Monday, October 19, 2020

Book Review: The Christmas Swap

By Sara Steven

Chloe, Jules, and Lucy meet at a Maui resort kids' club, aged 11, forging a lifelong friendship spanning two decades and three continents.

Twenty-two years later, they decide to swap Christmases, none of them expecting the hilarity and romantic escapades that will ensue.

Chloe from Melbourne spends her Christmas with Lucy's mum and dad in a sleepy village in Oxfordshire, England, stunned to the core when she discovers who grew up across the road from Lucy.

Lucy, who has jetted off to snowy Colorado for her dream-come-true white Christmas, is taken into the fold of Jules's loud and brash family, discovering more about herself in a few short days than she has in years.

And Jules leaves the cold climes of Colorado to spend a balmy 'Orphan's Christmas' with Chloe's friends in Melbourne, finding that time away from her mundane life is just what she needed.
(Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

I’ve yet to see the movie The Holiday, but I’ve heard it’s about two friends who make a decision to swap homes in order to gain a much-needed change in scenery. The Christmas Swap felt very reminiscent of that, and there’s even mention of The Holiday within the pages of this story, but with three friends in tow there’s an opportunity for three times the fun, and three times the trouble! 

I loved the friendship dynamic between Chloe, Jules, and Lucy. I’ve had my own friendships that have spanned decades, and knowing how tight knit we are, practically family, it makes the decision to swap homes and celebrate the holidays elsewhere all the more believable. As with other novels by Sandy Barker, place becomes another character, so much so that I could feel the intense cold in Colorado, the incessant rain in England, and the sunny beaches of Australia. There is so much contrast for the girls because they’re going from an environment they are used to and completely shifting gears into another climate, even. It was an eye-opening experience, not only for the characters but for the reader, too. It was also fun to step in and see what sort of situations they might potentially get themselves into, particularly where the affairs of the heart are concerned. 

And speaking of, the three ladies all find themselves in potential romances, but the one that drew me in the most had been Lucy. The man she is interested in presents a bit of a conflict within the group, and there’s a particular scene that really had me fired up because of the way she’d been treated over it.  There is mention how Chloe, Jules and Lucy have rarely had a fight in the entire time they’ve been friends, and even then it would ordinarily become a disagreement. So, it was interesting to see where that would lead. 

Having read other books by Barker, I knew I would be in for a holiday treat, and I wasn’t disappointed. I know the holidays are still a couple of months away, but given the kind of year most of us have had, this felt like the perfect escape, a much needed respite. A definite five-star read!

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

Purchase Links:
Amazon US * Amazon UK * Kobo * Apple * Foyles * Waterstones

Sandy Barker is a writer, traveller and hopeful romantic with a lengthy bucket list. She loves exploring new places, outdoor adventures, and eating and drinking like a local when she travels, and many of her travel adventures have found homes in her novels. She’s also an avid reader, film buff, wine lover and coffee snob.

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1 comment:

Sandy said...

Thank you so much for this lovely review and for being on the tour!