Author: Sandy Barker
Another year has passed and it’s Christmas again. This year best friends Chloe, Jules and Lucy are all loved up but living worlds apart.
Chloe is madly in love with her celebrity beau, Archer, but after a whirlwind year in Hollywood’s limelight, she’s desperate to get away and spend some quality time together.
Jules loves her Melbourne life – and gorgeous winemaker Matt – but a crowded flat share has her longing for a place of her own.
Meanwhile, Lucy is stuck in a long distance relationship, jetting back and forth between Colorado and London to see Will.
When Archer’s plan to whisk Chloe to Paris goes awry, he surprises her by bringing her friends together for a Christmas to remember…
The perfect feel-good holiday romance for fans of Sarah Morgan, Jo Thomas and Holly Martin.
** Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, including Amazon, and I may earn a small commission, at no cost to you, if you purchase through my links. **
When I first read the first novel, The Christmas Swap, I felt it read amazing as a standalone, so I was surprised when I saw that a follow-up novel, The Christmas Trip, was being released. While this could be read as a standalone, I think readers would be missing out on a lot of background information that I believe aids readers to connect to the characters and their relationships. Since I read both stories, I had this foundation, so I cannot confirm this theory.
This story follows three friends, Jules from the USA, Lucy from England, and Chloe from Australia. The three of them met when they were eleven and all on vacation in Hawaii where they formed the May Ladies Club. Now twenty-three years later, and one year after the previous story, the three of them are finding their way back to the island. This time each has their significant other, who they all met in the previous novel, with them. Each couple is going through their own growing pains as Chloe wants some quality time with her British film star boyfriend, Archer. Lucy is having difficulty being stuck with the long distance between her and her boyfriend Will, who lives in Colorado. Finally, Jules is feeling crowded in her flatshare in Melbourne as the tries to continue to get to know her Australian boyfriend, Matt.
All three relationships are all going through very relatable issues that many other couples go through, so I liked that their lives were not automatically perfect once they got together. Unlike the other novel where the three friends were all around the globe, this one brings them all to one central location. With everything going on at the same time and in the same place, it did feel a little crowded at times. This became even more the case when there are other secondary characters involved in their own way.
There was some magic lost as the friends are all familiar with Hawaii. While you can live there forever and still discover something new, it still read differently than the first where each relocated to a brand-new place for Christmas. I loved these characters their respective relationships, both friendship and romantic, but I am still not sure how necessary this story was as it was a great HFN with an implied HEA in the last story. The writing itself still had the same enjoyment and I loved the setting descriptions, but it was very difficult to not have a slight bias about why I was reading about it. Overall, the characters continued to be amazing, and it was nice to see them all together, but it did have the tendency to read a little overwhelming at times. Even though this one was not quite up to my high expectations of the author, I still would easily read more from her in the future!
**I give a special thank you to Netgalley and the publisher, One More Chapter, for the opportunity to read this entertaining novel. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**