Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons, Penguin Audio on 2020-10-13
Length: 384 pages
Length: 10 hours and 24 minutes
Reviewing Audiobook, Paperback from My Book Shelf
Reading Challenges: 2022 Audiobook Challenge, 2022 Backlist Reader Challenge, 2022 Beat the Backlist
'Tis the season for finding romance in this hilarious and uplifting holiday read
When it comes to relationships, thirty-four-year-old Kate Turner is ready to say "Bah, humbug." The sleepy town of Blexford, England, isn't exactly brimming with prospects, and anyway, Kate's found fulfillment in her career as a designer, and in her delicious side job baking for her old friend Matt's neighborhood café. But then her best friend signs her up for a dating agency that promises to help singles find love before the holidays. Twenty-three days until Christmas. Twelve dates with twelve different men. The odds must finally be in her favor . . . right?
Yet with each new date more disastrous than the one before--and the whole town keeping tabs on her misadventures--Kate must remind herself that sometimes love, like mistletoe, shows up where it's least expected. And maybe, just maybe, it's been right under her nose all along. . . .
The Twelve Dates of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss is a sweet holiday romcom about a woman done with casual flings and ready for either a serious relationship or to say she gave it a serious go and move on with her life. Kate Turner longs for what her two best friends have: a steady, reliable plus one and to start her own family. At this point in her life, she’s willing to go the family route alone if need be as there hasn’t been a guy to really catch her eye. At the urging of her friend, she reluctantly joins a twelve dates of Christmas event through a local online dating service. Thus ensues a story full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and hilarious blind dates that leaves Kate what-if-ing her own life choices.
I really enjoyed this book! It’s a cute story from start to finish, light-hearted and humorous at just the right spots while also hitting on some tough, emotional subjects. Kate is an easy character to empathize with and cheer on as she encounters each of her twelve dates. The cast of characters that support Kate and the main story is wonderful. I love her dad, Lauren, and Matt. They complement Kate and bring out sides that we wouldn’t see with just the dates. I also enjoyed the unique setup of the book. Each chapter is set around one of her twelve dates and focuses on the events leading up to and immediately after them. This gives us a chance to get to know Kate more than just surface level.
My only gripe, and it’s a small one, is that I knew from the first few pages who Kate would wind up with. It’s fairly obvious even if Kate herself is oblivious to it. While it didn’t bother me to have figured it out so early on in the book, it did make for a less exciting read. I found myself frustrated with Kate and the love interest early on at how they avoided the elephant in the room while the entire town seemed to be routing them on in the background.
Overall, The Twelve Dates of Christmas is exactly what you’d expect from any holiday romcom: sweet, cute, and an HEA. The setting of a small English village and the cast of characters really held my interest in Kate’s story. I did pick up the audiobook about a third of the way into the book, and I’m glad I did. Elizabeth Knowelden narrates, and I loved her tone and inflections for each character. It was easy to keep them straight and know who was talking without having to go back. If you enjoy romance, I highly recommend it.