From the writer of the Netflix sensation, A Christmas Prince, and Christmas Camp, the Hallmark movie and novel,comes a heartwarming new Christmas story, Finding Christmas, showing how sometimes the detour in your journey is the path to true love.
With all the glittering decorations, twinkling lights, snow angels, gingerbread men and mistletoe, Christmas is Emmie’s first love.
This year, she can’t wait to share her favorite Christmas traditions with her boyfriend, Grant. She thinks he’s “the one.” So when Grant’s hectic work schedule has him more “Bah Humbug” than “Ho, Ho, Ho,” Emmie creates a holiday-themed scavenger hunt to help him find his Christmas spirit. At the end of the journey, Grant will arrive at the charming town of Christmas Point where she’s planned a romantic weekend filled with holiday activities.
But Emmie’s plan backfires when a mix-up has the wrong guy following her clues! Sam, a best-selling mystery writer, thinks Emmie’s clever Christmas riddles are from his agent, who is trying to help him get over his epic writer’s block.
When he arrives at Christmas Point and finds the stunned Emmie, he immediately feels she’s someone special, but she can’t see beyond the fact that the wrong guy has shown up. Inspired by the small, charming town, Sam decides to stay and convinces Emmie to join him in a little holiday fun while she waits for Grant.
When Grant finally shows up, Emmie is disappointed to discover he’s not enjoying the activities she planned and can’t help wonder if he’s really the one for her. She also can’t get Sam out of her mind and all the great times they had together. With Christmas coming fast, Emmie will need the magic of the season to help steer her in the direction of true love…
"Karen Schaler...a holiday publishing darling.” – Entertainment Weekly
KAREN SCHALER is a three-time Emmy Award-winning storyteller, author, screenwriter, journalist, and national TV host.
Karen writes Christmas movies for Netflix, Hallmark, and Lifetime, including the Netflix, hit A Christmas Prince, and has written six beloved holiday rom-com novels, including Love Always, Christmas, A Royal Christmas Fairy Tale, Christmas Ever After, Finding Christmas, Christmas Camp Wedding, and Christmas Camp.
Karen's novels and many of her movies are being translated and sold worldwide.
Before writing her Christmas Camp debut novel for HarperCollins, Karen wrote the Hallmark original Christmas Camp movie and continues to create real-life immersive Christmas Camp experiences for grownups, held worldwide and virtually, where Karen carefully curates and hosts magical holiday activities from her movies and novels.
Karen has another exciting debut in 2022, her first highly-anticipated scripted multi-cast Audible Original Once Upon a Christmas Carol is coming out on December 1st, where Karen is also planning to write the movie and novel.
New for 2023, Karen will also have her first summer rom-com coming out as well as her Christmas stories on multiple platforms.
Traveling to more than sixty-eight countries, Karen is also the creator and host of Travel Therapy TV, which airs nationally on top TV and streaming outlets where she features the most inspiring and empowering trips to take based on what you're going through in life.
Karen believes in the power of paying it forward and giving back, and all of her stories are uplifting and filled with heart and hope.
Be sure to download Karen’s free DIY Christmas Camp Guide at www.karenschaler.com, including delicious recipes and activities from all her stories. Sign up for Karen's VIP newsletter, which includes exclusive book deals, giveaways, sneak peeks, and much more!
This book was Christmas STRONG! If you love listening to Christmas music, watching Hallmark Christmas movies, and have a Christmas wreath on your car this one is for you! Karen Schaler has written a couple hallmark Christmas movies and that really shown through in this book. Emmie is all about Christmas! This is the first Christmas after she lost her parents and she is determined to keep her family’s Christmas spirit alive. Her boyfriend Grant is a bit of a Scrooge, but she is convinced that with a little time and a clever Christmas scavenger hunt that she has planned he will see the Christmas lights! But when there is a bit of a mix up and Sam (a best-selling mystery writer) shows up at Christmas Point instead of Grant Emmie’s perfect Christmas might be spoiled. But Sam loves Christmas just as much as Emmie and soon she finds herself enjoying the things she planned with Grant with him. So who really is the jingle to Emmie’s bells?
Festive and sweet this book will definitely put you in the Christmas mood and make you want to take a trip to Christmas Point. Emmie was likable, but oh so frustrating. The girl was clearly with the wrong guy, I mean there is no way Grant would have participated in this Christmas scavenger hunt and I’m not sure how she could’ve ever thought he would? Sam was great, he loved Christmas but I think he balanced over the top Emmie out well. The town of Christmas Point was Holiday perfection! Ice-skating, gingerbread cookie making, tree lighting ceremony, and even a dog named Dasher. This book is not for the faint of Christmas heart, it is a Christmas book for the Christmas lover! I suggest reading it in front of a cozy fire with Christmas music in the background, a cup of hot chocolate and twinkling lights on the tree.
If you like Christmas books that are like a Hallmark movie exploded with a North Pole’s worth of tinsel and candy canes and reindeer, Karen Schaler is your girl. She completely knows how to go all out on the Christmas tropes and make a holiday book full of holiday bling. This featured Emmy, who is a Christmas fanatic. Think apartment exploding with Christmas, but she’s also a generous soul who works at a community center and gives back to others. She’s super excited to spend her first Christmas with her boyfriend Grant… who let’s just say is sort of a Grinch, and maybe not totally into their relationshp.
She sets him up to go on a Christmas scavenger hunt, but her message is accidentally delivered to Sam, a struggling writer in their building who also happens to have a taste for gingerbread. (You can see where this is going.) Cookie decorating. Adorable dogs. Christmas tree lots. Scavenger hunts. Christmas Inns.
One of my favorite holiday series is The Christmas Prince. In fact, I'm counting down the days until Netflix releases the next one for 2019! When I chose to read Finding Christmas I had no idea that the author for these two, book and movies, were one and the same. I was expecting something far too cheesy from Finding Christmas, but Schaler proved me wrong! Yes, it is very heavy on the Christmas theme - as it should be - but at the heart of the story we find two people struggling after personal loss and their need to hold on to their Christmas Spirit regardless. I loved all of the characters, especially Ruby the innkeeper, and the town itself sounded amazing. Finding Christmas definitely has put me in the holiday mood and I think would you as well.
I really wanted to like this book. The Christmas scavenger hunt is a fun premise. Unfortunately, there were a couple of issues for me. First, the author did a lot of telling rather than showing and the telling was super repetitive. How many times does the reader need to be reminded that it's the main character's favorite holiday because it helps her feel close to her dead parents? Second, the characterization felt forced. Obviously the perfectionist, over-scheduled woman is eventually going to open her eyes to see that she enjoys life and feels loved when she allows herself to relax and the sweet "wrong" guy will help her reach this revelation. But seriously, she felt manic for most of the book and her stupid boyfriend was so obviously not into anything she had going on. She kept defending him and saying how much he would love some activity or other that even the reader, who had literally gotten one short scene with him, knew that wasn't the case. Who are you trying to convince, girl? I spent at least half the book wanting to smack her upside the head. There are lots of other, better Christmas romances to curl up with. *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Typically, I'm staunchly opposed to quitting a book unless it needs to be burned in hellfire. However, when it comes to Christmas books, I'm much more liberal with DNFing. Such was the case here.
*steeples fingers and leans back in leather chair in vast library of delicious smelling old books and adjusts monocle*
This one sucks.
Let's be honest. Christmas books and movies teeeend to be a lower caliber in terms of quality. Very formulaic. Less editing. Stiff dialogue. Cheesy happily-ever-after without problems that are too difficult along the way. Yep, we all know this.
But some are just not good. Period. This book needed tighter editing. Even for a Hallmark style book. The sentence structure had many state-of-being verbs which NEED to be changed up or the book will feel flat.
The dialogue was unbearably scripted and lacked any feeling of organic flow. The whole "As you know, So-and-So, I love Christmas so I'm going to buy seventeen wreaths and then some. Also, I love Christmas because of great Christmas memories with my parents who loved Christmas so I'm doing Christmas so hard to honor their memory of loving Christmas... Christmas." I wish I was mostly kidding. But the trajectory of this character led me to believe she would have the personality of a linoleum tile.
And there's some major info dumping. Case in point: "Her mom had taught her the trick to keeping [poinsettias] alive long after Christmas by always making sure to put them in bright but indirect light, keeping them moist, and never letting them sit in standing water." So if you want to know how to care for poinsettias, pick up a copy of this book because it will continue to educate you on their care for the better part of the page. This feels like the classic author foible when they did research on something and feel they need to include it all because they did the work and don't want it to go to waste.
I'm prepared to cut Christmas books some slack. But unfortunately, this all happened in the first nine pages and when she looked up "into the most piercing blue eyes she'd ever seen" and "the man's ruggedly handsome good looks almost made her forget about the wreath, until his sexy laugh snapped her back to reality," I had to snap the book shut and call this one a dud. No one needs to fight over an eighteenth Christmas wreath.
I'd rate this a G for what I read, but chipper reminder I only got nine pages in.
This was the cheesiest, most wholesome thing I've ever read, and I fucking loved every second of it. It read exactly like a Hallmark/Netflix Christmas special, which was exactly what I was hoping for from the woman who wrote A Christmas Prince. Also, the shameless self-plugs in this book are the kind of energy I'm living for.
I really hope this gets turned into a movie one day!
3.5 stars. It's cute and cheesy, but sometimes not the best writing to connect to the characters. I also did not enjoy the author's advertisement for her movies on TV/Netflix inside the story. It felt really fake and a bit sleezy.
This was just like watching a Hallmark movie. I devoured this book and I never put it down, It was a great holiday read and I want to go to Christmas Point so bad now. I am a huge fan of Schaler's , now on to her new Christmas book.
Okay, so it's going to look like that I don't enjoy light romances..which is FALSE. I do. I didn't always but now I appreciate them. HOWEVER, if there is a plot hole or if something seems a little too ridiculous I cannot help myself.
1. If a doorman were to mix up tenants gifts in the real world, they would have gotten an earful from either their boss or by a Karen or the rare but still out there male Karen. Depending on how much far the Karens want to push the issue, that guy could have gotten fired. Grant gives me male Karen vibes. I want to know what came of the new and already overworked doorman. Where is his story?
2. I don't think it was fair to Grant to be painted as the bad guy in this story. Emmy knew from the get what his ambitions were. You can't ask an ambitious person to stop and shift focus. And who knows, maybe there is a reason why Grant doesn't care much for Christmas. Some traumatic event that has soured him on the whole season. Sure he said they could take this vacation together but he is trying to become partner at a LAW FIRM. Famously a profession that requires all of one's time and energy.
3. Does Ruby make personalized Christmas Stockings every year for repeat visitors? If Sam and Emmy come back every year, can you imagine the cost of fabric for them? And the collection they would end up having? And what do you do with with? They could end up being on that TLC show for having an unreasonable amount of Christmas Stockings.
So there you have it, my mildly unreasonable take on a sweet Christmas Romance.
This was such an adorable christmas story. Emmie and Sam together was so sweet, i was smiling throughout all the book and hoping for their happy ending to happen soon. Their love story was so cute and charming, i hope the author's will keep writing these romantic holiday stories. I received a free Arc copy of this book and this was my honest opinion.
📚 Hello Book Friends! FINDING CHRISTMAS by Karen Schaler was a perfect blend of Christmas spirit, fun, and love. The scavenger hunt was such an inspiring idea! I would love to organise one for my husband. I love the setting and all the Christmas cheers. The way Emmie and Sam met was dreamy and so romantic. I love how their relationship evolved and the ending was wonderful. If you are looking for a fun Christmas romcom; this is the one.
This was my first book by Karen Schaler, and it didn’t disappoint! I loved all of the Christmasy things in the book!! Makes me want Christmas to last all year round because I love Christmas so much.I liked the romance between Emmie and Sam. They were cute together, and I loved all of the Christmas activities they did together. Also, can I please visit Christmas Point!? That’s my kind of town. The cover is so cute too! This book was like reading a Hallmark movie! I highly recommend. (354 more days until Christmas!)
I know this is supposed to be a Christmas overload kind of book, but honestly, it was just way too much. The word Christmas was used in almost every sentence and sometimes several times in one. I love Christmas, but this was such a turn off. I needed to quit this one because I had absolutely no interest in reading anymore, I dreaded the thought to have to read it.
The characters were one dimensional goody-two-shoes with the exception of Grant. In no way should it be acceptable to just replace someone because of a misunderstanding. Even if that someone is an ass. I could easily tell where the story was going and after having so much Christmas garland, tinsel, and gingerbread boys (yes, boys. Not men. Which was annoying in itself) shoved down my throat, I had to toss it out with the trash.
Not for me though I would watch it as a movie, a short hour and a half light hearted Christmas movie.
It was an okay book, it took me a while to read it. It was a Christmas romance, a slow burner. It annoyed me a bit that Emmie was trying to shove the Christmas spirit down Grants throat… like people are different, we should accept that right? But a predictable ending.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Emmie loves Christmas. You know how there’s some people that don’t mind listening to Christmas music before it’s even December? Or those people that redecorate their whole house just for Christmas? Well those are Emmie’s people. Since suddenly losing her parents, her love of Christmas has only grown. Every tradition and Christmas activity she shared with them, still lives on, through her and this year she can’t wait to share it all with her boyfriend Grant.
When she plans a surprise scavenger hunt she almost can’t contain her excitement. Until she makes it to Christmas Point and the wrong man walks through the door.
Mystery writer Sam, has always loved Christmas and this year more than ever he wants needs to feel the joy of the season. Since losing his sister to cancer, he’s been suffering a case of writer’s block. Without her there as his sounding board, Sam is at a lose. When he accidently receives Emmie’s scavenger hunt clue (thinking it was his agent,trying to cheer him up) things snowball and he finds himself enjoying Christmas Point and Emmie more than planned.
Memorable Moments: I really liked Sam. I thought he was almost too good to be true, tbh. I loved his excitement over the scavenger hunt, his delight in Christmas Point and I’m just saying, I’d probably enjoy making and decorating cookies a whole lot more with Sam around :)
Would I recommend? If you eat, breath and live for Christmas, Emmie is a girl after your own heart. I actually really liked it but can see some might find her a little too over the top (because who needs so many trees and wreaths???) but I thought the whole idea of keeping Christmas alive and her family traditions front and center was touching and really sweet.
Emmie loves Christmas. So much that she goes almost overboard on decorating and celebrating. Without a doubt, she loves Christmas so much because her parents (both deceased) loved Christmas and worked to make it an extra special time for her. The way she loves the holiday season is a lot but it made me smile while I was reading because I feel like I have the potential for going overboard with the holidays sometimes myself. Emmie has planned a short vacation at holiday-themed Christmas Point, and her boyfriend Grant's enthusiasm for the trip is basically nonexistent. So Emmie decides she'll enjoy the vacation jam-packed with holiday activities on her own because she loves Christmas that much.
Interestingly, Sam shows up to the same town where Emmie is. He loves Christmas just as much as she does, and for similar reasons. The two join one another during their holiday-themed adventures, and naturally Emmie begins to wish she had someone just like Sam to enjoy Christmas with. It seems that Sam places the same amount of importance on the holidays that she does. They're a match, really. Except that Emmie has a boyfriend back home.
I ADORE everything about the way that Emmie and Sam end up in the same place. Their journey there was so much fun to read and was so clever. I smiled a lot while I read. I also felt some tension where the romance is concerned. Emmie's boyfriend doesn't show up for her and Sam is there to fill in all of the gaps, but Grant is still her boyfriend. It made me sad that Emmie kept making excuses for Grant when the reality was that the two just had different priorities and interests where Christmas is concerned. That being said, I was totally #TeamSam and I really did want Emmie and Sam to find a way to be together. Because of these conflicted feelings and because of how long they lasted, I sort of wish Grant wouldn't have been in the story at all.
The vacation in Christmas Point was great and the people that Emmie and Sam met there were fantastic and easy to love. I especially loved the lady that owned the bakery and the lady that owned the Inn. Karen Schaler writes amazing, well-rounded characters that I would like to know in my real life.
This one is bursting at the seams with Christmas. It's an easy addition to my annual holiday reads list and it is clear to me that Karen Schaler is one of my must-read authors. I still think that Christmas Camp is my favorite, but I have loved all of the holiday stories that she has written. Just like Christmas Camp and Christmas Camp Wedding from a year ago, this one would make a perfect Hallmark or Netflix movie.
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Thank you, William Morrow Books!
Christmas is Emme’s favorite time of year – although this year is a rough one with losing her parents in an accident – she’s wondering just how to keep the magic of the season alive for her. But, she’s hoping that sharing some of her favorite traditions with Grant – the person she thinks may just be “the one”, she’s finding a way to keep her spirits alive and celebrate one of her favorite holiday traditions. Taking a page from her father’s book, she’s making a scavenger hunt – sure to bring Grant into the spirit. But, the first clue goes awry and it’s Sam, not Grant who arrives to join in the fun – and Emme is left to wonder just why she can’t get this man out of her head.
So – I loved the premise of the story, and a Christmas Scavenger hunt is just a wonderful way to get people involved in the fun. But, Emme was a conundrum for me – and it wasn’t helped by her vacillation or the over-worked telling of the basic plot points. We are told, repeatedly that Christmas is Emme’s favorite time of the year - we don’t need it repeated – and not as frequently as it was. Then we have her justifications and near convincing dialogue about Grant – I’m not quite sure who she was trying to convince since it was obvious to me as a reader that Grant just wasn’t all that into her – and nothing she would or could do would convince me otherwise. Combined with the all tell and little show, there wasn’t a ton to grab onto as far as the relationship between Emme and Grant went. When you add in Sam, who starts as a friend and is someone she can’t quite get out of her mind, the match (for me) was made – and it was simply a matter of Emme seeing the light.
A bit of a mixed bag overall, even as Emme did finally see that her match, and perhaps her way through her grief and to keep her ‘favorite’ holiday alive was with Sam, and he’s perhaps the better developed character of them all in the story. Not quite as memorable as the first book I read from this author – but it was an ok, light and fluffy Christmas story with a clever scavenger hunt that was different from the usual.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I loved this sweet, fun Christmas story by Karen Schaler. This is what Christmas stories and movies should be about. If you enjoy Christmas cookies, decorating, making wreaths, stockings and snowmen, singing Christmas carols and just enjoying all Christmas has to offer, this is the book for you. Emmie loves Christmas. She runs a non-profit and is in the midst of fundraising and organizing a huge Christmas dinner for a local shelter. Even with all that going on, she wants to plan a perfect Christmas getaway for her boyfriend, a busy lawyer, and herself. She puts together a scavenger hunt for him to follow to that they will meet up at Christmas Point where she can share all her favourite Christmas traditions. What happens when someone else follows her clues?
It is a familiar theme, the workaholic who doesn't treat his partner with the respect and care they deserve, but this book had a bit of a twist. When Sam shows up in Christmas Point instead of Grant, they end up spending time together, while waiting for him to arrive. The longer it takes for him to get to Christmas Point, the more time Emmie and Sam spend together. Of course, you know how this one will end up, but the journey is so much fun. I love the addition of Dasher, the border collie that lives at the inn. He is almost psychic at times. The people in the town see what is happening between Sam and Emmie, even if they or should I say she, does not want to see it. A fun, sweet, Christmas romance that I really enjoyed. I would love to see this one made into a Hallmark Movie.
I listened to the audiobook of Finding Christmas narrated by Bailey Carr. I really enjoyed listening to this one. Bailey Carr has an easy voice to listen to. She used the right tone, with enough expression and inflection to give voice to the various characters. I would happily listen to other books narrated by her. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.
In this festive holiday read, the protagonist Emmie loves everything Christmas related. Having recently lost both of her parents in a tragic car accident, she is determined to keep alive the memories of all her past Christmases and to keep the spirit of the season which her parents conveyed to her. One of the traditions she most enjoyed was a holiday inspired treasure hunt which she plans for her workaholic boyfriend, Grant, who has promised to take some much needed time off work over the Christmas season and allow Emmie to plan her perfect holiday. When the first clue of the scavenger hunt gets into the wrong hands, Emmie’s Christmas plans look to be ruined. But then she meets Sam for the second time in less than a week and finds another heart which has much spirit as she does.
I loved this book which has put me into the Christmas spirit in September! It is charming, and full of kind generous characters who truly display the spirit of the season. I look forward to watching the movie version of this book!
Thank you to Edelweiss Plus and William Morrow Publishing for the ARC of this book in exchange for the honest review provided here.
I feel like I just overdosed on Christmas. This was adorable, a true Hallmark Christmas romance, which I expected nothing less coming from the writer of The Christmas Prince
It was magical.
❆ The cozy village of Christmas Point. ❆ The Christmas scavenger hunt. Emmie, in hopes to surprise her boyfriend, leaves a scavenger hunt where the final destination is Christmas Point, the perfect getaway for the season. Unfortunately, her plan goes amiss when the wrong guy, Sam, follows her clues. I loved this setup. ❆ The pure, childlike happiness that Emmie shares with everyone around her. ❆ The romance, of course. I felt the spark from their first encounter. Sam was perfectly charming.
It was predictable in the way every Christmas romance is, and very over-the-top cheerful, but that’s what I wanted. I came for the warm and fuzzies and that’s what I got, along with the urge to bake cookies and play Christmas songs.
Is Christmas Point a real place??? If so, I want to go there! So much charm and Christmas cheer!
I loved the secondary characters, especially Ruby. I want to stay at her bed and breakfast. It sounded adorable. Also, there needs to be a spinoff story about Ruby. She was great and I enjoyed learning about her past.
I also really liked Emmie and Sam’s Christmas spirit. I want to be friends with both of them and their romance was super cute. As a dog lover, I also loved Dasher.
This was my first book by this author and I can tell that her Christmas books are going to be annual reads for me. I’m already anticipating her next Christmas book.
4.75 stars Finding Christmas was everything I hoped a Christmas story would be and it definitely helped me find Christmas amidst the stress and chaos of the season. It was whimsical, hopeful, magical and utterly delightful. It was also chalk full holiday cheer, Christmas traditions and seasonal festivities.
Finding Christmas was definitely a Hallmark movie-type book, and admittedly a bit sappy, but I loved it for that very reason. I did find the main female character to be a little frustrating in her relationship with her current boyfriend and rather inconsiderate of her male counterpart in the story, but despite that, it was a wonderful story with the perfect conclusion.
This book starts out slower compared to Christmas camp. But holy boy does karen know how to write amazing Christmas stories. This was sooo cute and just feel your with them on the adventure and so heart felt. Sam I thought down to earth character and witty and just so calm and was great. But to say each iv read for Christmas camp and now this she has became my fav Christmas romance author and blows Debbie macomber out of the water and suggest everyone should read these books 😍😍😍.
Při výběru se musím přiznat, že mě velmi ovládla naprosto nádherná obálka knihy. V téhle knize najdete všechno, na co si ohledně Vánoc vzpomenete. • Příběh je vyprávěn z pohledu Emmie, která je vážně "svátkomilka" jak bylo v knize zmíněno, občas mi to přišla až moc posedlá Vánocemi a z pohledu Sama. Sam je úspěšný spisovatel, kterého ale opustila múza a má také ze srdce rád Vánoce. Jejich příběhy se prolínají a skvěle dějově navazují. Příběh osvěžil povedený humor mezi Samem a Emmie. • Moc se mi v knize líbil nápad s vánoční výpravou. Nikdy jsem o ničem takovém neslyšela a tak jsem byla příjemně překvapená. Sice už od třičtvrtě knihy jsem tušila jak moc je obálka přímo spjatá se samotným příběhem, ale nevadilo mi to. • Autorka skvěle vystihla popisem vánoční prostředí, ale mohla si víc vyhrát s popisem postav. Kniha měla sice pomalý začátek, ale vyplatí se vytrvat a užít si skvělou vánoční knihu. Kromě tipů na vánoční tradice máte i tipy na vánoční písně a filmy. Úplně na konci vám sama autorka představí recept na perníčky, tip na vánoční výpravu, jak vybrat stromek a jak se o něj starat. • Podle mě má tato kniha má ohledně Vánoc vše a ještě víc. Ukazuje na to, jací by k sobě lidé měli a neměli být nejen o Vánocích. Mějte se rádi ❤️
Finding Christmas is a light-hearted and easy read just in time for the holidays. It follows the adventures of Emmie, whose favourite holiday is Christmas, as she attempts to bring some festive cheer to her overworked boyfriend’s life and show him how wonderful the season really is — however, things don’t go according to plan. Her festive-themed scavenger hunt accidentally ends up in the hands of Sam, an author struggling to write his next book after the death of his sister, and that’s just where the fun begins.
I really wanted to like this book, and I did as a whole. I felt that the characters were well-drawn and the plot was well-paced and delightful. Despite this, there were a few points with the characterisation that I found difficult — Grant, for one, is a stereotypical lawyer more concerned with his job than with Emmie. It’s obvious he’s not the guy for her, so why does she keep trying to make it work? And Emmie herself is a bit over-the-top at times, tipping her from adorable and enthusiastic into a caricature. But Sam is appropriately lovely, and the citizens of Christmas Point are dynamic and interesting. I especially loved Dasher.
However, I also felt that some of the dialogue was clunky — like when Sam and Emmie are talking with Ruby about their meals — and this not only jolted me out of the story but made me grimace, too. Another grimace came towards the end of the book where Emmie and Denise are watching movies — and the author uses that section to plug the movies she has previously written for Netflix. Ummm, no. This was really off-putting and a bit egotistical on the author’s part, and I honestly don’t know how the publishers thought this was a good idea — unless there’s an advertising element to the contract? Anyway. My other main problem with the book is that there’s a lot of telling that goes on, and not a lot of showing. We are told again and again how much Emmie loves Christmas, how much she misses her late parents, how her job and her love of the season brings their memory closer to her. The reinforcement of this is heavy-handed and, whilst similar could be said of Sam’s loss of his sister, this latter aspect is handled more lightly. That said, the amount of telling and not showing drove me batty — please stop telling the reader. Show us. Immerse us into the story. Show, don’t tell. Geez. Perhaps this would have worked better as a film? Equally, I felt the ending was abrupt and the jump to the Epilogue a bit of a cop-out. I wanted to see what happened after Emmie realised her true feelings for Sam, not what happens some time on from then…
Despite all this, though — Sam and Emmie really stuck in my mind. I’m still thinking about them and it’s been a week or so since I finished the book. They really did work their way into my heart — especially Sam — and, on the whole, I enjoyed their story. It just could have been so much more than it was, so I’m pretty torn about this book. I have read quite a few Christmas romances over the years, and when I bring them to mind (e.g. Sarah Morgan’s), then this doesn’t quite hit the mark for me — but if you’d like a quick, feel-good, festive read, this may be the book for you.
I received an e-ARC from the publisher, Piatkus, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
FINDING CHRISTMAS reads like a Hallmark movie, and that could be because the author, Karen Schaler, is a writer of television Christmas movies as well as Christmas novels. The story has a nice flow to it with a lot of heartwarming moments, with Christmas traditions at the forefront of giving families in the small town of Christmas Point.
The families feed those in need, shelter the homeless and help those less fortunate to have a merry Christmas. I loved the thought behind the Christmas Spirit Wreaths as well as the scavenger hunt that Emmie put together even if it didn’t turn out as planned.
Emmie loves all things Christmas and starts decorating right after Thanksgiving. She’s the director of her family-owned community center, which was founded by her parents, and she’s always doing charitable deeds. She goes all-out for Christmas since it helps keep her close to her parents, who died in a car crash. Her boyfriend, Grant, isn’t into Christmas at all and doesn’t even make the time to be with her on a romantic getaway she had planned.
Emmie happens across Sam when she’s trying to buy the Christmas Spirit Wreath that he, unbeknownst to her, special ordered. Sam wants it because it reminds him of his sister, who passed away from cancer the year before. Sam and Emmie cross paths again, and an attraction is there.
This story encompasses Christmas with a vengeance. I loved getting to know the characters as well as the descriptions of Christmas Point, a small town full of shops devoted to the holiday.
There were references to Christmas movies and carols as well as many traditions. The romance is more than satisfying, and I would love to return to Christmas Point to meet up with the characters again (hint, hint). The ending is wonderful, as are the Gingerbread Snowballs Cookie recipe and Christmas tree tips (which were at the back of the book.)
I’ve read all three of Ms. Schaler’s Christmas stories and look forward to reading more of her books.