Cover Image: Meet Me Under the Mistletoe

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe

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Member Reviews

There are a lot of characters and a lot going on in this emotional but feel-good holiday romance. Warm, sweet entertaining read.

Pub Date 27 Sep 2022
I was given a complimentary copy of this book.
All opinions expressed are my own.

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Another cute book by this author. Nory heads back home for her friend's wedding and reconnects with someone from her past. They both have to figure out if they can get over the prejudices of their past. Feel good winter story.

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Overall I enjoyed the love story in this book, but there was quite a few things that I didn’t like. It was very confusing that the author switched between Elinor and Nory in way too many sentences to count. I was so confused on how Nory was at first. It would be different if it was another character calling her that, but that’s not the context it was used in majority of the book. Elinor also didn’t sound like a 35 year old woman. The author made her sound like a high schooler. I also think the author was trying to make the book a little bit *spicy* and it didn’t work. At all.

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Jenny Bayliss is iconic and this story is no different. This story centers on Nory(Elinor) and Isaac - former school enemies - in an enemies to lovers tale stemming from a wedding reunion of school mates.

I will say this is not the spiciest- but Bayliss’ stories rarely are. It definitely was a cozy romance for the winter season. A great read.

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Nory is going back to her hometown for a wedding and the holidays. She has to deal with her posh friends from the academy she attended and her working class brother who is one of their vendors for the gathering.
She has to come face to face with another childhood friend who she had a crush and a rivalry with.
There are a lot of grown up issues happening within her friend circle. It seems when big life events are happening and alcohol is involved other issues tend to be brought up.
Nory and Isaac were spending a lot of time together and it was a bit of a slow burn due to her brother asking him to stay away. Her friends kind of made comments about him since he was the gardener.
This is set in England who has a different class and wealth structure than we do in the US so relationships and preconceived notions are all there.
Nory had a lot of outside factors constantly influencing her decisions and she wants her family and her friends to be happy with her. But they are both very different.
Guy was the reason why I put the book down cause I can't stand guys like that. But I tried again and luckily he wasn't a big character in her story. He had a lot to struggle through cause he was a douche who didn't appreciate what he had but he didn't do what he did in the beginning again.
I see people complaining about it not really being about Christmas. Most of the winter holiday books I read didn't feel like there was a lot of Christmas in them. They are set around the holidays but that holiday is just one day. You do a bunch of other things in December/January too.
Thank you duttonbooks and netgalley for the e-ARC for my honest and voluntary review.

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Such a fun holiday book! I loved reading this during the winter, and i loved seeing the different relationships between friends and lovers throughout.

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Highly enjoyed this story and would love to see these characters pop up in another book! It's a romantic and emotional story that I found endearing - I liked the "realness" of the characters who really carried this story beautifully. hank you for the ARC! Thank you NetGalley and the Publisher for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Unfortunately I had to give up on reading this book. It was too much like regular fiction and I was looking for a holiday romance. I read 25% and the pacing was just too slow for me.

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Another charming book from Jenny Bayliss! I enjoyed all the layers of friendship and history between Nory and her old schoolmates. Funny, charming, and heartwarming book. Very cozy atmosphere & the perfect thing to sink into in the month of December. My only complaint is it isn’t very Christmas-y despite the title. Most of the action is actually concerned with a wedding and there’s lot of wintry vibes.

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Thank you to the publisher for the gifted copy of this book.

I think I'm officially burned out on holiday romance books. This book took me DAYS to read, and I was so bored. It started out good with Nory, the owner of a secondhand bookshop, getting ready to spend the weekend with her boarding school friends to celebrate a wedding. Oh - and it's at a castle. Perfect right? NO. One of the friends is a complete twat, and slept with Nory and didn't tell her he was married. So he's going to be there, along with his wife, who knows nothing. And this guy, (aptly named Guy) is a total drunk prick. The rest of her friends are ok, although Jenna, the bride is a little much for me.

On top of all that, Nory reunites with her old crush, Isaac, who is conveniently the gardener of the castle property. He's still cute, and although he harbors some grudges against the boarding school kids, him and Nory have some sparks.

Following the typical romcom plot structure, there's some major drama between Nory and Isaac, but then they make up.

Cute and predictable. I might have liked it more if I read it earlier in the year - who knows....I will definitely still read her next book though!

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Meet Me Under the Mistletoe is a perfectly festive read about a perfectly imperfect group of friends based around London. Having met each other at a posh boarding school, Nory (the lone scholarship student in the group) and her friends have remained close throughout their 20s and 30s; especially after tragically losing one central member of the group. Nory has tried to balance both sides of her life-her working, middle-class family and her very affluent friends. When Jenna and Charles become engaged, Nory and crew are summoned to a week-long stay at a castle in Nory's hometown, also home to their boarding school. Memories and struggles of the past haunt everyone but this holiday wedding will bring changes for everyone-especially Nory as she explores an unexpected relationship with an old arch nemesis. Jenny Bayliss has managed to depict a holiday story with themes of love, forgiveness and new starts without being saccharine or clichéd.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest feedback.

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This book was everything I look for in a holiday read. Likable characters, fun, festive and winters vibes, and a happy ending.

Nory Noel returns to her hometown for a getaway and wedding with her old school friends and reconnects with her brother’s friend and her childhood crush, Isaac. Over the course of the week Nory and Isaac reconnect and you can guess what happens next.

The twists and turns were not at all predictable which I really appreciated. And every single character and plot line felt fully fleshed out and real.

Only two small complaints - the upstairs/downstairs and working class/upper crust stuff felt a little overdone at times but it may ring a little more true to British readers. And the book felt a teeeeeny bit too long for me. Like the same story could have been told in 50 fewer pages.

But I loved this book and it would be the first thing I recommend to any friend looking for a sweet holiday read.

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“Meet Me Under The Mistletoe” by: Jenny Baylis was a heartwarming and overall delightful holiday read. The story follows our main protagonist Nori as she ventures through a week at a beautiful castle leading up to one of her best friend’s wedding. During the lead-up to the wedding, she meets Isaac who she hasn’t seen in several years.

The characters either main or supporting were an absolute delight and they all complimented the story perfectly. Nori was my favorite character but it was hard to pick as they were all so brilliant! I loved the relationships that the characters had with each other and they all played an integral part in the overall story.

The start of the novel was a bit slow but that did not deter me at all as I loved the small details and character building. While to story follows a simple holiday romance equation it is told in such a way that makes it an absolutely delightful journey.

More times than not Guy had me absolutely in a rage and I had to step away for a moment because that man truly drove me nuts (credit to the author for writing a character who got my blood boiling).

The epilogue for this novel was absolute PERFECTION! I could not have asked for a more perfect ending for this book. It tied everything up nicely in a holiday bow and it even got me teary-eyed with the end line.

I loved this story so very much and this will become a staple on my holiday romance shelf!

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Sweet holiday read that feels like a warm hug! Nory is a bookstore owner (swoon) from a poor background that went to a preppy boarding school. This book follows Nory as she reunites with her old classmates and a former fling.

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Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

I wasn't sure what to expect on this one. I enjoyed the author's first novel, but really didn't care for her second. I am happy I gave her another chance, as this one was adorable! I really enjoyed the friendships, the family aspect, and the childhood friends turned romance.

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This was pretty good. I loved that this was set in the English countryside at a castle during Christmas. I can only imagine how beautiful the scenery and decorations would have been. I liked the premise of the story- old group of friends getting back together again, reliving and reminiscing on the “glory days.” I’m sure we can all relate to that one way or another. There was A LOT going on in this book though. It was hard to get super invested in any one character because there were so many and they each had their own subplot storylines. I liked the diversity that this book had (Black male love interest, gay couple who adopted a child, Nory described as “curvy”) although there was still some underlying body shaming going on which I don’t care for. The romance between Nory and Isaac was okay. We do love a “brothers best friend” romance but it felt very insta-love to me and I’m just meh on that. Overall it was still a cute, quick, light Christmas romance read.

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Meet Me Under The Mistletoe was more of a contemporary romance than most of your typical holiday romance reads. I thought it was a great cozy winter read taking place during the holiday season, but not necessarily a Christmas read, though the title would suggest otherwise.

The book takes place in London and the English countryside. It follows Nory, a secondhand bookstore owner, during her trip back to her old private school stomping grounds for her friend's wedding. The group of friends arrive to stay at a beautiful castle near their old school a week early to spend time together before the wedding. During Nory's stay she runs into her childhood nemesis Isaac, who also happens to be her older brother's best friend who she used to have a major crush on. Isaac is now the Castle's gardener. As the two spend more time together they both realize they have feelings for eachother. What follows is a heartwarming romance with wonderful realistic characters and a strong focus on friendship between each of the friends in the group.

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This is my second Jenny Bayliss book and I for sure will pick up any upcoming releases from her! This was a perfect cozy rom-com that wasn't just light and cheesy but had interesting characters, realistic dialogue, and a story with some great complexity!

A great read for the winter!

Thank you to NetGalley & Penguin Group PUTNAM for the advance copy in exchange for an honest review!

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2 stars.
TW: suicide, bullying, racism, classism.

"Meet Me Under the Mistletoe" by Jenny Bayliss sees Nory reuniting with her posh private high school buddies at a lavish wedding set in a castle. Nory struggles to find her place in the world, not being fully accepted by these pals because she was a scholarship kid (aka not super rich like they are), and not being fully accepted by her now-friends since she went to a preppy high school and all her school-friends are snobs. When she reunites with Isaac, the now-head gardener at the castle, sparks instantly fly between the two of them. "Trapped between honor and desire," Isaac doesn't want to get involved with Nory because he's her brother Thomas' best friend, but they just can't stay away from each other.

This story is like a modern, less interesting, more douchey version of "The Big Chill." The book is way too long and unfolds at a ploddingly slow pace. Everything feels overexplained in such a way that made me lose focus and care on multiple occasions. There are also way too many characters (who have all had sex with each other apparently)? I couldn't keep them all straight. When I was about 68% in, I still didn't know what the story wanted to say about, well, anything. Bayliss tries to make apologies for Nory's disregard for the casual and overt racism Isaac experienced when they were younger, but balances that out with...making Isaac still encounter casual and overt racism with her friends in the present?! This really irked me and made me not care about or connect with most of Nory's school friends because they were such entitled wankers. I guess...maybe that's the point? Nory does speak up in Isaac's defense, but he is still harassed verbally and mentally and nearly assaulted for being a person of color. The entire plot is about Nory trying to decide who she wants to be and how to reconcile her past prep-school self with her more humble (?), nerdy present as a bookshop owner (because, of course), but I found her to be so wishy-washy that I quite frankly didn't care what decisions she made in the end. Maybe her brother Thomas was right to be worried about her hooking up with his best friend...she doesn't seem like a capable enough adult to enter into a romance with someone as sweet and good as Isaac. Ameerah was the far more interesting character. The third-act conflict is also sort of silly and unnecessary.

If it weren't for the mistletoe in the lost garden, I would have forgotten this was a Christmas book. Skip this one. Jenny Bayliss has other, better books. I initially was going to DNF this book, but I came back to it because I needed something to read before Christmas. I wish I had gone with my gut.

Thank you to NetGalley, Jenny Bayliss, and PENGUIN GROUP Putnam, G.P. Putnam's Sons for providing me with an ARC copy of this book! All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for my review.

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Nory owns a second-hand book store that specializes in more rare and collectible books. She is reuniting with friends that she went to school for a wedding and runs into her old school-girl crush, Isaac. As they spend more time together, feelings grow, but a family secret threatens to tear them apart.

Bayliss does such a great job immersing the reader into the setting - I liked the details about the castle and found the reminiscing to be fun, but after a while, some of the comments and thoughts became a little too repetitive. I wanted more scenes with Nory and Isaac as well as Nory's family. Overall a great read leading up to Christmas time and I enjoyed the characters and believed in their relationship!

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