Etta

Audiobook Review: The Holiday Trap (ARC)

Expected publication: September 6th 2022

Author: Roan Parrish

Narrators: Natalie Duke, Pete Cross, & Hillary Huber

Audiobook Length: 12 hours 22 minutes

For fans of Alexandria Bellefleur and Alexis Hall comes a charming, hilarious, and heartwarming LGBTQIA+ romcom about two separate couples finding love over the holidays from acclaimed author Roan Parrish!

Greta Russakoff loves her tight-knit family and tiny Maine hometown, even if they don’t always understand what it’s like to be a lesbian living in such a small world. She desperately needs space to figure out who she is.

Truman Belvedere has just had his heart crushed into a million pieces when he learned that his boyfriend of almost a year has a secret life that includes a husband and a daughter. Reeling from this discovery, all he wants is a place to lick his wounds far, far away from New Orleans.

Enter Greta and Truman’s mutual friend, Ramona, who facilitates a month-long house swap. Over the winter holidays, each of them will have a chance to try on a new life…and maybe fall in love with the perfect partner of their dreams. But all holidays must come to an end, and eventually Greta and Truman will have to decide whether the love they each found so far from home is worth fighting for.

I requested to try The Holiday Trap once I read that is inspired by the 2007 movie The Holiday. I loved the concept of two people needing a change, so they swap houses for a short time and looked forward to reading this take on the premise. Parrish’s take on the story follows two characters, Greta Russakoff, a Jewish lesbian from a small town in Maine, and Truman Belvedere, a gay accountant from New Orleans, Louisiana. Truman just found out that his boyfriend of one year has a secret family while Greta is feeling suffocated by her family. Both end up switching houses for the holiday to experience a nice change thanks to their mutual friend, Ramona.  

The story alternates between Greta’s journey in the bigger diverse city and Truman’s journey in the quieter small town. While walking down Bourbon Street with Truman’s dog, Horse, Greta runs into Carys and her miniature horse, Teacup. The two end up hanging out as Carys shows Greta around the main places. When Truman thinks he killed one of Greta’s plants, he ventures to the local flower shop and ends up meeting Ash, who is also Greta’s best friend. These two meetings were cute as both Greta and Truman are at different emotional places in their lives and each meeting nicely reflects them.

The two love stories may begin with the two characters meeting their love interests early on in their swap, but they are approached in different ways. Greta and Carys begin more with an insta-lust and then they begin to get to know each other whereas Truman and Ash take the slow-burn type approach. Both Truman and Greta learn to navigate boundaries with their respective partners. While both needed to learn a little more about it, I feel that Truman’s portion was given more care than Greta’s. This made me, at first, enjoy Truman more than Greta, even though both are similar. For me, this was a writing element and I can see more readers siding with Truman’s story compared to Greta’s.

Overall, it was an interesting take to have one romance progress slower than the other when the two love interests were introduced at the same time. This worked in one way as readers can experience the two, especially on the off chance they prefer one over the other before reading. Between the two, the relationship between Truman and Ash is written with a little more emotion compared to Carys and Greta yet they both have an emotional component to the journey. While I loved Truman and Ash’s relationship, I was not a fan of Truman’s search for his favorite author. I can see how some readers could enjoy this side-story, but it was not for me. As I listened to the audiobook, I liked the narrators as they did a great job with the characters. The novel itself was both hit and miss as there were elements I enjoyed and others I did not as much. I do think readers should give this a try and I will read more from the author in the future.

**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and Dreamscape Media for the opportunity to read this novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**

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