holiday story featuring two polar opposite characters really dug in, not to mention the musical background that tied everything in and where it should be. 

As indicated in the synopsis, Cara is very much an introvert, with quiet sensibilities that show her English roots. Javi is loud and extroverted, proud of his Columbian roots. Their musical styles couldn’t be any more different from one another, but much like what we get to see as the story unfolds, the differences complement. As uptight as Cara appears to be, it’s hard to fault her for it, given what has happened in her past. It’s done a lot to shape the person she is today. And Javi appears to be the loveable Peter Pan-like man who doesn’t really want to deal with feelings or relationships. There is a lot of baggage spread out between them. Just when I thought they would make some progress as individuals and as a potential couple, then the setbacks would set in. It made the relationship an interesting one to watch.

The secondary characters really added to the chemistry, too. I loved Javi’s daughter, Bea. Maybe it’s the nod to the holidays, which, even though this isn’t a traditional holiday story, it is still there—but, Bea reminded me of Sam, the boy in Love Actually. Much like Sam, Bea loves to play the drums and her personality is very preteen acerbic. The interactions she has with her father are very telling, in terms of what their relationship is like and why it’s like that. Then there’s Cara’s father, Gordon. He frustrated me to no end. There are reasons behind it and why he feels like he must protect Cara at all cost, which gave allowances for his behavior, but while I wanted to see what would happen between Cara and Javi, I also wanted to see if Cara would ever stand up to her father. 

What I loved most about My Christmas Number One was that it was a raw, honest read. There are situations both main characters are dealing with and watching their insecurities and stumbling blocks get stripped away one by one was a beautiful experience. In the end, when you love someone, it goes beyond the surface of looks or talent or fame, or any of the other things that can fade over time. It’s about acceptance and trust and respect, and seeing someone for who they really are, a lesson all of the characters must learn within this book. With its music and dancing, adventures and more than not, misadventures combined with everything else, this was a worthy five star read!

Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Leonie Mack is a debut romantic novelist. Having lived in London for many years her home is now in Germany with her husband and three children. Leonie loves train travel, medieval towns, hiking and happy endings! 

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