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The Plight Before Christmas

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Clark Griswold was onto something, at least with his annual holiday meltdown. And since the last three weeks of my life have been riddled with humbug—another breakup, a broken toe, an office promotion I deserved and didn’t get—I’m not at all in the mood to celebrate nor have the happ, happ, happiest Christmas EVER.

When Mom insisted that we all gather at my Grandparent’s ancient cabin for an old school family Christmas, I fully intended to get into the holiday spirit with the help of the three wise men, Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels, and Jim Beam. But those boys did absolutely nothing to offset the shock or temper the sting of seeing my EX on our doorstep the first day of our holiday soiree.

Apparently, Santa missed the memo, and this elf is pissed.

Stuck for a week with the man who obliterated my heart nearly two decades ago, I did the only thing I could do and put on my game face, thankful for the home advantage.

I knew better than to drink that last cup of eggnog.

I knew better than to get tongue tangled beneath the mistletoe with the only man to ever break my heart.

I knew better than to sleep with Satan’s wingman on the eve of the Lord’s birthday.

I could blame the nog. I could blame the deceitful light blue eyes, thick, angelic hair, and panty evaporating smirk…but mostly, I blame Eli because he always knew exactly which of my buttons to push.

I foolishly thought a family Christmas filled with nostalgia was going to turn my inner Scrooge around, but this year’s festivities went up in flames. Leave it to the ghost of my Christmas past to be the one to light the match.

Fa la la la la, la FML.

419 pages, Kindle Edition

First published December 19, 2021

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About the author

Kate Stewart

54 books14.7k followers
USA Today bestselling author and Texas native, Kate Stewart, lives in
North Carolina with her husband, Nick. Nestled within the Blueridge
Mountains, Kate pens messy, sexy, angst-filled contemporary romance, as
well as romantic comedy and erotic suspense. Kate’s title, Drive, was
named one of the best romances of 2017 by The New York Daily News and
Huffington Post. Drive was also a finalist in the Goodreads Choice awards
for best contemporary romance of 2017. The Ravenhood Trilogy,
consisting of Flock, Exodus, and The Finish Line, has become an
international bestseller and reader favorite. Her holiday release, The Plight
Before Christmas, ranked #6 on Amazon’s Top 100. Kate’s works have
been featured in USA TODAY, BuzzFeed, The New York Daily News,
Huffington Post and translated into a dozen languages.
Kate is a lover of all things ’80s and ’90s, especially John Hughes films and
rap. She dabbles a little in photography, can knit a simple stitch scarf for
necessity, and on occasion, does very well at whiskey.

Contact Kate- Email-authorkatestewart@gmail.com

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/79348...

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Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/?hl=en

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5 stars
9,094 (53%)
4 stars
5,553 (32%)
3 stars
1,923 (11%)
2 stars
387 (2%)
1 star
148 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,476 reviews
Profile Image for Christy.
3,915 reviews33k followers
December 17, 2022
5 stars

The Plight Before Christmas was the perfect holiday read. I smiled so big, laughed so hard, and loved it so much! Seriously, perfection!

Whitney is having a rough start to her holiday season. First, she gets passed on a promotion that she deserves, and now she’s back home for Christmas where her car breaks down and nothing seems to be going right. Aside from spending time with her hilarious family that is. And then he shows up… her first love and college boyfriend, Eli.

What are the odds that Eli has recently started working with Whitney’s brother and he brings his lonely new coworker home for Christmas? You would think they’d be low, but with Whitney’s odds… well, it happened. Eli was the one that got away. The one that broke her heart. And now he’s here. And ready to win her back.

Oh the romance in this book… so wonderful and sweet. This book had it. That Christmas magic. One of my favorite things about it was the family dynamic. If you come from a crazy and fun family, you know all about it and it never gets old. I loved every page of this book!

We all know Kate can write angsty, emotional books, but I personally love it when she writes fun stories. This one was such a blast to read. It was funny, swoony, and steamy. If you pick up just one holiday book this year, let it be this one! It was fantastic!!
April 21, 2022
4.75 ⭐️ now THIS was the holiday book I was searching for. every Christmas book i’ve read has been very cheesy hallmark with predictable plots.. but this one was so different. it was the perfect mix of holiday vibes, romance, family, comedy & emotion. I was cackling and sobbing at the same time, thx Kate Stewart! Whitney & Eli captured my cold black heart 🖤 this was one of those CANT PUT DOWN, feel good books that got you right from page 1.

ps. Triple Falls will always feel like home. <3
pss. Chapter 25 will live rent free in my mind, pup <3
Profile Image for SK.
310 reviews2,752 followers
December 4, 2022
Dnf at @54%

I'm sorry y'all I really wanted to like this one but it just wasn't for me 😭😭 The more I tried reading it, the more I hated it and I found myself skimming through a lot.

I did appreciate the inner monologues, they felt natural and were easy to like, also not overly done. I give it one star for that. But as soon as the characters started speaking, I was so done with them for some reason.

I feel bad being in the minority with my rating for this one😭
Profile Image for Kate Stewart.
Author 54 books14.7k followers
December 18, 2021


US: https://amzn.to/3IZH0wm
UK: https://amzn.to/3p5Lqd9
CA: https://amzn.to/3GW3Ymg
AU: https://amzn.to/3sinHIS
Universal: http://mybook.to/PlightKindle

This is an un-EX-pected, Christmas themed, second chance romance.
🔥 Slow Burn
🎁 Heartwarming feels
😍 Swoon and 🌶 Spice and everything nice but most definitely on 🎅 Santa’s NAUGHTY LIST!!

Clark Griswold was onto something, at least with his annual holiday meltdown. And since the last three weeks of my life have been riddled with humbug—another breakup, a broken toe, an office promotion I deserved and didn’t get—I’m not at all in the mood to celebrate nor have the happ, happ, happiest Christmas EVER.

When Mom insisted that we all gather at my Grandparent’s ancient cabin for an old school family Christmas, I fully intended to get into the holiday spirit with the help of the three wise men, Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels, and Jim Beam. But those boys did absolutely nothing to offset the shock or temper the sting of seeing my EX on our doorstep the first day of our holiday soiree.

Apparently, Santa missed the memo, and this elf is pissed.

Stuck for a week with the man who obliterated my heart nearly two decades ago, I did the only thing I could do and put on my game face, thankful for the home advantage.

I knew better than to drink that last cup of eggnog.

I knew better than to get tongue tangled beneath the mistletoe with the only man to ever break my heart.

I knew better than to sleep with Satan’s wingman on the eve of the Lord’s birthday.

I could blame the nog. I could blame the deceitful light blue eyes, thick, angelic hair, and panty evaporating smirk…but mostly, I blame Eli because he always knew exactly which of my buttons to push.

I foolishly thought a family Christmas filled with nostalgia was going to turn my inner Scrooge around, but this year’s festivities went up in flames. Leave it to the ghost of my Christmas past to be the one to light the match.

Fa la la la la, la FML.
Profile Image for jaymiej.
169 reviews
December 28, 2022
5/5 ⭐
3/5 🌶️

🎄 ❄ 🎅 🎄 ❄ 🎅 🎄 ❄ 🎅 🎄 ❄ 🎅 🎄 ❄ 🎅 🎄 ❄ 🎅 🎄 ❄ 🎅

The Plight Before Christmas was the perfect holiday read. This is Adult contemporary romance with dual POV. This book was unexpected. It burrowed into my heart. It gutted me at times. I loved this story. It really was a spicy version of a hallmark Christmas movie and I am here for it! This book had me DYING laughing, tearing up, blushing, all of it. CHAPTER 25!!!! Aahhhhh! I’m so obsessed. As tragic this story was, especially for Eli, it ended beautifully.

Kate Stewart might be my new favorite author. Period. I need to start the Ravenhood Trilogy yesterday!!

“And Triple Falls is small town in every sense. It seems very few secrets are kept here.”

“Why, Jesus, why did I listen to Thatch when he got all thug love the first time we had sex and was all, “you’re going to have my baby.”

“She’s mine. She has to be because my heart is hers and always has been. It’s never been so clear. I loved her then, soul-deep. I love her now, perpetually.”

“Please, don’t argue with me right now,” he whimpers. “I don’t want your Dad to know that while he was worshiping his lord and savior, I was defiling his daughter. Please just…dust.”
Profile Image for Isabella. R.
845 reviews1,569 followers
December 24, 2021
5 Fa la la la la, la FUCK MY LIFE Stars ⭐

Some books make you nostalgic and heartbroken all over again. First loves are meant to serve a valuable lesson, yet in some instances you never get over it and it hinders all future decisions.

I’m not emotionally equipped to deal with his baggage. I have my own carousel to sort out.

Don't get me wrong The Plight Before Christmas was a wonderful festive romance but for me it was a lot more. It was funny and sweet but it made me hurt at the same time!

"Eli wasn’t the guy you were supposed to plan a future with. He was the guy to break your heart and break it in well. I didn’t realize it until it was too late.”

When Whitney and Eli fell in love in college, their relationship could of gone either way. Long term or heartbreak as was their path. Seventeen years later Whitney is celebrating her annual family Christmas getaway in Triple Falls. Except not only is her life already in turmoil, it seems that Eli has somehow hijacked her Christmas.

I don't want to rehash what was written because it's lengthy, emotional, fabulously flavoured with interconnecting stories of the other members of the Collin's family but also a cluster fuck of hurts and regrets.

She’s mine. She has to be because my heart is hers and always has been. It’s never been so clear.

This was a slow journey to forgiveness but I loved the slow burn and watching the past and present of Whitney and Eli collide. Truths and vulnerabilities being exposed and watching two people who'd given up on love a long time ago being proven wrong. This story was wonderful. ❤️
Profile Image for ❥ KAT ❥ Kitty Kats Crazy About Books.
2,223 reviews8,033 followers
December 17, 2021
A traditional family christmas story which threw out all the feels, all the giggles, all those swooney moments which Kate Stewart is well known for. A story I never wanted to end. A story I loved wholeheartedly.

It all comes in 3's well so they say BUT for Whitney it kind of bypasses that.

Then to rub salt more into a gaping wound that is Whitney's life the one man she never thought she'd encounter again is invited to their Christmas family gathering by her brother.

We all have that one
our first love
the first one that ever broke our hearts
The first one you can't stop thinking about.

The first one that got away...

For Whitney that's Eli, even though it was only for eight months he made an impact on her, to the point where no other guy compared. We get to see how they met, how they fell, and how they fell apart.
Profile Image for Lana ❇✾DG Romance❇✾.
2,055 reviews12.2k followers
January 16, 2022
What are you missing? I think it’s me, and I think I’m missing you, and I think we’ve been missing each other for a long fucking time.” .


This book. Is Kate Stewart even capable of writing a book that doesn't completely own your world as you're reading it? This was the second chance romance to beat all second chance romance. And it came with a hilarious family, banter, and forced proximity goodness. If you're looking for THE holiday romance, this is it. THIS IS IT.
You can pretend all you want that I haven’t been inside you, but I refuse to.” .

After losing the promotion that she rightfully deserved to a man, Whitney finds herself in her feels. She recently broke up with her boyfriend because she wasn't feeling it, much like she hasn't felt most of her relationships. And her car barely makes it to her parent's house for Christmas. What else can possibly go wrong? Well, how about her college ex boyfriend showing up as her brother's plus one? The same college boyfriend who was the love of her life and shattered her heart, and she's never quite moved on from. The same college boyfriend who never stopped thinking about her either.
Throat burning, I unravel before her. She’s mine. She has to be because my heart is hers and always has been. It’s never been so clear. I loved her then, soul-deep. I love her now, perpetually..

I loved the way that this story combines a slow burn second chance romance with the quirky family antics and dynamics. I fell so hard for this family and their individual plights. I was equally rooting for Whitney's siblings as I was for Whitney. The banter, the laughs, their love for each other was simply heart warming and laugh till you pee yourself inducing.

The romance was very much a slow burn, and I mean slooooooow burn. And rightfully so considering the history these two had. But man, I loved watching Eli fight for her. I loved him prove to her the man that he is now. And when all the details come out, it's heart wrenching. But if ever there was a man with a reason, this man is it. I loved him so hard.
Have you lost your mind?” I toss over my shoulder.
“Yes. And it’s your pussy’s fault. Now go.” “I am not dusting, Eli.” “Please, don’t argue with me right now,” he whimpers. “I don’t want your Dad to know that while he was worshiping his lord and savior, I was defiling his daughter. Please just…dust.”.

And for those who have read other books of Kate (and I won't spoil and say which ones), you will SERIOUSLY appreciate a certain cameo in this book. I think I may have screamed out loud when they were revealed. GAH. SO good.

This book was pure perfection. It brought everything; the feels, the laughs, the holiday spirit, and the once in a life time romance. I simply adored it.

ARC courtesy of author in exchange for an honest review

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Profile Image for Natasha.
298 reviews350 followers
December 19, 2021
The MC's were in their late thirties/forties but acted like an immature children. This book felt exhausting with the push and pull, miscommunication and annoying behaviour. I hated both of them.
They were couple for 8 months 17 YEARS AGO ffs.🤦‍♀️

I was way more interested in her sister marriage in crisis tbh and that's why i didn't dnf.
Profile Image for Rebecca(lifes chaotic catching up).
334 reviews767 followers
December 21, 2022
Wow! That was unexpected!
This is a second chance contemporary romance about Whitney and Eli who were once college sweethearts and their relationship didn't end well. Eli crashes Whitney's family Christmas week long get away after 17 years apart. He tries to reconnect with her while surrounded by her family who are also all dealing with their own dramas.
I thought I was getting a light hearted x-mas romcom and what I got was a very emotional and beautiful story of family and love .I absolutely, didn't expect to be getting emotional in the middle of the store, and not just bc I was being subjected to the horror of being at a Target 5 days before Christmas! (I barely made it out alive btw)
I really loved it! I related so much to this family, I almost felt like I knew these characters. I was as invested in the supporting characters as I was the main couple. That revelation tho!!!! 😢
Totally loved the Sean cameo from the Ravenhood series! It did not disappoint! This was my favorite Xmas read this year for sure!
Profile Image for Malene.
1,227 reviews569 followers
December 12, 2021
This Christmas second chance romance definitely got me in the right mood. The Collins family is a hoot. When it comes to Christmas they go all out. Music, decorations, food. Literally everything. Every member of the Collins family succeeded in winning me over immediately. The youngest of the Collins siblings is Whitney and she’s hit rock bottom. It doesn’t get better when her older brother Brendan brings along her first love Eli to celebrate Christmas.

The Plight Before Christmas has it all. Humor that pulls on every string, tension especially sexual not only between Whitney and Eli and wonderful romance. This gorgeous story is about family but definitely also a story about love and soul mates.
The bond this family share is so special and it was heartwarming to see and feel how Eli slowly won them over and vice versa.

Kate Stewart has got comedy down to a T. So many memorable laugh out loud scenes. The chemistry between Whit and Eli is undeniable. The history between them only cemented that. It’s a fabulous and all consuming slow burn. I couldn’t get enough of these two and the reward was fireworks and goosebumps evoking.
This story has got it all and delivers. Big time.

5 Bee & Gravity Stars
Profile Image for Jennifer Hartmann.
Author 15 books4,378 followers
December 23, 2021
I went into this book looking for a sweet holiday romcom to finish off the year, and ended up experiencing one of my top reads of 2021. This book was unexpected. It burrowed into my heart. It gutted me at times. I laughed, I swooned, I shed tears for these characters that were so well-rounded and expertly developed. Eli easily climbed his way to my favorite hero of the year. The chemistry between Eli and Whitney sizzled, the banter and dialogue were top-notch (I'm a sucker for banter), the flashbacks were powerful and poignant, and the full circle details were just... magical. This is so much more than a holiday romance. It's a masterpiece.
Profile Image for Kati *☆・゚.
623 reviews208 followers
December 5, 2022
5***** .・☆゚stars

HOLY SANTA! I laughed and I cried, this was everything! And it truly deserves the label Dramedy.

Debbie’s Review made me pick this up immediately yesterday and I second everything she said about it. This was so freaking good! I am so in love with this whole story, the second-chance intensity, the full-blown holiday vibes, the hearty banter that showed how much all the family members love each other and ofc the main characters’s once-in-a-lifetime love.

━━━━━━━━━ * .・☆゚*・゚━━━━━━━━━

Whitney and Eli are close to forty when they meet again after two decades when Whitney’s brother invites Eli unknowing of their shared past to their family Christmas. Whitney and Eli dated in college for eight months but he broke her heart badly and looking at their respective love lives at that moment it seems they both never gotten over this first great love.

“I cried, oh, Eli, how I fucking cried for months. I spent the summer torturing my parents with worry. Serena had to drag me out of bed.” […] “Yeah, you’re sorry. I heard you, but the thing is, the people you’re breaking bread with tonight are the people you really need to apologize to because they went through hell to get me back.”

So this is their second chance. If they want it.

Here are some of my favorite parts:

*・☆゚ Subject: Collins Christmas Karaoke

*・☆゚ the sweatshirt

*・☆゚ Birthday Bucket List

*・☆゚ the story how the parents almost divorced

*・☆゚ joining forces against aunt Gretchen

*・☆゚ the mechanic, followed by jealous, drunk Eli *lmaooo

“Wasn’t all bad…Bee…,” he whispers his pet name for me, a name I never thought I would hear again, and I shake my head in agreement. But it’s the longing in his voice that has my heart seizing. “Remember…me? I casn’t forget you.” [he slurs]

*・☆゚ the ugly fight at the super store

*・☆゚ the ugly reason Eli broke Whitney’s heart (and mine)

*・☆゚ all the truth bombs and the very end

And guys, there is not only the intense second-chance of these two but also a secondary romance with Whitney’s sister and her troubled-marriage with her husband. And the brother and his marriage is not without fault either. It’s all so good. And so satisfying in the end! ♡

“I’m going to make you so happy. I promise you. Merry Christmas.”

This was so exceptionally wonderful, well written, all the feelings palpable and so so well narrated by Joe Arden and Maxine Mitchell, I loved every minute of this 12hrs long audio. And like Debbie, I can see myself coming back to this story like you do with favorite holiday movies.

━━━━━━━━━ * .・☆゚*・゚━━━━━━━━━

side note: The coolest thing about the audio was that Joe Arden narrates not only Eli’s POV but also gives every other male character (including baby Peyton) their voices through the whole book, as does Maxine Mitchell for all the females. It made the audio sooo much better and I wished this would be standard for all audio productions. It was great!
Profile Image for D.L. Howe.
Author 14 books418 followers
December 3, 2022

I walked into this story thinking I would get a Christmas tale maybe with a few laughs and a lot of sexy time. I walked out after I was inundated with adorable sweetness, overwhelming emotions that left me on my knees and love from every single nook and cranny of this family.

This is in my top five of the year!

Seriously what a wonderful story that takes a few hints from hallmark but with a fresher, more realistic view.

I want to be in this family, in the best of times and in the worst of times. Because every couple went through the wringer but with the help of heart and family they came back together in time for Christmas.

None more so then Whitney and Eli. I cried so hard for both of them and everything they went through both together and apart. I also laughed my ass off and swooned at how freaking delightful.

The cutest, funniest part is no doubt little baby Peyton. Omg that kid had my heart, hook, line and sinker.

I hated to see this end but I guarantee I will listen to this audio, which was just as good as the story, every Christmas season.
Profile Image for Tiffany.
100 reviews606 followers
December 22, 2021
Wow. Just wow. This book is one of my top reads for the year. I stayed up until 5am reading this (not a smart idea to start a book right before bed). This book had me DYING laughing, tearing up, blushing, all of it. CHAPTER 25!!!! Aahhhhh! I’m so obsessed. The story, perfect. The spice, so steamy and well written. The ending, all i ever wanted.
Profile Image for NMmomof4.
1,548 reviews3,979 followers
December 26, 2021
4 Stars

Overall Opinion: This was a fun read with more than a few laugh out loud moments. I really liked the crazy family and especially the baby! I liked both characters and I liked their chemistry together. I just was disappointed when going through all that work for reconciliation and then it just jumps into an epilogue with a few, short time jumps and what I call a HFN ending! It felt a little half assed tbh. Why can’t we experience their future or even just experience them as an actual couple?! Otherwise, it was a fun Christmas romance that I enjoyed and would recommend to anyone that likes holiday theme stories.

Brief Summary of the Storyline: This is Whitney and Eli’s story. Whitney is down in her luck and headed home for the holidays with her crazy family. She has come to accept that she’ll forever be the single sibling and that she needs to love up on her nieces and nephews because that’s as close to parenthood as she’s going to get. What she doesn’t expect is for the friend her brother is bringing home is actually her ex from college, Eli. Eli is on a mission to explain and apologize to Whitney for how things ended between them ~17 years prior as she has always been the one that got away. There are some crazy and funny family moments, some big secrets revealed, some sexy times…and they get a HFN ending.

Point Of View (POV): This alternated between Whitney and Eli’s POV.

Overall Pace of Story: Good. I never skimmed and I thought it flowed well. There are some flashbacks, but I think the author integrates these well into the flow of the storyline.

Instalove: No, but there are residual feelings from when they were together before.

H (Hero) rating: 4 stars. Eli. I liked him. I loved his relationship with the baby and the rest of the h’s family.

h (heroine) rating: 4 stars. Whitney. I liked her. I appreciated how she cared for others.

Sadness level: Low/moderate. I shed some tears but never needed any tissues.

Push/Pull: Yes

Heat level: Good. They have some good tension, chemistry, and scenes -- but not so much it takes away from the story.

Descriptive sex: Yes

OW (Other Woman)/OM (Other Man) drama: No

Sex scene with OW or OM: No

Cheating: No

Separation: Yes, but before the story begins

Possible Triggers: Yes

Closure: This ends in a cute place but with I would call a HFN ending because I wanted much, much more!

Safety: This one should be Safe for most safety gang readers
Profile Image for Ainhoa.
382 reviews17 followers
November 26, 2022
Just one month until Christmas and this one set the mood just about perfectly 🥺

I’m gonna throw it out there and I won’t apologise, but you’d have to be the grinch not to love this sweet, cute and overly corny xmas story ♥️
Profile Image for alana ☁️.
430 reviews530 followers
December 31, 2021
this book has it all... wonderful characters, fabulously written heat, funny and witty banters, family bond, emotional, heartwrenching moments, longing, hope, and a love story that you cannot help but embrace.

it's SO much more than a holiday/ christmas romance.. this book has definitely become one i will come back to whenever i need a dosis of heartwarming feelings. i definitely recommend!!! :)
Profile Image for The Book Bee.
564 reviews268 followers
December 22, 2021

THIS, in all seriousness, will be the book for you during your holiday vacation. This was the most down-to-earth, REAL depiction of a family Christmas you will ever read AND enjoy. I laughed. I reminisced. I actually teared up. This was the best. I read more than I highlighted. I laughed more than I have in a long time. And I swooned extra hard. Typical Kate Stewart greatness.

This is the family we all know and hate/love at holidays. So very real in a total Christmas Vacation sort of way. Shenanigans, actualities, truths...the whole story had me laughing. This one hit all the buttons for an easy, light, and enjoyable read. In the beginning, I was like - who is this Whitney chick, and why is she being so mean?? Ok, then I realized whaaat was going on. I continually laughed at how she was constantly trying to justify her anger towards her coworker but the good side of her couldn’t get over the fact that he was truly a good guy. Ha ha Ha!!! I couldn't not laugh at what was unfolding while watching it unravel right in front of her.

Whitney was a quick-witted, cynical - yet hilarious - heroine with a mentality that kept me laughing. She was purging her anger while holding onto her emotions (counterintuitive, I know), and that made for some seriously hilarious mental arguments and actions. There were so many parts that had me LAUGHING and I am excited for so many to enjoy them. Worth noting - I love a strong, alpha male with emotions. Not whiny, weak - but one with emotions even he has to fight. Kate gave me something to love and something to hate about Eli. He was a real person, in that nature, because we got to see that he had faults and we got to see that he was perfect in Whit's eyes. I loved seeing a real man have emotion, whether it be anger, or love, or hurt, or happiness — I loved seeing it.

You know the idea of a memory smell? This was truly a memory visual. I couldn’t help but actually see the shenanigans Stewart was sharing; the fighting, the kids, the decorations - the family camaraderie. It was all there, and the memories it brought about were heartwarming. This was such an awesome mixture of family holiday memories and the likeness of the movie Christmas Vacation - comedic with heart. Everything kind of just made you smile because it worked in the manner of it being a light Christmas romantic comedy, but infused with Stewart's signature, destined love.

Eli and Whitney are a couple that brings the truth to the value of a second chance. The parents are proof of what love and patience can accomplish. The brothers and sisters all show how family can be tested but it still remains core. This was pure. There wasn't any over the top drama. Any unrealistic miscommunication. No other woman drama. It was just two real, honest people trying to revisit some emotions that one is fighting and one is chasing.

The push and pull wasn't there - this wasn't an angsty book, by any means. But it did show me how these tow adults handled a difficult breakup, and then came together. Told through flashbacks, this one allowed me to fall in love with them in the here and now, but also gave me some backstory that I couldn't help but falling in love with. I saw why they worked...but found out why they "didn't" and it was just a well laid out, easy read. Not heavy....just a very welcome, very easy read that I most definitely needed.


For someone who usually avoids any type of holiday read (they're usually cheesy, just like Hallmark movies) and reads very few comedies (they're usually cheesy), this one I will happily and easily recommend. It was a good mix of women’s fiction and comedy, with a hearty dose of romance - but the realness of it was refreshing. I fell in love with this family. It was fun. It was an easy read. It produced plenty of smiles. It was just really cute. It was REAL! I loved this holiday magic. READ. IT.

"What are you doing here Eli?"
"Maybe you're still the reason, Whitney."

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Profile Image for MELISSA *Mel Reader*.
1,360 reviews1,442 followers
December 30, 2021
5 “It’s You” stars!
(ARC provided by author/Wordsmith Publicity)


Whitney Collins is a single, career woman living in Nashville whose life has hit a few road blocks lately. Nothing is going as planned, and after a string of bad luck, she’s looking forward to some down time in the mountains with her chaotic crazy family. They are obsessed with Christmas, and being with them for the holiday in North Carolina is just what she needs. They should be the perfect distraction from her problems, but when her ex shows up her enthusiasm disappears. It’s been seventeen years since she’s seen her college boyfriend. Eli Welch is still lethal to all her senses, but she can’t let herself sink back into the past. He broke her heart all those years ago, and she just has to remember she’s over him, and not lose herself in those eyes. Her mission is to ignore the connection and undeniable chemistry between them, and focus on family and Christmas.


-When I’m with Eli, it’s too much and not enough all at once.

-He used to kiss me as if he would never get the chance to again.

-“If I ever had a chance of having a one, he was the closest it came for me.”


The Plight Before Christmas by Kate Stewart is a heartwarming, hilarious book about family, tradition, nostalgia, heartbreak, regrets, and first loves. I loved everything about this slow burn, swoony second chance holiday romance. It’s the perfect Christmas story with all the feels! Baby Peyton completely stole my heart! <333


Profile Image for Carla Bulian.
1,325 reviews289 followers
December 26, 2021
It’s a cozy read! Don’t get me wrong, this story
is safe and warm!
It’s worth the reading.
Profile Image for Alba and Her Secrets..♥.
826 reviews1,023 followers
December 21, 2021
5 'My source of gravity' Stars!
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Kate Stewart is my favorite author. Period. She stole my heart with the first book I read by her and she took it all last year when she gave us the outstanding Ravenhood Trilogy. So, I completely understand why, after that roller coaster of a journey, she wanted to write a lighter romance. And I was all over the idea of a holiday romantic dramedy! And yes, The Plight Before Christmas still has those unique aspects that only Kate knows how to write, together with the characteristics of a perfect holiday romance: banter, chemistry and heart.

So, The Plight Before Christmas is Stewart’s newest standalone and it’s a second-chance holiday romance focused on the present and past of Whitney Collins. Whitney is going through a rough time, she just had another breakup, a broken toe and she didn’t get the promotion she deserved. She is definitely not in the mood for Christmas, but she will do it because she loves her crazy family. That changes though when things keep getting worse for her, because the man who obliterated her heart seventeen years ago (Eli Welch) is crashing her family vacation and he is decided to spend time with her family and get Whitney back.

What are you doing here, Eli?
Maybe you’re still the reason, Whitney.

This novel is the perfect example of a feel-good holiday romance. I smiled, I laughed, I swooned, I cried. I did all the things because Kate Stewart is the queen of giving us all the feels. And boy, Whitney and Eli surely have a story full of them. This is not the typical second-chance romance, this couple had a very intense relationship that ended very suddenly and without explanation. Whitney is fighting against the connection she still feels with Eli, she is still hurt but she actually doesn’t know what really happened all those years ago. And Eli is decided to explain. And to get her back. These two still love each other so deeply and that chemistry is impossible to miss. And when we finally get the whole truth... my poor heart! I was not ready, and Whitney wasn’t either. I am not spoiling anything, but you’ll get why Eli did what he did years ago. I am so freaking happy this couple found their way back to each other and got their much-deserved happy ending.

“You’re still very much the same, Whitney, in the ways that matter. The same beautiful, selfless, mouthy, family-oriented pain in the ass who looks at me like…”
“Like what?” She asks, her eyes probing.
“Like only you can.”

Therefore, I am rating The Plight Before Christmas with 5 STARS. It was the perfect way to get in the mood for Christmas because I had so much fun with this couple and Whitney’s adorable and crazy family! As I said I loved everything about this second-chance love story because it had all those elements that Kate puts to make it extra special. She is such a talented and multi-layered author and she definitely didn’t fail with this wonderful novel. I had so much fun and I swooned a whole lot, so I adored every second of reading this. The Plight Before Christmas sure is one of my all-time favorite holiday romances!

Profile Image for Manvi.
240 reviews184 followers
December 27, 2021
Kate Stewart cementing her place as my #1 favourite author.

I don't care what you say but Kate knows how to capture the essence of the premise and deliver it exactly how the readers are meant to catch it. Gets me everytime.

Kate, if you're seeing this: "You need to pay the compensation."
You've fucked me up, AGAIN! Ever since Chapter 25, there's no recovery for me. I've died and this is my soul talking. That chapter alone made it a 5 star read.

•Eli(H), my baby, he deserved everything he ever wanted. He was so fucking adorable but my man's been through some tough shit and I just wanted to give him the biggest bear hug ever. *sobs into a pillow*
•Whitney(h) was everything what Jasmine from From Lukov With Love wanted to be. This has been going through my mind ever since I witnessed Whit's wits.

When I tell you that Kate's humour is the best one I've come across in a book? I fucking mean it.

While some of you can say that the MCs was "immature" for their age (late thirties, nearly 40), I say that they were goofy. In fact, Whitney's entire family was goofy and hip so you might as well keep that mind that they could be considered fun instead of immature.

It had everything. The comedy, the tragedy, the wholesomeness, the smuttiness, the right amount of slow-burn (looks at MZ). THE ENTIRE FUCKING PACKAGE.
Profile Image for Jenny Lovez Bookz.
484 reviews96 followers
December 25, 2021
I absolutely LOVED this!! This is a must read when it comes to holiday stories. I was nervous with the cover because I thought it was going to be a cheesy Christmas story, but it was anything but. I loved the family dynamic, they were all so relatable because they were kind of a mess but what family isn't when everyone gets together for the holidays?! I loved every character in this book. This was funny, angsty, emotional....I got all the feels from this. The chemistry between Whitney & Eli was so intense. I felt every bit of that emotional rollercoaster. And then those truth bombs Eli kept dropping hit so hard! 😭 I was not expecting all these emotions but I'm so glad this story went there.

I loved that we got flashbacks from their relationship. I wouldn't have minded getting a whole book about their past. My only complaint would be I would've liked their past relationship to have been longer than 8months, especially if we're reading about them 17yrs later. Aside from that, I loved this and couldn't get enough of the whole family.
Profile Image for Arini.
857 reviews1,767 followers
December 23, 2022
4.5 stars

did Kate Stewart just made me fall in love with a second chance romance?? yes! 😭 and i did not feel even the least bit inconvenienced by all the flashbacks like i usually do with this type of romance. i dont celebrate Christmas, but i feel like this story is everything that the Yuletide season represents: love, family, warmth, healing, forgiveness, and a fresh start.

Whitneys (h) family was a real hoot. it would be a pleasure to spend the holidays with them. the main romance in this book is between Whitney & Eli (H), but theres also “side-romance” from Whitneys siblings marriages. the second chance is very slow burn, but this book has steam coming from Whitney & Eli’s past relationship chapters.

Eli has a heartbreaking, tragic past that might be triggering for some readers. this book is simply just all feels and emotions. its a story that i can definitely see myself coming back to in the future. oh and, theres a cameo of Sean from the Ravenhoon trilogy!! i swear i SCREAMED!! highly highly recommend! perfect read for this time of year.

(read as an audiobook)
Profile Image for Amy | Foxy Blogs.
1,473 reviews976 followers
December 18, 2022
● Whitney (38) & Eli (similar age)
● works at a marketing firm / works with Whitney’s brother
● spending Christmas with her family in a cabin (North Carolina)
● they dated in college
● broke up and haven’t seen each other for 17 years
● Whitney’s brother brought Eli to the family Christmas getaway (not knowing Eli and Whitney knew each other)
● Whitney is the only single one among her siblings
● second chance romance

Audiobook source: Audible
Narrator: Maxine Mitchell & Joe Arden
Length: 10H 53M
Profile Image for exploraDora.
552 reviews269 followers
December 7, 2022
2,5 stars

This review contains spoilers. Proceed at your own discretion.

Ok, so there are a few things I don't ever want to read in a Christmas book:
- someone suffering from a life threatening illness and/or dying from said illness
- tragic backstories or subplots
- overused clichés

This story has all of the above 🤦‍♀️ it started out well, with nice family dynamics, an adorable child, snow and fun holiday activities. All was well, until the two MCs start reconnecting.

Whitney and Eli used to date in college. She thought they were endgame, but after 8 months they break up and don't see each other again for 17 years, when Eli gets invited to their family Christmas by Whitney's brother. Eli never forgot about her and is set on getting her back. And then, close to the end, the sad-fest begins.

In my humble opinion Christmas should be about love, joy, reconnecting, etc. I don't want to feel sad and cry, especially for something that could have literally been resolved in any other way, except the MC having had cancer and describing in detail the heartbreaking process he went through 😕 I just can't with this subject. I am now convinced that there should definitely be trigger warnings on every book from the beginning, so the reader can know what to expect and not be blindsided.

Had all of this not been the case, this would have been a 5 star read for me
Profile Image for Liz | thebohobookblogger.
345 reviews47 followers
November 25, 2022
This was the perfect holiday read, I absolutely loved it. Kate Stewart killed it once again, one of the best I read this year. I totally recommend.
Profile Image for kanira.
88 reviews3 followers
May 1, 2023
everyone go read this rn, i don't even care if it's not christmas. READ IT RN.
184 reviews131 followers
December 21, 2022
This is my very first seasonal and winter read and it went so fucking good. I actually went diving into this book thinking that I would get a light and funny and cute read, but boy I was fucking wrong. Shit went down real heavy. But it was beautiful. It still is a funny and cute read, and also light at some moments. But it has the pleasant heaviness within it. If that ever make sense? I think it got the perfect balance of both light and heavy and it works like a fucking magic. It's beautiful. You might gonna find this word repeated in this review and first I apologize for it.

I never really like a second chance romance trope. I read several, of course. I usually read them when I'm filled with the desire of heartbreak. Let me tell you this, second chance trope is always loaded with that shit, so if you want that painful heartbreak you can find it in this trope. But back to why I never quite like them, it's because it's like I'm waiting a big ass second shoe to fall and watch it fucks up the MC's dynamic and relationship, also sometimes one MC just forgives to easily to the others. But this book...? Well I say this is a second chance trope but it just feels so different than the usual in this trope. I'm not quite sure why do I feel this way but what I can say is that it's so beautiful unlike the ones that I read.

It's just how both MCs unravel themselves in front of each other, I'm gone at that. It's how I come to this conclusion that vulnerability is actually beautiful in its own way. The way Eli confess about the whole thing? If that's not a beautiful vulnerable moment, I don't fucking know what is. I didn't see that shit coming so it felt like being hit with a truck. A heart-wrenching, emotional, heartbreaking big ass truck. I'm stunned by how Kate can paint Eli in his vulnerable moment, letting his guard down fully and opening all the whys on the table so fucking beautiful. Is this weird that feel this? Maybe it's weird. Pretty sure it's weird but that's just how I feel. I must admit that I actually belittled this book at first thinking that this just will be the another heartbreak caused by the guy being a jerk and the girl has to suffer from his asshole-ness. Well, here comes the second "boy I was wrong".

The spice? Beautiful and hot. I never doubt that Kate Stewart wrote best fuck scene, I got that from the Ravenhood series. But the madam did it again in this book. Fuck I have no other words to describe this whole book other than beautiful, really. It's so fucking beautiful. Damn, even the other characters were beautifully written and developed. Not even a single one of them lacks in anything, in fact they are all so equipped with their own quirks and flaws that they're all perfect.

Fuck, this is a beautiful book with beautiful story and a must christmas read. I'm recommending this to you who read this review. Fuck it, I'm forcing you to read it. READ IT.

I'm throwing this into my favorite and reread shelf.
I have never feel a book so good and beautifully written pissed the hell out of me.

Apology for the aggressive review ✌🏻🫰🏻
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