Author: Jenn McKinlay
Narrator: Sara Young
Audiobook Length: 3 hours 21 minutes
Claire Macintosh is about to get engaged to a man she doesn’t love at the holiday gala she is hosting as director of the Museum of Literature. Her mother, Hildy Macintosh, has made it clear that if the museum is to continue to receive the enormous donations from the family trust that Hildy has approved all these years then Claire will marry the man Hildy has chosen for her and start to produce some grandbabies. At forty and single, Claire feels she has no choice. But when the horse and carriage arrive at the gala with the driver dressed as Santa to deliver Claire’s engagement ring, she just can’t go through with it. She hijacks the horse and carriage with Santa still on board and escapes!
Reporter Sam Carpenter thought he was being so clever convincing his friend to let him step in as Santa so he could get up close and personal to the subject of his upcoming magazine expose. He is completely unprepared for the events that unfold and finds himself dashing through Central Park with a runaway would be fiancé. Now the only way to save his story is to broker a deal with Claire Macintosh. In exchange for his help in getting her to her cottage in Maine by Christmas Eve, she’ll grant him an exclusive interview. As their journey takes a series of unexpected twists, turns, and misadventures, both Claire and Sam realize that there’s more than their careers on the line. And it’s going to take a Christmas miracle to find their happily ever after.
It Happened One Christmas Eve is the third story in the A Museum of Literature Romance series. I actually requested this thinking it was a standalone, but it works out as it can be read without the other stories. The story follows almost 40-year-old Claire Macintosh, the director of the Museum of Literature, who runs away from her suitor Trey, who works at her father’s law firm, on Santa’s sleigh, who turns out to be 41-year-old reporter, Sam Carpenter. He agrees to help her escape in exchange for an interview.
As the two characters spend time together, they naturally get to know each other and romantic feelings begin to form. The story is mainly from Claire’s POV, but I would have loved some from Sam as it would have made their story feel a little better-rounded. While their love was not instantaneous, it was accelerated since the story only takes place in a few days. I greatly enjoyed Sam and Claire together and feel they complimented each other well; however, it is difficult to get over that technically she is still with Trey as she has not officially ended things with him before she develops any feelings for Sam. I wish a little more care went into this part of the story to make the cheating aspect less prominent, for me. Other readers, however, may not read it the same way, so this aspect will depend on the reader.
The humor in this story is well-done as it is over the top in a Hallmark-type style where I could easily see this translating to the big or small screen. I love the concept of the story and the holiday aspect was integrated well. One aspect that makes romance reads stand out as a genre is the bits of tension between the main couple and I didn’t quite connect to this in the story. There’s a lot to love about this story and I loved the ease of writing. There are a few aspects that needed a little more exploration, so maybe with more pages, this could have been accomplished. Since I listened to the audiobook, I enjoyed Sara Young’s style and I greatly enjoyed her style with both the humorous and more serious ones. I look forward to listening to more of her narrations in the future. As for the author, I liked McKinlay’s style and I have a few more of her novels on my TBR, so I will have to read some of those soon!
**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.**