The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayless #ChristmasRomance #BookReview #AudiobookReview

When it comes to relationships, thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner is ready to say “Bah, humbug.” The sleepy town of Blexford, England, isn’t exactly brimming with prospects, and anyway, Kate’s found fulfillment in her career as a designer, and in her delicious side job baking for her old friend Matt’s neighborhood café. But then her best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. Twenty-three days until Christmas. Twelve dates with twelve different men. The odds must finally be in her favor . . . right?

Yet with each new date more disastrous than the one before–and the whole town keeping tabs on her misadventures–Kate must remind herself that sometimes love, like mistletoe, shows up where it’s least expected. And maybe, just maybe, it’s been right under her nose all along. . .”

I was just browsing a few weeks ago when they had a sale on selected titles and was looking for Christmas-themed books when I stumbled across The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss (Amazon US) (Amazon UK) (Abebooks). I decided to take a chance based upon the reviews I read.

Do you want a light and fluffy romance where all the characters are attractive, the problems aren’t that dark, and true love lives on in the end? I’m not saying the problems Kate has aren’t big, but even the subplots don’t involve issues that are more serious than an After School Special. And that’s just the point: this a feel-good holiday book with true love at the end of the story. I don’t know about you, but around the holiday, when I even have time to read, I want something lighthearted.

As Kate progresses on these 12 dates of Christmas set up through a dating service, I do have to say that she had the right attitude going in. That these dates were supposed to be fun, get you in the holiday spirit, and maybe, just maybe, find a love match. Or at the least, a lust match for a hookup. So many times the trope in a book is that the person being thrown into dating is reluctant to do so, and that was refreshing to have Kate be a willing participant in the dating plan.

The men Kate meets are all attractive and somewhat successful, and in some cases, if the situation were different, something would have sparked with Kate and the man into something more. All the dates were creative, festive and unique, yet still maintaining that traditional English cheer. There are so many other reasons to love this book: the picturesque English village (one of these days I’ve just got to stop reading about these villages and go visit one), a community of close-knit people celebrating traditional English Christmas tidings was wonderful. There’s a real sense of comradery and support for one another with the characters that makes you more invested in them.

One last thing: make sure you’re well-fed as you read this book, because the descriptions of all the food and drink made me so hungry! Everything sounded fabulous; it reminded me much of the feasts mentioned in my beloved Nancy Drew books.

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