A Festive Surprise by Margaret Amatt
Genres: Christmas, Romantic Comedy, Scottish
She can’t abide Christmas. He’s not sure what it’s all about. Together they’re in for a festive surprise.
Ambitious software developer Holly may have a festive name but the connection ends there. She despises the holiday season and decides to flee to the remote island of Mull in a bid to escape from it.
Syrian refugee Farid has made a new home in Scotland but he’s lonely. Understanding Nessie and Irn Bru is one thing, but when glittery reindeer and tinsel hit the shelves, he’s completely bemused. Determined to understand a new culture, he asks his new neighbour to educate him on all things Christmas.
When Holly reluctantly agrees, he realises there’s more to her hatred of mince pies and mulled wine than meets the eye. Farid makes it his mission to inject some joy into Hollys’ life but falling for her is an unexpected gift that was never on his list.
As their attraction sparkles, can Christmas work its magic on Holly and Farid, or will their spark fizzle out with the end of December?
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I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own. I receive no compensation for reviews.
This is such a heartwarming story. Farid Al-Karim is a Syrian refugee who has fled to Scotland and has a job, through a business contact of his father as a lumberjack. He doesn’t love his job since he is a computer programmer but he does love Archie, his father’s business contact, the island of Mull and the other people living there.
Holly Devaney is also a programmer who is also on Mull thanks to her friend Georgia. Georgia is Archie’s wife and offered Holly a cottage to stay during December. Holly once wanted it all, to be married, have a family, and roots. Now she doesn’t want any of that.
Farid and Holly end up in cottages next door and why they immediately like the look of one another there is a bit of a problem. Farid is very fascinated by Christmas. Having grown up in Syria he doesn’t understand the holiday. Never really experienced it for himself. He wants to learn more about the traditions of the holiday.
He finds it all fun even the traditions that really have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus. Honestly it’s like learning about the holiday all over again through fresh eyes. So many things we all take for granted and get irritated by he is just discovering and seems so much more fun through him.
Then there is Holly who hates Christmas on a level that would make Scrooge and the Grinch impressed. She has her reasons and we learn about those which made me feel so much for her. She’s lost her way as many of us do and now the holiday is just another day for her.
So they make a deal. Holly will teach him all about Christmas and Farid will teach her all about the meaning of home. What is not to love about this story? Holly is determined for this to be a short term relationship even though she is falling in love with Farid. While he doesn’t tell her how much he is falling in love with her in English for the fear of her leaving him immediately. It’s a story about not only the spirit of Christmas but what home and family really means. How, sometimes you have to lose it all to find your place or person in the world.
I loved every single second of it!
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