Wednesday 20 December 2023

Guest Review: Holiday Romance by Catherine Walsh

She’s meant to be catching flights, not catching feelings…

Molly and Andrew are just trying to get home to Ireland for the holidays, when a freak snowstorm grounds their flight.

Nothing romantic has ever happened between them: they’re friends and that’s all. But once a year, for the last ten years, Molly has spent seven hours and fifteen minutes sitting next to Andrew on the last flight before Christmas from Chicago to Dublin, drinking terrible airplane wine and catching up on each other’s lives. In spite of all the ways the two friends are different, it’s the holiday tradition neither of them has ever wanted to give up.

Molly isn’t that bothered by Christmas, but—in yet another way they’re total opposites—Andrew is a full-on fanatic for the festive season and she knows how much getting back to Ireland means to him. So, instead of doing the sane thing and just celebrating the holidays together in America, she does the stupid thing. The irrational thing. She vows to get him home. And in time for his mam’s famous Christmas dinner.

The clock is ticking. But Molly always has a plan. And—as long as the highly-specific combination of taxis, planes, boats, and trains all run on time—it can’t possibly go wrong.

What she doesn’t know is that, as the snow falls over the city and over the heads of two friends who are sure they’re not meant to be together, the universe might just have a plan of its own…

Reiew: As a lover of Christmas-based stories of all kinds, I was attracted by this book which is described on its striking cover as a hilarious Christmas romantic comedy. I’m not familiar with the author, but it sounded like something I would love to read. I listened to the audiobook, which was well read and kept me entertained for many hours.

The story concerns two people, Molly and Andrew, who have known each other for ten years, having travelled home for Christmas each year on the same plane carrying them to Dublin from Chicago, where they both live and work. After the first meeting on the plane, which was difficult for many reasons, they have gradually become friends but no more than that. Molly professes to being unmoved by Christmas, while it is very important to Andrew. Therefore, when their flight is cancelled due to bad weather this particular year, Molly would happily spend the holiday in her apartment, but Andrew is desperate to get home somehow. Knowing how important it is for him, Molly sets out to get him back to Ireland by any means possible and there follows a hilarious journey taking in many stops and many modes of transport. Somewhere along the way something is changing between the pair; could romance be in the air?

I have really enjoyed this story, which had me laughing a lot, but also anxious as Molly and Andrew gradually inched their way closer to home even as all sorts of obstacles dropped in their path. I loved the way in which the story was told, looking back over the last ten years of their friendship, each time reliving the flight taking them home that year. By the time of this present flight, they know a lot about each other and their families. They are so very different, but it is lovely to watch as they get closer with each passing year. This is a Christmas story with a difference and one which I’m sure other readers will enjoy as much as I have.

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