Let’s continue to get in the Christmas spirit by returning to the throes of unapologetic chic lit. We did some classic Christmas in the last two posts, but in case that is not your thing, today is all the chick without the tinge of classic.
I could be listening to the Charlie Brown Christmas album on prime music right now as I write this. I really could. It’s not even light out at 630 and I am writing by the twinkle of our artificial tree.
Funny and brief aside: when I got with my husband in 2010, he tolerated Christmas as a necessary evil. He would string maybe a string of lights in the apartment we shared and call it good. I had to tell him not to just give me what he bought me on Black Friday and to wait and wrap it. Now that we are on our son’s fifth Christmas season and he’s getting it, as in loving the lights and asking when Santa comes, husband has warmed considerably to the whole idea. I love how parenting a child he treasures has softened him over. I don’t fault childless men if they are not that into the season. They are hard to buy for. He is still deciding what the wife gift will be this year. Otherwise its necessities and a bottle of Crown Whiskey.
We might be getting away from classics but not redemption, at least in the first of the books I read for today’s post.
The Christmas Pearl, Dorothea Benton Frank
I had a hard time with this one. Not due to it’s chick lit nature; in fact, it is not as chick-y as other things I have explored for the season. But it takes place in the South and told from the perspective of an old woman at the end of her life wishing for Christmas to be as it was when she was a child in the early 1900s. I can see where the Christmas in the big Southern homes might look pretty on the outside around the 1900s, but I see it also as a pretty blanket to cover the realities of how such beautiful holidays were pulled off, whose sacrifice of time and resources it was. Like a glittering frosting of freshly fallen snow. I have a hard time romanticizing the American South of a hundred years ago.
And it is not completely romanticized. The narrator talks about always wanting more time with an at times distant and socialite mother and the tragedies that hers, like all families, experience. Her modern day family is a self centered and dysfunctional mess and she is trying to get it back to some semblance of order. It’s entertaining and well written, and the audio brought it to life with a narrator with a Southern accent. So I could get through the three hours of listening.
So despite it being realistic, there was one issue that I had a hard time with, and if you have read Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, which I am reviewing in a month or so, you know about her frustrations with black people in movies being marginalized themselves but playing a magical role in the advancement of white people’s lives (think Whoopi Goldberg’s character in Ghost). She calls it the magical N word (that word will not appear on my blog) and this book actually has a magical N. Legit a kitchen servant comes back from the dead to help this ancient white southern woman whose family has gone to crap pull it all back together. As if my top priority if I was granted 48 hours back on Earth would be to get back to my job and straighten out some treatment plans at Christmas. Not that I would see my own descendants and get to say things to them that I never got to say. Nope. I would make sure that all the signature sheets were updated and tucked safely in their charts for all the people who are doing my job.
This is probably why a man I had been on two dates with once told me that I wouldn’t fit in if I moved to the South.
A little less crabbing, a little more of the sex:
The Sugar Cookie Sweetheart Swap, by Donna Kaufmann, Kate Angell and Kimberly Kincaid
Here we go. Christmas and love centered. Not too complicated for anyone, cozy. Everyone’s nipples at some point in every story standing at attention . (Did I ever say this was a family centered blog? Christmas romances are hard to make PG sometimes)
All three of the women start off at the beginning of a snowstorm in a tiny mountain town with cookies, career dreams, and an appreciable lack of sex. It is the Christmas season and the women are facing the prospect of celebrating alone until the next two weeks brings them all the perfect men in their travels through life. I liked that the women bond with these men through sharing dreams and vulnerabilities through losses or family dysfunction and the men love them just as they are. One is full figured and her man can’t get enough, one is rigid and plays by the rules but the man really appreciates her directness, one always feels awkward and her man makes her feel feminine and has been harboring a secret crush for years. These are pretty healthy romances, as holiday romances go. No one has to change who they are and there are emotional connections before the sex is delved into. No one seems to be struggling with consent issues.
I haven’t decided if the next post is going to be one more round of holiday books or the year end lists and coveted Donovan Reads awards. I have two books to read until I finish my reading challenges. At this moment I have no other Christmas books finished to report on.
Shares/likes/comments get me in the holiday spirit.