I downloaded this book from Amazon for free. I guess it’s part of a special seasonal offer and didn’t expect much assuming it’s just another fluffy holiday read but not much depth to it.
Well, I must admit it is a delightful holiday read. It’s a short and sweet love story between old neighborhood friends, Jade and Benji.
Jade and Benji had been best friends as far as they could remember, but when they were in 8th grade, Jade became a target of ridicule from the girls in class for her being different from others – hanging out with Benji all the time and not dressing like others. She immediately decided to cut Benji out of her life and took her frustration out on him and she literally ended their long-time friendship.
So many years later, when Jade takes shelter at a small inn because of heavy snow, she has a chance encounter with Benji. An electric spark runs between them but the guilt Jade has had over shutting Benji out doesn’t cease nagging her while Benji is all up for giving their relationship a second chance.
Will they be able to reconcile with each other? What does the future hold for them?
I found the setting of this story quite interesting; The twist that it was Jade who cut Ben out of her life after being the target of bullying was not what I expected. They both drags heavy luggage from the past which must have been hard to overcome, but I liked how Ben is determined to take a second chance while Jade remains vulnerable and iffy about their relationship.
To be honest, Jade actually falls into a category of women I find hard to relate to. I just can’t be empathetic to those who wouldn’t listen to their heart under the wrong preconceived idea, like, ‘I shouldn’t do this because this is wrong,’ or ‘I can’t hang out with him because blah-blah-blah’ despite the situation suggesting otherwise.
Among the characters, I found Mrs. Engel was quite fleshed out as opposed to the main two characters being a bit week in comparison. She comes across just vindictive and spiteful in the most part, but her transition once the truth comes to light is uplifting, I chuckled despite myself.
I also liked it is Jeremy who finally sets the record straight over his mother’s misguided idea toward Benji. He also acts a very important role in making Benji realize what he really wants and what he needs to do – to win Jade back. The ensuing scenes depicting Benji’s frantic attempt to get ahold of Jade were just uplifting and made me squeal.
I’m afraid to find the writing a bit weak at times, particularly the Christmas morning part where the game-deciding truth comes out and the propose part. They were supposed to be the most moving parts, but it kind of fell short of evoking my emotion as much as I would have liked. The ending also came across a bit anticlimactic and seemed a bit hasty for me. I would have liked the tension and anticipation building up leading to the ending but it kind of fell flat (at least for me).
That said, I think the story is well-crafted overall; the pacing is good and I enjoyed this heart-warming love story. It’s still offered for free, so I recommend picking it up if you are in the mood for a light holiday read 🙂