How shall I put this gently...?
No. Okay? Just... no.
It pains me to say it, but I was so sure this book will turn out to be a fine, refreshing, light holiday read. The first half of it is great. Seriously. Great!
So, what went wrong? And, what's even more important - how could it go so terribly wrong?
At the very beginning of the story, Tilly (the heroine) is on the verge of a nervous breakdown. She lost her job, her home and her boyfriend. On Christmas Eve, of all days! And, to top it all off, the train that would take her to her brother is not about to arrive any time soon. Well, maybe in a few days. Christmas is officially canceled.
So there she is, all desperate and broken, with her one suitcase, when all of a sudden he appears. Dean - the only guy Tilly ever loved. Her brother's (ex) friend. The same guy she's spent almost a decade pining over. The one that never wanted her. Well, that's what she thinks...
See, Tilly's brother Phil made Dean promise he'll stay away from her. Because... hm, because she deserves better. Because there were some rumors about Dean being a murderer. And, Dean does not want to break that promise. Even if it kills him. Even if it means he'll lose the only girl that he's ever loved.
But, let's get back to the story...
So, Tilly ends up at Dean's house. And, since they are about to spend a couple of days together, maybe Christmas isn't cancelled after all. Maybe there's a chance for the two of them.
Dean was really trying hard to resist, poor guy, but when he let go I was hoping this story will (finally) reach the greatest part (with a couple of mandatory downs, of course).
Actually, that's when Phil showed up.
And, that's exactly when it all came crashing down.
I'm not sure how it happened. All of a sudden, this cute, fine book turned into... not fine.
There was a case of a nervous breakdown (or at least it seemed that way), one partial lobotomy (seriously, I'm not a huge fan of ultimate personality change without a solid reason) and it all became one sobbing, confusing mess.
Nothing felt right. There was all that "I forgive you", "I am so sorry", "I was wrong"... but it was too easily solved, way too soon, and it ruined all that fine build up from the first half of the story.
It's such a shame. I wish I could give it a higher rating, but all the oh-so-sweet moments just gave me a toothache. Even those diary entries, at the very end, that were supposed to bring it all together seemed too weak and so out of place. Actually, they are (imo, at least) one of the weakest parts of the story.
So, it's like this - what started out as a great, light read with highly likable (and realistic) characters turned into a disappointment.
I'll just go and look at my Christmas tree for a while... maybe those twinkling lights will help.