Review : Over the Holidays

Over the Holidays by Sandra Harper
Pages : 325
Genre : Fiction, Holidays
My Rating :

From the back of the book :

It’s only December 1, and Vanessa Clayton has been dreading Christmas since she spotted tinseled trees at her local mall in September. Thankfully, she and her husband, JT, can’t afford to drag their twin boys across the country to New England for the annual celebration at her stuffy sister-in-law Patience’s home. Not that Vanessa has prepared a proper Christmas for her family in years, and she has less time than ever since she agreed to consult on the script of a local play. Her older sister, Thea, is no help — she’d rather make art and flirt with surfers than babysit her nine-year-old nephews. Then Patience drops a holiday stress bomb: Her family will come to California instead.

In between “baking” cinnamon rolls for the school potluck and overbearing Patience testing her patience, Vanessa can’t stop thinking about the difficult but charming playwright at work. Meanwhile, Patience’s teenage daughter, Libby, obsesses over a college boy she has met by the pool, and Thea searches desperately for the meaning of Christmas — for her latest installation, of course. As their holiday plans go comically awry, these four women discover the true spirit of the season is hidden in every festive surprise.

With its cast of interesting characters and a good dose of chicklit-meets-the-holidays humor, Over the Holidays was the perfect book to get into the Christmas spirit!

First, I’ll start with the negative, but I’ll be quick about it. If I had to find a fault to the book, I would say it’s the number of point of views the author chose to write from. I liked most of the characters for different reasons, but 325 is a small amount of pages to tell a story from so many different point of views : Vanessa, Patience, Thea, Libby… even one chapter from Neil’s, if I remember correctly. It felt like too many books put into one, and I think the novel could have used less p.o.v. or 50 more pages.

That being said, I did enjoy the novel and it was a great way to begin the holidays madness! It’s light and fun, while giving you a realistic enough portrait of this stressful time of the year. I thought Vanessa was easy to relate to and Thea was interesting, but I’ll admit that my favorite one was Patience. I really got how perfect she wanted her holidays to be and how important Christmas was to her! She was depicted a little as Christmas-overachiever and an annoying perfectionist, but we learn to know her and love her. And let’s not forget Libby, who was acting like a typical teenager but still likable.

I also enjoyed Harper’s writing. It flowed with lightness and simplicity from page to page, making the read quick and enjoyable. There was some language, but not too much of it for me, and even though it was a third-person narration, I felt I understood the characters.

In short, I recommend Over the Holidays to those of you looking for a simple, fun and filled with humor Christmas novel. There are many characters you can relate too, all with different views of the Holidays. Visit the author’s website to learn more about her. I have already put her previous novel, High Tea, on my TBR list! (what can I say, I can’t resist such a cute puppy face!)

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13 responses to “Review : Over the Holidays”

  1. bermudaonion says :

    Oh, that book does sound great for this time of year. I want the dog off of the High Tea cover too!

  2. Juju says :

    “Lightness and simplicity” I like that. I can’t wait to read it.

  3. Juju says :

    I love the High Tea cover too. Love the shoe, cup, skirt, and pup.

  4. alitareads says :

    This book looks like such a great holiday read! I may not get to it this year, but I’ll definitely keep it in mind for next year.

  5. Amy Reads Good Books says :

    Nice review! I’d love a fun read to get me in the Christmas spirit!

  6. Lex says :

    I’m really not up for some seasoned themed read though it’s the holidays. It will only make me miss my Mom.

    Anyway, I’ll be on the watch for your review on High Tea. The cover is beautiful. So lady like.. and the tea cup and the cute hairy puppy.. Shocks.

    Read it now Kay!

  7. Jemima says :

    The High Tea cover is just gorgeous. I will look out for your review of it in the future.

  8. Karen says :

    I LOVE the cover of High Tea – too sweet!

  9. nat @ book, line, and sinker says :

    sounds cute and festive!! and i’ll take the dog on either cover!!

  10. Meg says :

    Just finished Over The Holidays yesterday! While I did enjoy it, Libby and Patience were on my last nerve by the end of the book… especially Libby. I guess she was acting very teenager-like, but she came across as so selfish and petulant — totally annoyed me!

    I also agree that less points-of-view would have helped me more with this one… or even focusing just on Vanessa’s perspective. Thea was my favorite character — I would have liked to see through just her eyes, too!

  11. Vasilly says :

    This sounds like a book I would enjoy. I don’t read many holiday books but I’ll give this one a try. Fingers crossed my library has it. I love the cover of Perfect Tea. How cute!

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