Evelyn Waverley, Christmas High’s Senior Class President, volunteer at every Christmas charity drive, and basic overachiever, has a problem – she’s co-directing and starring in her dream role as Elizabeth Bennet in her high school’s production of A Pride and Prejudice Christmas, but Greg Bailey, the boy who was supposed to play Darcy broke his leg.
Enter Beckett Hawthorne, Aunt Bee’s nephew, former child prodigy, and recent juvenile delinquent. Beckett has arrived in Christmas, Virginia to spend his community service hours working at his uncle’s Christmas tree farm, as well as to get away from his heroin-addicted mother and abusive stepfather.
Of course, Beckett doesn’t have any interest in the role of Darcy either, but when he (mistakenly) mentions the play to his social worker, she presses him to do it. He agrees to play Darcy, not expecting Evelyn’s joyful attitude about life and all things Christmas to melt the permafrost that has formed around his heart. Soon he finds himself imagining a very different kind of future, one that is filled with the sorts of things he always thought were too good for him-hope, love, family-and he has Evelyn to thank for it.
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own, and I am writing a voluntary review.
Picture a Hallmark movie, but with teens. That’s what reading this book felt like. It had everything from a town-wide fundraiser to a Christmas tree farm, and I loved the small-town, nostalgic vibes that this book gave. It had such a sweet redemption narrative, and it was fun to see the nods to Pride in Prejudice throughout the story.
Evelyn and Beckett (our heroine and hero) were so sweet together, and felt like real people facing real challenges and self-doubts. I found Evelyn to be especially relatable, and Beckett’s backstory helped make his character understandable (since I couldn’t personally relate to being a moody teenage boy). My one complaint with them is that they were a little too effortlessly beautiful, with Beckett’s perfectly formed body, and Evelyn’s state of being constantly put together and having half of the male population in love with her. It was very on brand with the Hallmark vibes, but I would have personally preferred them to be a little less perfect in this way.
Overall, it made for a sweet, cozy read in preparation for Christmas.
Content warnings: There is a smattering of mild language throughout, and a few scenes where characters are kissing passionately.