The Book Worm: Review: All She Wants for Christmas

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Review: All She Wants for Christmas

Book Review: All She Wants for Christmas, by Jaci Burton

Country singer Riley Jensen would never have returned to her small Missouri hometown if her publicist hadn't come up with the scheme to tape a Christmas special there. So she never would have known that the man who broke her heart at eighteen—causing her to flee to Nashville—was now a widower with a seven-year-old daughter. Riley has ten years of angst-filled hit songs and Grammy awards to prove she doesn't need Ethan Kent. But suddenly, she can't help thinking of all she gave up by running away...
Ethan Kent knew Riley had the talent and the drive to make it as a singer. He also knew she wasn't going anywhere if she stayed in their nowhere town for him. Then one night and one huge mistake sent her running on the road to fame. Which doesn't mean he ever stopped loving her...
But with so much separating them, can Riley and Ethan find their way back together one magical country Christmas?

Genre: contemporary romance

Publishing date: December 2010

Mature content: yes

Review: I like the general plot of All She Wants for Christmas. While not totally original and certainly very predictable, it's still a nice variation from the main mainstream romance novels, and I like to think everyone deserves a second chance. So I really wanted to like this book too. Unfortunately, this was made difficult by the fact that I didn't particularly like the any of the main characters.

The basic background to this story is that back when they were dating as teens, Riley found Ethan in bed with her best friend Amanda. Riley left town and never looked back. She went one to be a famous singer, while Ethan married Amanda. Now she's back in town for the holidays and they get to rehash it all over again.

First I thought Riley was blaming herself too much for something she was not at fault with. Yes, it's true she left town without saying goodbye, but in her shoes I probably would have done the same. 

Ethan, on the other hand, owns up to the fact that he woke up in bed with Amanda, but claims he'd had too much to drink and couldn't even remember if they'd had sex or not. How lame is that for an excuse? Still, he married her when she claimed she was pregnant, stayed married after the miscarriage (even though he's not sure there was even a baby in the first place), went on to have a daughter with Amanda a few years later and probably would still be married if Amanda had not gotten sick and died. All this time still in love with Riley. While he manned up and tried to take responsibility for his mistakes, and does deserve a second chance, I felt that everyone in the book was too quick in making excuses for his behavior. 

In addition, I also couldn't get past the fact that after all this, Ethan and Jessie would just have unprotected sex and not even once question that fact.

So while All She Wants for Christmas is a quick, well-written and heartwarming holidays read, I couldn't get past these issues and so I can't rate it with more than three stars.

All She Wants for Christmas is book 1 in the Kent Brother Trilogy, and I confess I was more curious about Ethan's brothers, Brody and Wyatt, than I was about Ethan himself, so I plan to give the series the benefit of the doubt and check out the other two books too.

 Happy readings,

the book worm, book blog

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