Bayliss, Jenny. Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2022. 432 pp. 978-0593422229 ISBN $13.00
Bayliss’s new novel focuses on a boarding school set meeting on holiday just before the Christmas holiday in advance of the wedding of two schoolmates to one another. Single, curvy, bookstore owner Elinor (Nory) is dreading the get together because at the last reunion, she slept with Guy only learning he was married after the sex marathon that their friends heard.
A scholarship student whose parents worked for a living, Nory’s experience was a little different that her classmates, and the novel provides examples of British class distinctions. As soon as the caretaker’s son is mentioned, between her father’s desire for her to wed a working class hero and Nory’s secret crush on Isaac and EVEN THOUGH HE THREW A PIECE OF MANURE AT HER HEAD AND LAUNCHED A RIVALRY OF STUDENTS VS WORKING CLASS AND RESULTED IN THE UNFORTUNATE NICKNAME “SHITHEAD”… I knew he would be the one to become the love interest.
Lots of characters (and their significant others, parents and children) that are difficult to keep straight. More showing than telling, some evocative descriptive writing and a rich vocabulary. American readers should be aware that British turns of phrase (eg. “out of the boat) are not explained, but usually discernible from the context. The pacing feels a little slow; a few days is covered in a huge amount of detail.
I received an advance reader’s review copy of #MeetMeUndertheMistletoe from #NetGalley