Book Review: Humbug by Amanda Radley

Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
Format: Digital
Release Date: December 8th, 2021

Rating: 5/5 Stars

I loved this book, and it’s probably my favourite of my 2021 festive reads. And not just because the main character shares my name! In all fairness, the publisher Bold Stroke Books are putting out some excellent work, and as much as a small part of me dies when they reject me on NG, it’s overtaken by the sheer excitement when they accept me!

Ellie works as a marketing analyst for a recruitment company, where she is known as ‘Christmas Girl’. Unlike most people, Ellie celebrates Christmas all year round, because why the hell not? She’s bright and cheerful, though desperately wants out of her current job and into a career she actually enjoys. When the CEO’s assistant quits, Ellie is promoted into the role, sticking it out because she knows if she can pull off the Christmas party at the last minute, she can ask the CEO’s help in getting into a job she actually wants. Except Ellie has never worked as a PA, or planned a party, and is scared of heights, making working on the top floor that much difficult. On top of all that, she develops a crush on Rosalind Caldwell, her CEO and boss.

Even from the blurb, it’s easy to see why I loved it. I’m still finding my feet in Romance, but I definitely loved this age-gap, workplace romance – and, see, I’m learning about all the tropes! I would also class this as a slow burn – most of the story is centred around longing more than the relationship, but we do really get to see these two grow as friends as well as growing as themselves.

Rosalind isn’t really a fan of Christmas, but she puts her faith completely in Ellie to pull off the Christmas party. I loved the way Radley shifted from one POV to the next, and there was a good balance between seeing Rosalind’s perspective and Ellie’s. We also get a good idea of their backgrounds, and how they’ve ended up in the places they’re in.

I think Ellie’s anxiety and fear of heights were handled well – she has learnt to navigate the world in a way that suits her, but things get tricky when the only place she can book for the party is on a rooftop. I also absolutely adored Rosalind’s daughter, who is totally rooting for her mum just to be happy!

I liked the build-up, I liked Rosalind’s reservations – her main concern wasn’t for her own career or reputation, but for how any action she might take would impact Ellie.

Overall this was a really sweet, adorable romance, and one I very much loved reading! I’ll be definitely keeping an eye out for more from both Amanda Radley and Bold Strokes Books.

I received this book from publisher Bold Strokes Books via NetGalley. Reviews remain my own.

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