Millionaire Under the Mistletoe by Tessa Radley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
While I enjoyed reading this book, it didn't really set me on fire. However, it was a pretty good Christmas-themed romance. I sort of got the feeling that I was marking time while I read it. I'm not sure why this was the case.
This book is set in England, and both the hero and heroine are British, but it didn't feel British to me. It was weird, because they talked about British things, such as the M6, London, Harrods, Boxing day, but it felt American to me. It's very weird, I guess.
What I liked about the book:
*The heroine was a trained-chef and caterer. I liked seeing her do her magic.
*Callum was a pretty nice guy, although he admitted that he initially just felt lust for Miranda. He did come around very quickly, and I respected that he broke off his relationship with the woman he was going to marry for business when he realized he was lusting after Miranda.
*Miranda had qualities I admire: hard-working, devoted to her family, resourceful, pragmatic.
*I liked that both the hero and heroine were close to their families.
*The idea of Miranda and Callum essentially being star-crossed in that Callum had Miranda's father arrested from embezzling money from him, which led to his suicide was an interesting direction. Callum initially re-connected with Miranda to make amends for his part in her father's suicide, although her father was culpable.
*I liked the scenes of Christmas celebration in both their families.
What I was not happy with:
*I don't like how their relationship started with a hookup in the kitchen. There didn't seem like there was more between them but strong sexual attraction. I would have liked to see more of a connection before they got physical. Miranda essentially thought of their encounter as a one-night stand. That's not my personal preference when it comes to romance stories.
*Miranda's brother and mother got on my nerves. They were way too dependent on Miranda. Her brother was constantly hitting her up for money, and instead of taking responsiblitiy for himself, he depended on her to bail him out when he got in trouble. Miranda's mother was running up bills she couldn't pay for, and relying on Callum's generosity. This just put more pressure on Miranda. I did like that Callum really was supportive to Miranda, and helped her to foster independence in her mother and brother.
*Miranda called Callum a liar a few times, when he insisted that her father was guilty. It offended me because I think it's wrong to call someone a liar unless you know they are truly an untruthful person. Callum never gave off that vibe. She even persisted in this after they were emotionally involved. I could understand why she didn't want to believe badly of her father, but she was in love with Callum, and he had no reason to lie about it.
Ultimately, I never got deeply involved with this story. I like to be sucked into a book and forget about everything else. This book didn't do that for me. But there was not an issue with the writing, we just didn't form a love connection. However, if a reader wants a quick, well-written Christmas romance that has some modern, sophisticated elements, I think she would like this book.
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