Member Reviews

I loved Nora’s used bookstore. I loved her magic touch to place the right book with each new owner and reader.
The book liters,my quiver at her touch and then go off to good homes.
Staying at a castle with old classmates sounds ideal but I understand Nora’s reservations.
I didn’t care for most of her friends.
It’s a quick read, but some of the prose was a bit stultifying.

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Hallmark movie in the making - this right here is the stuff Hallmark movies are made of. Sweet, cute, and full of romance. I always look forward to reading Jenny Bayliss' holiday novel. While I read this book in just one day, it takes Nory a weekend of memories to find her true love. (Enemies to lovers is one of my favorite troupes).

If you're a fan of holiday romances, this is definitely a book you'll want to read.

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Thank you @netgalley @putnambooks and @jennibayliss for my copy of this eARC in exchange of my honest review.

Nory runs a secondhand bookshop in London, and loves it. But when she’s invited to her private school friend’s wedding week at the school castle, she realizes that she may be lonelier than she was even aware. That is when she runs into the castle’s head gardener, Isaac, and winds up hiding away with him for most of the week.

Isaac can’t stand being surrounded by rich prep school kids, but he’s always known Nory was different. She grew up working class like him, which is why he doesn’t understand why she likes to spend time with those types of people. Will her friends stand in the way of the romance brewing between them?

This was a pretty cute book. I will say, it was a bit drawn out for my taste. But the chemistry between the main characters was very well written, as was the friendships and tension amongst the others.

This one gets 3.5⭐️‘s from me.

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This was such a cute romantic comedy for the upcoming holiday season, and I loved the cover. The main characters also felt so real.

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Charming and delightful with really strong characters and a fascinating plot about a long neglected artist. Bayliss made me laugh out loud more than once -- and that almost never happens. #FanForEver

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This was a sweet, British slow burn holiday romance that covered a lot of difficult topics- adultery, suicide, racism, and misogyny just to name a few. ⁣

Eleanor (Nori) owns a vintage book shop and has a grumpy old cat and has struggled finding love for years. She has to attend one of her old friends weddings back in her home town, which brings on beautiful friendships, but also some deep seated pain from the loss of their friend and a guy she does not want to see again.⁣

When she runs into her brother’s friend Isaac who handles all of the greenery for the castle and grows beautiful flowers in his gardens. She forgets how much she always adored Isaac and this two become quite close over a week span while she helps her friend get ready for the wedding.⁣

This was a sweet story, that did have a lot going on, but I enjoyed it.⁣

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Unfortunately, this was a miss for me. I loved Bayliss first book, didn't read the second, and couldn't get myself to finish this one. I think it has a lot of potential, but it's incredibly slow to start. I was finding it hard to keep reading, and I picked up a few times before deciding it isn't for me.

I will say something a few things I did appreciate in this book, and that I appreciated in her other books is that she writes somewhat relatable female MCs, who are in their 30s and navigating their world as everyone around them is changing. I can tell the friend group in this story is interesting, and I'd love to see how their story unfolds (maybe I'll come back to it). I also really liked the setting, her bookstore in London, a gorgeous castle with beautiful gardens in the countryside *chefs kiss*

The few things I didn't like right off the bat is she used the term "servants' quarters" I get this takes place in the UK, but that didn't mesh well with me. There's also a bit of classism with Issac and her friends which I didn't really like.

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I read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
This book was not what I imagined. It was better. It had everything; a dynamic group of friends, different family situations, suicide of a close friend, different facets of love, and a little mystery thrown in.
It was honest but not too heavy, and the characters are wonderful. The author didn't dwell on unnecessary drama and all issues were sorted.
A simple, easy to read, closed door romance that didn't focus too much on the romance.

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Meet Me Under the Mistletoe follows Elinor Noel, also known as Nory, as she reunites with her friends for a wedding weekend with her friends from school. So when I got this book, I thought it would be a Christmas romance. Instead, it was more of a romance set at Christmas, so be aware of that. I enjoyed how most of the main characters were written, especially Nory. I liked how you saw Nory tackle some heavier issues from her past and come to terms with some issues that had been haunting her for a while. You could also see that this friend group was very committed to each other and genuinely cared. This book gets darker at some point; so check the trigger warnings before you start. My biggest issue with this book was that I struggled to get into it, and then there were moments where I felt like the story was dragging, and it was hard to keep my attention. I enjoyed the characters so much that I wanted to finish to see what happened.

Read if you like:
- Brother's Best Friend
- Holiday Weddings
- Second Chances
- Strong female friendship

Thank you to Penguin Group Putnam and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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“Meet Me Under the Mistletoe” is a British holiday romance that really has nothing to do with Christmas except that its resolution happens on Christmas. The whole of the story really takes place before the holidays during a wedding weekend. Elinor Noel, also known as Nory, is the owner of a vintage book store in London and returns back home in the country with her best friend to attend her a schoolmate’s wedding. When she attended the local private school on scholarship, Nory’s life was a balance of two worlds between being the scholarship daughter of hard-working family who own the local greenhouse and that of trying to fit in among her closest friends who were all from wealthy backgrounds. And yet, both were her “family” that she loved. Her schoolfriends haven’t really gotten together since the death of one in their group, 5 years previous. And while that was a life changing weekend for them all, it was especially so for Elinor, who left devastated and embarrassed after hooking up with Guy, an old friend who turned out to be married. Let’s be honest here, Guy was and is still a jerk 5 years later when he shows up for the wedding weekend with his wife. Elinor tries to do everything to avoid him. At the mansion, she runs in to Issac, the gardener’s son, now the Head Gardener, whom she had a mad crush on while a teenager. A bit of misunderstandings on both sides about the haves and have-nots, this is a story of friends who cherish each other as they reminisce about their school days but celebrate their futures. It is about love rekindled and second chances. While it may have taken a bit for the story to get going, I liked the characters. I loved that Elinor was a passionate bookseller who hated to let books go but saw her mission as to re-home books. She states, “The written word is the key to the secrets of this world and all the worlds that live in our minds.” Elinor is a pleaser who has the best intentions although she is somewhat impulsive. Additionally, she is a loyal friend, even when they don’t deserve it. I also loved her parents, who showed that opposites attract and they had such heart in their home. It did confuse me however that the mistletoe didn’t come into play until much later in the story which then leads to the resolution. But overall, this story wraps itself up like a package to put under the tree in its epilogue that is happy and cozy and sweet. I enjoyed it.

Many thanks to #netgalley #meetmeunderthemistletoe #putnambooks for the opportunity to read and review this book.

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Meet Me Under the Mistletoe by Jenny Bayliss started getting me in the holiday spirit. This second chance read is a feel-good British holiday romance revolving around the reunion of a group of college friends as they come together for a week of wedding festivities right around Christmas. There are a lot of adult topics in this book but didn't take away from the basis of the story and the holiday feel. Another wonderful book from an outstanding author!

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Read if you like: Brother's friend, holiday weddings, secrets, second chances

Elinor Noel AKA Nory for short is quite content running her second-hand bookshop in London. She had a working-class upbringing but attended a fancy private school with a scholarship. Her classmates had extravagant lifestyles. Her oldest friends invite their school gang to spend the days leading up to their wedding together at the school castle, Nory must prepare herself for an emotionally complicated few days.

The reunion brings back fond memories, but also requires Nory to dodge an ill-advised former fling. When she falls quite literally into the arms of Isaac, the head gardener with nothing but contempt for the ‘snobby prep school kids’, the attraction between them is undeniable. Nory spends more time with Isaac over the wedding festivities, she finds herself falling hard for the boy who used to throw mud at her and her posh friends.

This book was pretty good. The writing flowed very well. I do feel like the characters could have been developed a little better. Maybe I feel like that because many were unlikable and they didn't really become likable. There was a big cast. I didn't get a big Christmas feel from the book, in general. It felt like it was thrown in there to be put out with holiday reads. It need more cheery feel. It was funny and sweet. I enjoyed Isaac and Nory together and their characters. This was overall a cute story and I do recommend it.

Big thank you to NetGalley, the author, and Putnam Books for the gifted ebook!

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I have tried to read this book a few times but I can never get past the first few pages. The writing is over the top - almost as if this author was writing with a thesaurus next to them in fear of using a “basic” or mediocre word. It just had to much of an heir for me to read as something I’m reading for pleasure.

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Thank you for the opportunity to review this new novel.

I read The Twelve Dates of Christmas last year and really enjoyed it. I thought it was a perfect holiday romance. This new book is not that. I expected something light and cozy but this was heavy with serious subjects. I feel a bit mislead also regarding the cover. I dnf:ed it.

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If you are looking for a new Christmas read, Jenny Bayliss is an expert at creating beautiful, atmospheric stories centering human connection and love. This story follows Nory Noel, who lives in London and owns a cozy secondhand bookstore that you immediately want to visit. When her old school friends plan their wedding in the castle near their boarding school, Nory heads home and back into the fray of her school days. What she doesn’t expect is Isaac, son of the head gardener from her school days and the feelings that come rushing back being in such a familiar place.

This is a beautiful slice of life story, albeit a little long-winded. I think the story could have been cut down by 75-100 pages and this would have increased the impact of Nory’s story. I also found the writing to be slightly juvenile in places and not believable for the internal monologue of a thirty something year old. If you want to feel warm and fuzzy for the holidays, pick up any of Jenny Bayliss’s work.

TW: suicide, alcoholism, divorce

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I love Jenny Bayliss books so I was excited to get this one and while this didn’t quite live up to the others, I still did enjoy it.
Elinor (Nory) is the owner of a second hand bookstore. She hasn’t quite been successful in her love life but her bookshop is doing well. Her family gives her a hard time, in particular her brother, because she went to a private school and got a good education only to own a bookstore. Now two of her friends are getting married in the castle that they used to go to school in and as they are all back where they once were all together and it starts to bring up memories and old times, Nory finds herself drawn to one old friend more than the others-Isaac, the local Gardner, but he used to drive Nory crazy when they were in school and he is her brothers friend and her brother has told them to stay away from each other.
There are a lot of side stories to keep you with and there are several triggers and sadly it doesn’t come off as much as a Christmas book as I had hoped, but there are some Christmas moments. Overall I liked it, but didn’t love it like I expected to.

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Jenny Bayliss remains one of my favorite authors after reading this new book. The lead character is fantastic and her world is one that I loved to get lost in. Thank you Jenny for providing such a great read! I look forward to reading many more!

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Elinor "Nory" Noel is a proud owner of a second hand bookshop in London. She was no stranger to navigating more than one world at a time, having found a way to keep her working-class upbringing and the extravagant lives all her private school friends live separate.

Two of those old school friends are getting married and have invited Nory and their old gang to spend the days leading up to their wedding at their old school castle. There she bumps into Isaac, an old crush and one of her brother's closest friends. Isaac is the head gardener of the castle and has a strong dislike for 'snobby private school kids'. The attraction is undeniable. As they spend more time together, the harder she falls. Navigating between her two worlds was more emotionally complicated than Nory was expecting.

Things I loved:
💐 The old crush + older brother's close friend trope. Loved all the giddy moments.
💐 Nory and Ameerah's friendship. Always love a strong best friendship.
💐 The secondhand bookshop, Serendipitous Seconds, sounds amazing and I want to go there.
💐 Nuanced characters, including all the side characters. Yes there was *a lot* of them, but I do feel like they all served a purpose to the story. I also liked how they all intertwined.

Having said all that, I thought this book was just okay. I did enjoy a good portion of it but I felt like it was way too long; I found myself checking how many pages I had left to read. There was a lot of subplot going on and I wish we got more of Nory and Isaac instead.

CW: suicide (off page/past), adultery, classism, racism.

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ah, this was the perfect book to read as the weather is cooling off and the leaves begin to fall. the gilmore girls vibes were strong in this book! the high school reminds me of chilton, nory reminds me of rory, the debaucherous boys remind me of logan and his friends, and the classism (both sides) is present as well! this was a quaint story wherein there’s much ado about nothing, as wedding mishaps, family tensions, toxic masculinity, second chances, and class wars swirl around nory. there’s nothing completely unrealistic or heavily tropey about this storyline, which i know will be appreciated by many readers. it’s also not blatantly christmassy, so readers can enjoy it pre- and post-holiday season as well.

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Meet Me Under The Mistletoe by Jenny Bayliss

My rating: 2/5 ⭐️⭐️

I feel terrible rating books this low, but simply put, this book was just not for me. I was looking forward to reading this one for a nice little holiday read and sadly I did not get much of a Christmas vibe at all throughout this book besides maybe one part of the book.
Nory is a bookstore owner and a plant enthusiast. When her friends from school are getting married, they all meet at the private School to have a very over the top wedding celebration.

Once there, Nory recognizes the groundskeeper another person from her past that she had a crush on when she was younger.

As the book goes on, the relationship between Nory and Isaac grows and this tells the tale of the wedding events.

This book has so many characters it is hard to keep them all straight. One of the main characters Guy continues to cause unnecessary conflict.

I did enjoy the relationship between Nory and her best friend as well as the dialogue with her love interest but besides that, this book was way too long and boring. This 448 page book could have been cut in half and maybe i would be able to stick with the main plot. I just found myself skimming through pages that really didn’t offer much of anything to the overall plot.

Sadly I just wouldn’t recommend this one personally but if you’re book lover / a plant / flower enthusiast, maybe give it a read.

Thanks @netgalley and penguin group publishing for this advanced copy of the book in exchange for an honest review

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