Book Review: So This is Christmas (Christmas in Eldovia #3)

Published October 4, 2022 

Author: Jenny Holiday

USA Today bestselling author Jenny Holiday concludes her beloved royal Christmas series with an unforgettable romance about a confident American woman and the strait-laced royal advisor who falls hopelessly in love with her.

Matteo Benz has spent his life serving at the pleasure of the Eldovian crown. His work is his life and his life, well…he doesn’t have much of one. When he is tasked to aid a management consultant who has been flown in to help straighten out the king’s affairs, he is instantly disturbed by her brash American manner–as well by an inconvenient attraction to the brainy beauty.

Cara Delaney is in Eldovia to help clean up the king’s financial affairs, but soon finds herself at odds with the very proper Mr. Benz. As intrigued by his good looks as she is annoyed by his dedication to tradition for its own sake, she slowly begins to see the real man behind the royal throne.

As they work together to return Eldovia to its former glory during the country’s magical Christmas season, Matteo discovers he is falling hopelessly in love with the unconventional American. But a man who has devoted his life to tradition doesn’t change easily. Can he become the man Cara needs, or will their love be another sacrifice to the crown?

Find It On: Goodreads / Amazon

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So This is Christmas is the third novel in the Christmas in Eldovia series. After believing that the first novel, A Princess for Christmas, was a standalone, I am glad that the author decided to expand it into a series featuring all the great characters of Eldovia. I love this fictional magical setting with its snowy and small-town atmosphere. After loving the second novel, Duke Actually, I was actually hoping for a story about Max’s brother, Seb, but was still excited to read a story about Matteo as he was featured in the first two. While it is the third in the series, it could be read as a standalone since there are some details about the previous novels.

Cara Delany is a 35-year-old management/production consultant from New York who is sent to Eldovia to assess the country’s financials and their primary industry of watchmaking. Matteo Benz is the 30-year-old executive personal assistant to the King and available for anything Cara needs during her stay.  The two may share a connection with their dedication to their jobs, but they do not see eye to eye on many other things. The story goes as expected with each slowly letting their guard down, so the slow burn was done well in its general set-up. There is a lot of plot elements, however, that takes away from this build-up as excess discussions tended to bury the actual growing romance.

The two characters share great chemistry, but it seems there was not enough exploration to make a full romance believable. It seemed steps were skipped between enemies to lovers and I wish there were more details and build up to fill in the gaps. There is a lot of time spent on the business side of the plot, so I think some of these pages should have been reallocated to the romance instead. While many romances have the couple spend time apart, this novel had a few too many and this could be another reason why the romance did not quite work for me. It was nice to visit Eldovia again and I enjoyed the author’s style, but this one was not quite for me. I am not sure if this novel is the final in the series or if there are more to come later, but I am still hoping for a Seb novel and now I am also wishing for one with Imogen next.

Prancer Prompt: A book with your favorite season on the cover or the book cover has colors from your favorite season on it. (20 pts)

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