One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill by Mandy Baggot

Imagine the perfect Christmas Kiss…

His strong arms around her waist, her hands on his face, the snow slowly starts to fall…

It’s enough to make Isla Winters cringe! While her sister can’t get enough of this – increasingly common – sight on the streets of London, Isla’s too busy trying to stop Hannah’s wheelchair from slipping on the ice, and making sure she’s not too late to her dream job at Breekers International.

But everything changes with the arrival of Chase Bryan, fresh from the New York office. He’s eager to learn everything about Isla’s beloved Notting Hill, but as the nights get colder, will cosying up to him come at a price?

One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill by Mandy Baggot

This is a fun book, so well-written, and very English in style (that means that it is more general fiction than romance as published in America – there’s a lot going on that doesn’t involve hero and heroine being together). Very current with its cultural references, it feels like Christmas in 2017 – just with a lot more snow than you could reasonably expect to see in London (I’ve lived through multiple London Christmases).

The characters were well-developed, all very much their own people. Secondary characters like Isla’s younger sister were interesting and fun to have on the page. (But wouldn’t it be nice to occasionally have a teenage girl character who isn’t a negative stereotype?).

I liked the very real culture clashes between the English and American characters. I think it was done perfectly, especially in relation to the business hero and heroine work for. Chase’s “American corporate” approach totally baffles the Londoners.

This is a very “of the moment” story, with characters speaking and acting like real people in 2017, and heaps of mentions of current pop culture things. I liked the natural way everyone had of speaking. It felt real.

This is also a very Christmassy-feeling book without being cheesy. Yes, the winter wonderland feel is not London as it really is (snow is a rare novelty, not a daily occurrence, and it rarely settles), but it gives you the feel of London of the movies.

I had a little issue – it bugged me because it was a geographical thing I am familiar with:

Like the heroine of the book, I used to get on the Central Line train at Notting Hill Gate (I lived on the street closest to the station’s entrance), and travelled east to work. I had to go seven stops to work and seven home, and it was a journey long enough that I wouldn’t have made it more than once a day under pain of death.

In this book, the heroine, the hero, his daughters – everyone – they travel some FIFTEEN stops across *two* train lines multiple times a day, like it’s nothing. They zoom back and forth between the office in Canary Wharf (far east of London) and Notting Hill (west London) like it isn’t a journey of many kilometres, just to hang out in Notting Hill in their break.

That’s both impossible AND insane!

One big, glaring thing: all the American characters speak like born and bred Londoners. I was sat there. I was stood here. That’s a Britain-only way of speaking. And juddering! Again – no.

The cover of One Christmas Kiss in Notting Hill tells you everything you need to know about the book. It’s a pretty perfect read for this time of year.


Review copy provided by NetGalley.

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