I don’t read a lot of romance books, so I won’t profess to be an expert. But I do love a good holiday romance book come November and December. So, when I read the synopsis of Meet Me in the Mistletoe, the latest book from Jenni Bayliss, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy! Thankfully, the kind folks at Netgalley and Putnam Books granted me access to an advanced reader copy.
This blog is reader-supported. I earn a small commission from affiliate links in this post when you click on the link (at no cost to you). As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, visit my legal page.
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe: Synopsis
Ever since she was selected for a scholarship to Braddon-Heartmead, a prestigious local private school, Nory’s felt like an outsider. Her middle-class background meant she struggled to relate to the posh lifestyle of her new friends. Despite their differences, Nory and her school friends formed a lasting bond, one that hasn’t faded despite passing years and devastating loss.
Now two of the gang are getting married, and Nory’s on the fence about attending. The last time everyone was together was for Tristan’s funeral, and that night she made the huge mistake of sleeping with Guy only to find out later that he was married…with kids! She has no desire to see him again, but she can’t skip out on her oldest friends’ wedding.
In the end, she decides to leave the security of London and her precious vintage bookstore to travel home to Heartmead for the week where the entire wedding party will descend on Robinwood Castle, a local historic landmark. Her parents own the local nursery in Heartmead, so Nory spent many hours on the castle grounds as a kid while her parents helped with the expansive gardens. And later, when she enrolled in Braddon-Heartmead, she and her friends were constantly getting in trouble for entering the grounds.
Not long after arriving, Nory comes face to face with a blast from the past. The awkward son of the head gardener has assumed his father’s role, and, surprise, he’s handsome! Too bad he and Nory are sworn enemies. What did he expect would happen all those years ago when he threw mud at the back of her head? But somehow, mudslinging is the last thing on her mind when she lays eyes on Isaac for the first time in years.
Over the course of the week, she and Isaac work through past differences and end up on the same side of the sheets. Could she really be falling hard for him in such a short time? It must be love if he’s willing to spend time with her friends, who he thinks are total snobs. Seeing Isaac and her closest friends getting along gives her hope that he might be the one. So, she takes a chance on their future, hedging her bets on someone she least expected.
When Isaac finds out what she’s done, he shuts down and shuts her out. Now Nory is back in London wondering what went wrong. Lonelier than ever, she starts to question everything, including her own judgment. How could she have made such a complete mess of things?
As Christmas approaches, Nory is apprehensive about going home to see her family. Being so near the castle is sure to be more than she can bear. Between her failed relationship with Isaac and increasing tensions with family and friends, this Christmas is sure to be one she’ll want to forget.
But she and Isaac have some strong allies in their corner, people willing to fight for them even when they aren’t. Perhaps there’s a Christmas miracle waiting for her back home. Snow is falling, and Christmas is calling Nory home. Will she answer the call?
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe: Thoughts
Guys, this is the holiday romance of the year for me. It’s sweet, a little spicy, and truly magical. I loved every minute of this book and think you will, too! The relationships in the book give depth to the story, adding elements of family drama and deep friendships to round out the plot and character arcs.
Nory is a complicated character. She’s full of self-doubt, anxiety, and insecurities. Her life choices haven’t always been positive ones, something I think we can all identify with at some point and time in our lives. She was working on herself prior to the wedding invite though. Her new business is thriving, and she’s finally feeling comfortable in her own skin. Just like many of us, she’s hesitant to revisit the past for fear that she might slip into her old skin.
Watching this character navigate the minefield of past mistakes, complex relationships, and new love was a thing of beauty. The tension that results gives the story authenticity that some holiday romances lack in my opinion. It was heartfelt and moving instead of fluffy, which I personally loved! This book reminded me of One Day in December, my favorite holiday romance from last year.
At the heart of the story is the developing romance between Nory and Issac. These two are totally meant for each other: brainy, thoughtful, sensitive, and insecure. The characters compliment each other in a way that’s charming and sweet. While there are some truly flirtatious moments, you won’t find a ton of witty banter in this book. And the spice level might be disappointing for anyone used to spicy books, but it was just right for me.
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe: Rating
Overall this heartwarming holiday romance is exactly what I was hoping it would be! I loved the characters, the story, and the setting. There’s nothing more charming than Christmas in the country unless it’s Christmas in a countryside castle! If you’re a fan of heartfelt holiday reads, then Meet Me Under the Mistletoe should be on your holiday reading list!
Before You Go
If you enjoyed this post, then be sure to sign up for my email newsletter where I share updates about the latest reading wrap-ups and blog posts, must-see book deals, and my What This Week series! If email isn’t your thing, head to Bookstagram to follow along for all the bookish fun!