Publisher: Head of Zeus
Release Date: December 1st, 2022
Rating: 4/5 Stars
If you’re looking for a sweet romance to warm you up this Christmas, with plenty of squeal moments, Santa Maybe really delivers.
Elodie Martin isn’t the biggest fan of Christmas, surprising as her toy shop is famous for it’s Santa’s Grotto, and specifically for having the “real deal”, her grandfather Jim, who has entertained the local town’s children for decades. It’s the one time of the year she can compete against her nemesis Callum Ashley and his department store. But with his ill health, Jim retires, realising it’s time to ‘pass the torch’ to a new Santa. Enter Nick Yes-That’s-His-Real-Name Winter, young, scrawny, and definitely doesn’t scream “Santa”. But when Elodie and Callum make a bet over which grotto will be more successful, it’s up to Nick to embody the spirit of Santa and save the toy shop.
I loved this. It’s a love triangle, but one that’s handled well, if not brilliantly. To be honest, it was clear all too early which of the men Elodie would end up with, and why. But the journey there was entertaining. Elodie struggles to connect with people, often pushing them away, and she had some truly wonderful emotional beats through this, as she gradually realises that yes, she does deserve happiness, too. It was also a very realistic and emotional reason for her disliking the holiday season, and made her all the more endearing.
Nick is sweet and kind, able to draw Elodie out and help her embrace the season more than others have been able to. It’s a nice pairing, with the grumpy/sunshine trope, and I loved Nick’s character. He’s also bi; one of my favourite scenes was him and Elodie discussing Kurt Russell, a moment which had me grinning the whole time.
Any Crazy Ex-Girlfriend fans will know what I mean when I say Callum is very much Nathanial. He’s handsome and, thanks to his family’s fortune, rich. He’s never wanted for anything, and seeing something he desires, he gets it. Except for Elodie. But as the novel goes on it becomes clear he feels his life is empty, and missing meaningful connections. At times he’s endearing, but there are moments when he just comes across badly. Still, it was sweet seeing him make an effort, and grow throughout the course of the novel.
I definitely found myself cheering for Nick more than Callum, but Callum does have his moments, and overall the book does a great job with all the characters and their arcs throughout. I really enjoyed this, and look forward to reading more from the author.
Thank you to Aria for providing me a copy of this book via NetGalley. Views remain my own.