Bibra, Suleena. Two Christmases. Carina Press & Carina Adores (Harlequin), Carina Press, 2022. pp. ISBN 9780369718792 $4.99
While the premise is fun and has Hallmark-movie esque bones, with a native New York auction house employee falling for a southern cowboy client, it was a push to get through. Sonia, who dreams of interior design over the art auction house business, is up for a furniture promotion she isn’t sure she wants, and Beau, looking to outfit the offices of his green business venture to appeal to clients with money, is looking for guidance when they meet and Sonia uses his need to feed her desires. The attraction is strong, they debate over where Christmas is best, the city or country, and she takes him to her favorite haunts, including a 170-stall holiday shopping bazaar, a theatre running Christmas episodes of television shows, multiple Christmas parties and more. Hot chocolate is running through their veins.
They consummate their relationship early and with fairly mechanical precision, little variation or dialogue, and zero of the awkwardness or consent conversations that punctuate real-life encounters. She defines what I’d consider pedestrian as the best sex of her life. He calls her Baby Girl with great affection, which I personally found disturbing. Relationship-phobic Sonia dreads the ease with which they come together and tries to set boundaries–she KNOWS he’s going back home–and fails. His invitation to visit on his turf shouldn’t take her by surprise. She agrees to go and experience a country Christmas.
The writing is disappointingly amatuer. Descriptions are detailed, but not sensory, mostly just visual observations. Indian culture is nicely integrated with names, family dynamics and specific Hindi definitions, references to chai and cookies and Indian soap operas. Adverbs are over(ly) used and the writing it repetitive. Sonia smacks Beau on the ass on their way into the LEGO store, and he –her client–doesn’t react. She insults him throughout the first quarter of the book, calling him variations of “Old MacDonald.” These behaviors are unattractive and rude, and the character is not developed enough and the writing is not good enough to pass it off as flirtation or banter. I pushed through the predictable ending.
I received a free advance reader’s review copy of #TwoChristmases from #NetGalley