Christmas Romance reads round up 2022 Part One


Here’s a round up of some of the Christmas romance novels I’ve read this festive season.

The Village Inn of Secret Dreams

Alison Sherlock

Riverside Lane #3

Boldwood Books

330 pages


Summary: After escaping her parents’ unhappy marriage to sleepy Cranbridge a long time ago, Belle Clarke dreams of staying at The Black Swan Inn forever.

But with the rundown Inn threatened with closure, Belle may be forced to leave, unless a buyer can be found … quickly.

So, when her oldest friend Pete Kennedy returns from working abroad with a plan to save the Inn, Belle should be overjoyed. The trouble is, Pete has some rather radical ideas for the renovation which Belle disagrees with.

But when a snow storm hits, Belle and Pete are forced to put aside their differences and work together to help the village.

Can Belle realise her dreams to stay in Cranbridge and can Pete ever stop running from his past?

As they try to save The Black Swan Inn, secrets are revealed and just maybe they’ll finally find out how they really feel about each other.

The Village Inn of Secret Dreams continues the stories of the characters introduced in Sherlock’s previous two novels and this one is just as enjoyable.

This book follows Belle, who likes black and isn’t a very sociable person. I can relate. When her old crush returns to the village and decides to buy her Aunt and Uncle’s pub, they have to decide if falling in love is the best thing for them.

I liked both Belle and Pete. They both had things to overcome, Belle needed to come out of her shell more and Pete had to learn to not be insufferable and actually listen to what people want not what he thinks will sell and they both undergo their journeys over the course of the book. The supporting characters are also fun to read. There’s a really nice little friendship group going on in the village.

I often find that these community focused romance novels can veer into League of Gentleman territory where the community is very insular and unwelcoming of both outsiders and change. This books sometimes teeters on the edge of that but Sherlock manages to pull it back from going full ‘local shop for local people’ territory.

The Village Inn of Secret Dreams is another fun read with a plot that does something and goes somewhere and likeable characters you just can’t help but root for. I really enjoyed it.

Up To Snow Good

Charlie Novak

180 pages


Summary: Maximillian Arthur Felstead is up to no good.

Having taken it upon himself to plan an anniversary surprise for his brother and his fiancé during their annual December ski trip, Max realises nothing happens quickly this close to Christmas. Deciding chocolate is the answer, Max accidentally incurs the wrath of chocolatier, Luca, who’s having a pre-Christmas nightmare of his own.

Luca is short staffed and short on patience, and he isn’t enamoured with Max’s clueless demands, even if he is utterly gorgeous. So when Max reaches out to apologise, Luca can’t help but be drawn in by his charm and Max’s offer of help, especially when their chemistry is hot enough to melt the ice on Mont Blanc.

With their time together running out, can a little Christmas magic help Max and Luca find what they’ve been searching for?

This is the first M/M romance book I’ve read and for the most part it was all right.

The two main characters are Max, who is on holiday celebrating his brother’s anniversary and engagement and Luca, who owns a chocolate shop. Max doesn’t make the best first impression but they’re soon in bed with each other and falling in love. It’s rather sweet.

I liked this book on the whole. Max could be a little bit ignorant of his privilege which made him come across as arrogant on occasion but he’s all right. Luca was a lot nicer. I also liked that there wasn’t any real problem between them getting together. There was no ex to stir shit up or a misunderstanding to keep them apart until the end so it made a nice change from other books just to read two people meeting and falling for each other.

The only real problem I had was that Novak has a tendency to over explain things that don’t really need explaining in the first place. The story was only 49,000 words long so I can’t help but feel that there could have been a little more character development if there was less exposition explaining things that the reader never needed to know.

Other than that it was a very cute read. Lots of descriptions of sex, though. If you’re not into that, it might be a deal breaker. I wasn’t fussed. I’ll read most things.

Christmas in Paris

Tilly Tennant

333 pages


Summary: When Brooke arrives in Paris at Christmas, it feels like the perfect place to escape after being dumped by her long-term boyfriend. And while her head might be turned by the romance of couples strolling arm in arm along the riverbank, and the air scented with chocolat chaud, her heart remains firmly under lock and key – this trip is going to be about her.

Brooke might be able to resist the charms of one persuasive Frenchman who takes her to some of Paris’s most romantic spots, but when a chance encounter leads her to green-eyed Armand with his dark wavy hair and warm smile, she is annoyed to feel her heart skip a beat…

Still, what’s the harm of a holiday romance with no strings attached? Brooke is sure she can play it cool. But when Armand opens his heart to her in a candlelit restaurant and kisses her at the top of the Eiffel Tower, she throws caution to the wind. Armand isn’t her ex – and doesn’t she deserve a second chance at love?

But when Armand begins to blow hot and cold, she wonders if she has been taken for a fool. Why does he never answer his phone? Who is the mysterious tall blonde French woman who always seems to be watching Brooke? And when Armand leaves Paris without warning as Christmas Eve approaches, should Brooke try and find out more about the stranger she has found herself falling for?

This was one of those romance novels that I didn’t get along with because I wasn’t overly fond of the main character or her love interest. Despite it being set in one of my favourite cities in the world, this book was very disappointing.

Brooke is a quirkly girl. You can tell because she wears vintage clothing and drives a Hillman Imp. My dad’s first car was a Hillman Imp. He said it was shit and he regretted ever buying it which really says something about those cars. It also tells you enough of what you need to know about Brooke. I found her rather vapid. I found the love interest, Armand, to have zero personality and he didn’t appear for quite a lot of book so you never really got to know him. I was actually more interested in the largely off screen relationship between Felicity and Manon.

My real problem, however, is that the novel utilises the psycho-ex girlfriend trope not just once, but twice. I am getting rather sick of this misogyny in romance novels where the amazing male (or female in this case as well) love interest is held back from a relationship with the perfect heroine because his ex just can’t let go. It’s tired, it’s worn out and I wish female romance writers would think up something else.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s