I know Christmas is already a month away, so it’s not a very good timing for this review, though if I’m being honest I have to warn all to-be-readers of this book: ‘Christmas by the Lighthouse’ has very little to do with either Christmas or Lighthouses. I do see where this title comes from, but it still somehow seems to be a bit of a false advertisement.
Anyway, let’s talk about the book itself!
I got this book from Amazon Publishing UK via NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
I decided to read this book because last year I read another one written by this author, ‘The Christmas Forest’, and I happened to like that one . It was sweet, short, easy to read, but didn’t lack substance, so I thought this new book from the same writer should be a good choice.
Well, I knew that even though I liked the other one it wasn’t exactly high literature, but this one was a complete hit and miss for me.
Starting with the fact that (and here comes a bit of spoiler, sorry, but I can’t simply go by it) there’s not even a remote of warning about the theme cancer. And I know. I’m a doctor. I shouldn’t care. But, you know, when you start to read a book as a distraction from your real life, and then a character has the exact same type of cancer that your beloved aunt died of just months before, you’re not exactly happy with the fact that it all came without a warning.
So I started this book with – symbolically – throwing it away just after the first couple of (rather short) chapters.
Then I got back to it the following day, because I was ready to read it forward then.
And after I cooled down I realized that my personal feelings are not at all the only things that I found not okay with this story.
First of all, it kind of downplays the cancer storyline. I mean, it is basically the main storyline, but… it’s just too easy. It doesn’t work that way. (Maybe with some types, but definitely not this one.) I felt like this was a pseudo-part of the story, because it need something to complicate things, something to make the story a story, but somehow it seemed false. I know this book was supposed to be a light-hearted thing, and that’s probably why the serious stuff was all downplayed, but this way I simply couldn’t take it seriously anymore. I couldn’t believe anything that happened.
In fact, I felt like this book was a collection of all cheesy, overused hollywood romcom clichés. Terminal illness, check. Character realizes they have never lived before, check. Wanting to start to live life to the fullest and creating a bucket list, check. Terminal illness miraculously healed, check. Couple in a boring, dysfunctional twenty-year marriage with kids having fun at college going on a ‘break’ instead of divorce, check. Excentric hippy parents running around crazy, check. Running home in the rain together, check. The ‘who’s the father’ drama, check. Stuck in a place for hours together, check. Insta love, check. Airport mix-up stuff, check. Getting a rescue dog together, even though nothing’s stable in our lives, check. Moving together instantly, and needing no time to accustom to the arrangment, check. I feel like I could continue this list forever.
Oh, and overall unnaturally too much sunset included.
The characters were relatively interesting, though. The problem is, I couldn’t really appreciate them, when their story was so utterly fantasyless.
Let’s Give It A Grade!
- Story: 2/5
- Characters: 3/5
- Style: 3/5
- The Subjective Factor: 2/5
- GPA: 2.5
Nothing at all.
People who are good at suspending belief might enjoy this one way more than I did. It’s just that I couldn’t buy anything that happened in this story.
I don’t know… ‘Last Christmas’, maybe… Seems about right. Same cliché, same complexity.
A virgin christmas punch, maybe.
I’m uncertain with this one. I liked one book from this author, and didn’t another. So, I might try something by her, if I’m in the right mood.
Have you read this book? What did you think?
How well do you do with suspending belief?