Sunday, December 26, 2010

Review: Dating Mr. December by Phillipa Ashley

Lifetime film based on Dating Mr. December
Christmas was really nice this year.  On Christmas Day we took it easy, slept in, and ate breakfast before tackling the presents.  We each seemed to get lots of DVD sets of TV series and movies, more so than books.  That was fine though, since my "To Be Read" pile is about to kill me!  I'm thinking that it's about time to challenge myself to only read what I already have.  That alone would take me half the year. 

Late in the afternoon, we headed to the beach to read and catch a cool breeze.  (Yes, while snow is falling on the mainland, we've been praying for a little wind!)  I finally had a chance to sit down with Phillipa Ashley's reprint by Sourcebooks, Dating Mr. December, which they sent me a couple of months ago.  The novel was made into a lifetime film last year called, "12 Men of Christmas" with Kristen Chenoweth, which I haven't seen, but remember seeing advertisements for on TV.  I usually pretty hesitant about Lifetime movies, but I'll have to check this out after reading the book!  The novel was a fun romance, that honestly wasn't all that "Christmas"-like.  Sure, there is a Mr. December, but not much else about Christmas pops up, so this is one of those books you could read at any time.

Synopsis:  From Goodreads, "Emma Tremayne leaves her high-powered PR job and moves to the Lake District looking for peace, quiet-and celibacy. So perhaps it's not the best idea when, in the spirit of "community-mindedness," she agrees to help the local mountain rescue team fund raise by putting together a "tasteful" nude calendar. Especially since quite a lot of the community seems to mind what she's up to-including the tall, dark and handsome Mr. December, Will Tennant, who appears to have gotten the wrong impression about Emma's intentions. So how does she convince him that he's more than just the flavor of the month?"

Review:  Although titled Dating Mr. December, this romantic story isn't really set in December or centered on Christmas at all.  In fact, as I was reading it, I hoped that readers wouldn't get caught up in the title and put off reading it until the holidays!  This is definitely a tense, sexy read. 

The initial lead in to Emma and Will (hunky Mr. December) meeting one another and becoming attracted was pretty short.  Those kinds of "I like you baby" leads sometimes have me rolling my eyes a bit, since I'm ever the pessimist about those kinds of love interests.  I'll be honest, I felt that way in this story as well, but thankfully the author created a palpable tension between these two characters that kept me flipping pages.  In pretty short order, they were snubbing one another and hiding past hurts and pain.  Will was said to be a real prig who had abandoned a fiance on their wedding day, while Emma had just found that her boyfriend was having an affair with her boss, causing her to move to Will's town and away from London.  Obviously, there was more to the story, which we as readers want to see them resolve.  

In the end, this romance was pretty good.  I liked the tension and misunderstandings between the two characters, so it wasn't all about the "come hither" of a classic romance.  Although it looks and sounds like a playful, fun read, it was much more serious and tense than it lets on.  Really, this is a romance you could read any time, even though the set up and cover scream Christmas.  Also, if you enjoy the added tension that inevitably pushes two people together (which I do), then this is a perfect romantic read.

*FTC Disclosure:  This review was based on a review copy provided by Sourcebooks.

Although I thought this romance turned out to not be much about Christmas or the holidays, I still think it counts as my second in "The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge 2010".  The challenge is being hosted by The True Book Addict & The Christmas Spirit Blog.  The challenge started on Friday, November 26th and runs until January 6th, but you can still join in!  In fact, you can read as little as one book.  Even if you don't want to join the challenge, you can find out about other "seasonal" reads from other people participating (which is one reason I like joining these).  For more information or to sign up, visit their site today!  Who knows, you might be able to set up a Christmas wish list of reads for next year. 


  1. I read this book earlier in the year, and I agree people shouldn't save it for just the holidays! It was a hot steamy story, and I just loved the ending!

  2. What a coincidence--I just read a review for the 12 Men of Christmas that compared it to Pride & Prejudice, but I didn't know it was based on a novel!

  3. I hadn't read the book, but I saw the movie. It was a really cute movie. I will have to find the book now, because books are always better then the movies.

    And welcome to the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge. Its lots of fun to see what others are reading.

    Wakela's World

  4. I've just popped over from Kittling: Books and I like what I see here. Will be subscribing. We were in Hawaii in the 1980s and I do wish we could return. :-)

  5. This sounds cute-I wonder why they felt the need to put make it a Christmasy theme? I get the calendar tie in, but I would've been disappointed if I thought this was a Christmas themed book.

    Am so jealous you are in Hawaii right now!

  6. Samantha--I know! Great ending. I loved when she ran from the house. Exactly what I would do in her situation.

    Heidenkind--You know, that's true. It takes place in the Lake District, but I couldn't really tell from there. I still really liked this one!

    Wakela--Thanks and welcome! I haven't seen the film, but I will have to now.

    Rural View--Thanks! How nice of you. :) I'll be checking out your blog too!

    Buckeye Girl--This really is SO cute. Have to tell you though, as much as I love Hawaii, I hate that my allergies have adjusted to here. I'm dying w/ allergy headaches, etc. Love it. Hate the allergies!