The Christmas Swap by Sandy Barker
I received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Chloe, Jules and Lucy are lifelong friends who are scattered across the globe (Australia, the US and the UK respectively) and have often travelled together. But they've always spent Christmas with their own families. This time, however, they've decided to swap locations for a change of scenery. Love can be found in many places, but this year it will be with a best friend's brother, a movie star and a hot winemaker...
As a huge fan of The Holiday, I was excited to get into this story, but perhaps my expectations were a little too high given the book's inspiration! That said, I think it would make for very pleasant reading over the holidays. These three women are interesting characters with interesting backgrounds, not cardboard cutouts.
However, the three storylines never quite meshed into a single cohesive plot for me - I think they might have worked better as separate novellas. There were some scenes I really wanted to see fleshed out more - or just see, given that they happened "off-screen". But this isn't a dealbreaker for me.
One thing I should flag is a line that appears in Jules' POV - the sentence is worded in such a way that it suggests that ace men are "boring". Being so near to the end of the book, it did leave a lingering impression (and not a good one). It's such a small thing, but still...
Alyce Caswell, when she isn't buried in a book or drinking her way through a giant pot of tea, is a keen writer of science fiction and romance. She has published two novels and four novellas in her space opera family saga, The Galactic Pantheon Series.