Cover Image: Meet Me Under the Mistletoe

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe

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Member Reviews

I loved Jenny Bayliss’s Twelve Dates of Christmas! So I was so excited to read another one of her books! And while I didn’t love this quite as much, Twelve Dates is hard to match, it was still such a good story.

It centered around Nory, who has since she can remember lived in two different worlds - the working class where she was born into and the extravagant upper class with whom she attended school with. Her friends get together in a literal castle in the town where they went to school for one of their own’s wedding. There she meets Issac, who she knew from school but he went to the public school with her brother. And in just one short week emotions run high for everyone around.

I did like how dedicated the friend group was. They weren’t by any means perfect. I mean Guy was literally the worst, even when he had his little bit of redemption i was not here for it. But since they lost Tristan, they made a real effort to make sure they were always there for each other. And after everything that happened during the week, they were all so supportive of each other.

I think Issac and Nory’s story was so sweet. I wish it had been more of the main point. The main point was the struggle between her worlds, which okayed heavily into her budding relationship. But they were so sweet together and watching them slowly, but quickly since it was just a week! Fall in love was so great. But because it happened so quickly at times it felt a little forced. Especially since Issac was so against the upperclass because he and his family had been so wronged in the past. Nory was always a little too quick to defend the upperclass and her friends, as she had every right, but when they were trying to form their relationship it just felt odd at times.

I wish we could have gotten more of Ameerah’s story! I would honestly read an entire book about her. The same goes for Nory’s family. They were all such good supporting characters, I wish we could have spent more time with them!

One thing I did not like and I thought was VERY confusing was how it switched between calling the main character Nory and Elinor. I get her friends switching back and forth because that’s what a nickname is. But it happened in the narration a lot. Like it would switch sometimes in the same sentence, and often in the same paragraph. It was such an odd choice. By the end it didn’t bother me quite as much mostly because I was just used to it!

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Penguin Group Putnam for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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Thank you to NetGalley, Putname books, and Jenny Bayliss for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

This was a solid read! Although it seems to be portrayed as a holiday romance, I wouldn’t really categorize this book as one. I felt like the romance really didn’t gain traction until way later in the story and really wasn’t the main focus; it felt almost more of a story about friendship and family to me. The story covered several heavy topics, but did it in a tasteful way, and still had lighter moments that had me laughing. The dialogue flowed from cheesy to witty in an easy way, which broke up some of the heavier topics and made the book palatable without being too hard to get through. Definitely check the trigger warnings and other reviews to make sure nothing would be too hard for you to read, and don’t go into this thinking it is just a cozy Christmas romance. Although their is a love story, it definitely isn’t the main focus. Nory is a quirky and fun FMC who owns a bookshop, and I definitely enjoyed her character! Overall, it was an enjoyable read!
TW: suicide, alcoholism, death of a friend, gender roles/issues, class issues, cheating, racism.

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Meet Me Under The Mistletoe is an easy read with a lot of great character development and dimension. I had some good LOL moments with Pippa and Ameerah.

There are a lot of characters and history to follow, but it added some meat to the story... Making this much more than a "hallmarky holiday read".

** Thank you @netgalley for the opportunity to share my personal review of this advanced readers copy.

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I love Christmas books and I really wanted to save this one for the holiday season, but didn't want to miss getting this reviewed and marked. I love this author enjoyed reading this story just like her others. I'm not sure I would classify it as a holiday romance. The actual romance part seemed secondary to the relationships of the friend group, but that was fine by me as it gave the book more depth than a fluffy rom-com. This book actually covers some topics that you wouldn't expect in a book with this cover and title. For example and for TW: death of a friend, alcoholism, suicide, class issues, cheating, racial prejudice. Christmas is somewhat incidental to the plot. Nonetheless, I found the experience of reading Meet Me Under the Mistletoe to be merry and cozy. Recommended for fans of Jenny Bayliss’ prior holiday novels as well as for fans of Jenny Colgan.

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I didn’t get Christmas vibes off of this book. Instead, I got Womens fiction vibes. It wasn’t a romance that happened during Christmas time. Instead, it was a diatribe about friends and family leaning on each other during holidays.

This book was difficult to get into. Lots of back story. Lots of inner monologue. Not a lot of action. The plus is that the FMC owned a book store. She also decorated it according to holidays.

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A Holiday Romance with Surprising Depth

[TW: There are mentions of suicide in this book.]

This book surprised me in a good way. I was expecting a lighthearted holiday read, but it struck the right balance of fun and emotionally stirring.

To start, the story delivers on the charm promised by the adorable title and cover: The FMC owns a secondhand bookstore in London! Childhood friends spend time reconnecting inside a gorgeous castle before a lavish wedding! The MMC lives in a cottage on the grounds of the aforementioned castle! Plus, Nory's (FMC) love for used books is perfectly articulated and so easy to relate to if you're a reader.

And this book is funny. I found myself laughing out loud at the scenarios (like when one character falls into a wheelbarrow of cow dung) AND the dialogue. Even when it was bordering on cheesy, it was still funny. It toed the line very well.

But what this book did exceptionally well is capture the joy of the holidays (and of reconnecting with old friends and family) but also the complexity of long-term friendships and of familial relations.

It tackled really heavy topics like elitism, gender roles, and suicide with grace, dignity, and a dose of reality. I wasn't expecting that from this book, but I'm glad it went there. It felt like a story about real people with real problems unfolding in a magical place.

There's something really special about a book that can deliver it all: holiday cheer, a love story, and the grit of true life... in between the over-the-top and cheesy bits. And I think this book is it. Kudos to Jenny Bayliss!

However, I am rating it 4/5 because it did need more spice (in my opinion).

I'm v grateful to NetGalley and Penguin Group for an advance reading copy of this book. It will be available for purchase on September 27th.

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This book in 3 words: Jolly. Realistic. Pondering. 

Nory is headed home for a weeklong castle vacation ending with a wedding for her close friends. Currently living in London, running her secondhand bookstore, being back with her friend group is both a bit daunting and exciting. 

I wanted to like this book more than I did. The pacing is so slow... I almost DNF'd halfway through. I did finish it and found that it picks up about 60% through and I did enjoy getting to the end. 

With most holiday romances, you get this cozy feeling while reading. Unfortunately, I never got this nostalgic-want-for-winter while reading Meet Me Under The Mistletoe. I was reaching for it, and it was close, but the book never delivered. I had a hard time getting past this, because that's a key draw to a holiday romance. 

Some of the story was really sweet. I think Nory and Isaac had some swoon-worthy moments but the details around their relationship were murky and messy with a slow plot.

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I was unable to finish this book and thus will not be posting a full review. I found the story unnecessarily predictable, melancholy and fussy at the same time. I did not like the characters or the narrative. Thank you for the opportunity.

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I loved this book. It took me a while to get into this book but once i did I could not stop. It's such a cute story about friendships, class, and the ability to overcome misconceptions. My only issue that I had with the book was the amount of names, since it was a large cast of characters and then several of the characters had nicknames it was hard to keep track of everyone.

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I received an eARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I was hesitant about this books because of some of the mixed reviews but I really ended up enjoying it!!

It’s been 95-100 degrees where I live and reading this Christmastime book got me so excited for the holidays!

I loved that Elinor owns a secondhand book store, has a cat and not the most perfect relationship with her family and She was very much relatable to me.

She meets up with her old boarding school friends because of a wedding. She also finds that the main gardeners son, Isaac, is back there too. He was her childhood arch nemesis but perhaps there could be more between them now that they are adults?

This story has depth, it is cute and happy but also discusses serious matters like death of a friend and alcoholism.

If you’re looking for a cute holiday read, this is a yes from me!

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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me the eARC in exchange for an honest review.

When I started this book, I was swept away by the lovely setting and Christmas vibes. Then I got so unbelievably bored.

Elinor is a woman in her 30s who comes from a working class family but ended up going to a private boarding school in her hometown where she met her friend group. They all went a bit their separate ways before one of them died. Elinor (Nory) ended up sleeping with one of her friends who she, afterwards, found out was married with children. She and her friend group are reunited once more for the marriage of two of them, Charles and Jenna.

Firstly, this book tries to do waaaaay too much. It opens up so many random points just to not really finish any of them. The random bouts of class wars and gender wars are honestly just so ridiculous (I do believe these are important topics to discuss and understand that including different classes in this book was purposeful to explore those conversations, I feel it was done in a way that is incredibly surface level and not worth even including. They all argue about it like petulant children and then just get over it... it's dumb!). Elinor's friend group is unbelievably insufferable. Guy and Charles are absolute garbage and I spent half the book hoping Jenna wouldn't marry Charles even though I also thought Jenna was awful. I understand they are like trauma bonded by boarding school or whatever but y'all are in your mid 30s, grow up and stop making excuses for your garbage behavior. I don't care if Guy wants to redeem himself, he's been garbage for so long it means nothing to me. I also hate how Camille just left. Like I support her decision, I think she's better off without him but I liked her. I also think it's incredibly fucked up for Nory to not say anything to her. I know Guy is the one who cheated but again, he's a dumpster of a man and I think Nory owed it to Camille to be upfront with her about it. All the friends spent the entire first half of this book defending Guy's behavior by allowing Camille to go on not knowing her husband cheated on her and honestly I really cannot forgive any of them for that. <spoiler>Also HATED how in the end Pippa is dating the Lord???? SO BEYOND UNNECESSARY AND RIDICULOUS. And gross.</spoiler>

I think Ameerah had more character development than Nory and I wish the book had been about her honestly. Her relationship with Dev was the most interesting part.

The dialogue in this book was so boring. I hope I never meet anyone who speaks the way the characters in this book speak bc I don't think I will be able to stand it.

Now onto Thomas, Nory's older brother. They act like children around each other. Seriously so bad. Like they are in their mid 30s and when they are in the same room it's like five year olds. It's so cringe to read. I was disappointed when I realized this book was brother's best friend but it's such a nonissue in the book so it really didn't even matter. Like everything else in this book. Nothing ends up actually mattering.

Lastly, Isaac. Embarrassing that he is the love interest in this romance book and he is the final character I'm talking about. He just felt so flat. I mean all the characters were incredibly flat (besides Ameerah) but I think he felt the most flat because he wasn't a flat piece of garbage. I feel like there is really nothing to say about him.

Overall, I thought the setting was really magical and seemed so lovely. But besides that everyone was flat and so unlikeable. By the time I was halfway through this book I just wanted to skim the rest because it was just so wordy for seemingly no reason. Just a lot of words for a ridiculously underwritten plot and characters.

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2.5 stars

I was really excited for a cute Christmas romance, given the cover and title of the book. However, this really isn’t a Christmas romance. It’s a story about a reunion of school friends for one of their weddings. It just so happens to take place in December and she’s selling Christmas books in her used bookstore. The romance feels like it plays such a minor part of the story until the end of the story and then it lasts for a couple days, then Nory screws up, and in the very last chapter all is resolved. I, unfortunately, was not impressed by this story and wouldn’t recommend it to one of my friends.

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Overall a good story, but something about it just doesn’t leave me wanting to read more from the author, which is my main criteria for a 4 star or higher. If I could do half-stars it would get 3.5 from me. The story dragged a little in the middle, too many details and not enough action, but it did pick up toward the end.

The characters' attitudes are a bit bi-polar. They ping-pong between poor little rich kids justifying their snobbery, and woke rich kids apologizing for every perceived or imagined slight under the sun. I think the author was trying to go for soul-searching? But everyone just ends up coming across as utterly entitled, including the “normal” main character.

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Elinor (Nory) Noel is invited to stay at a castle with a close group of friends from her private school for a week in preparation for a wedding. Nory feels her stay will be made complicated by a hook up that happened 5 years with a friend she didn’t know was married and the fact that she still feels she doesn’t fit in exactly with her rich peers. Oh and there is the hot Gardner, Issac, Nory realizes she still has a crush on after all these years later.

It’s been a hot summer and I was craving a holiday read and I loved The Twelve Dates of Christmas by the same author so when I was approved an ARC for this one, I dropped everyone and picked it right up. Though this does take place around the holiday season, it was much a very background scene and I didn’t mind it. The focus was the friends and family aspect and falling in love again. Nory was a relatable character and I would love to visit her bookstore for several hours.

I wish we had more scenes with her and Isaac and that the author included a little more steamy scenes. She did a good job building up the sexual tension, but girl we want more!

There were so many aspects about this book I loved and flew right through it. Finished it in a little over 24 hours. I hope the author continues writing holiday novels because she’s quickly becoming my holiday romance author. They aren’t too cheesy, romcom-y, and don’t feel like a Hallmark movie.

Thank you to NetGalley and published for this ARC in exchange for a review!

(Will post a review on my Instagram in the upcoming weeks)

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I did not really enjoy this book. I was excited to receive an ARC because it was a holiday romance set with a group of friends, both tropes I love, not to mention the protagonist was a book lover (always something I can relate to). It was a letdown when the "Christmas" book was not Christmasy at all, rather just set at Christmas time. The characters were very one-dimensional, and the romance was unfortunately not very believable either. I didn't root for these people or feel a connection at all. I wanted to DNF several times. This book was just not for me. Thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Publishing Group for sending me an ARC of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.

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I am a sucker for a good holiday romance story, especially set anywhere in England.

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe fit the bill and did not disappoint.

You get all you'd expect from a holiday romance. People not looking for that special someone, but finding each other. Misunderstandings and mistakes with good intentions happen as well.

Overall, a great read for someone wanting a little escape.

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I Might not have been in the right headspace for this. I went in looking for a holiday romance—but was overwhelmed by the big cast, which didn’t pull me into the story like I hoped. I truly wanted more from the central romance, but I think their time together was unfocused and hard to really sink into!

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Jenny Bayliss is quickly becoming a must-read for Christmas fiction. Besides, who can resist a book with a bookstore owner and a little high-school-drama-revisited. Definitely a fun read when the weather starts to turn to the holidays.

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London Bookshop—check!
British Castle—check!
Giant Christmas Tree—check!
Magical Snow—check!
Cow manure—check! (hahaha… you will get this joke after you read the book)

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe is a cozy winter love story between Nory (Elinor) and Isaac. Nory owns a second hand bookshop in London (to quote Liz Lemon, “I want to go to there!”). She is leaving London for a bit to celebrate the winter wedding of two dear friends from school. The wedding takes place at a castle that they all frequented as teens. Isaac, the gardener at the castle, tends a winter garden (which sounds absolutely magical) & he also happens to be dreamy as heck.

A lot of the story is focused on the relationships between Nory & her boarding school friends. I found that part to be less compelling. I think the issue is that there are just too many secondary characters (15+) & it was hard to keep track of them all. I found myself skimming through the friend stuff to get to the scenes with Nory & Isaac. Their relationship is the heart of this book & there are some truly wonderful moments.

This would be a great book to read during the winter holiday season. So, put a log on the fire, whip up some hot cocoa, turn on the twinkle lights, and snuggle up under your coziest blanket with this sweet winter read.

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Thank you NetGalley for this ARC for an exchange for an honest review .

A cute read, I liked it a lot.

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