Howdy, howdy! How’s everyone doing today? Not much going on here. We got our Covid boosters on Thursday. Had some aches and pain the next day, but nothing some aspirin didn’t take care of. So, we’re good to sit in the house and avoid people for another six months! Anyway, it’s the last Wednesday of the month, which means it’s book review time. This month, I decided to step completely outside of my comfort zone and into potential Hallmark Christmas movie territory. I wanted something happy and annoyingly cutesy, so I requested The Christmas Dress by Courtney Cole. It was released yesterday (October 26th) from William Morrow Paperbacks (an imprint of HarperCollins). As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it!
The Christmas Dress follows Meg Julliard who returns to her Chicago home after her father’s death. She leaves behind a bad ex as well as a budding fashion career in NYC to take care of a 1920s era apartment building filled with elderly residents and so many things that need to be fixed. With very little money and no idea what she’s doing, Meg thinks things are impossible. But with a little help from the residents, the hunky handyman, and a smidge of luck, things just might turn around.
Sounds sickeningly sweet, doesn’t it? It is. It has everything you could ask for in a Hallmark holiday movie. Quirky best friends and random new friends, manly dudes to lust after and fall in love with, and so much drama that you know will work out perfectly. Plotwise, there are plenty of twists and turns, but none of them are unexpected. Awkward moment with the ex witnessed by the new beau? Right on cue. Drama from the new beau’s manipulative ex? Ditto! I can honestly say I’ve only read like three books in this particular genre in my life and they all have the same basic plot points. That’s not bad. It’s a really popular structure. It just leaves little to be said that hasn’t already been said.
The characters are all sweet and endearing, except for the two exes. As it should be. Personally, I thought Meg was over the top dramatic, especially when it comes to Logan’s ex. Who in their right mind would decide to break up with their new boyfriend without even listening to his thoughts on drama that he had no idea was coming? And she puts her decision on him because she repeatedly says that he’s such a good guy that he’ll end up doing the “right thing” despite the fact that he’s flat out said he’s not going back to the ex for any reason. Meg’s whole value system is stuck in the 1920s along with the apartment building. It’s creepy. And she flat out refuses to listen to people who actually have experience with the manipulating so and so, which causes more drama. She only chills when her bestie does some light cyber stalking and says the bitch is crazy. That is so weird to me. Luckily, everyone else in this book is relatively sane.
As far as the writing goes, it flowed nicely and made for a quick read. There were some things that made me raise an eyebrow, but I have a feeling they’re pretty standard for the genre. Like, every time Logan shows up, Meg’s ovaries tingle. I don’t know what that means. I understand it’s code for him making her horny, but my ovaries have never been the bits that tingle. It’s an hilarious phrase to run across, though.
Ultimately, The Christmas Dress was exactly what I wanted it to be. Nothing more, nothing less. It was fun and corny and predictable. I won’t be looking for another one like it for a while.
Overall, I gave it 4 out of five stars. Like I said, it was exactly what I wanted, but it didn’t offer anything new either. If Hallmark holiday movies are your thing, it’s definitely worth a read.