“People confused nostalgia with love and end up getting divorces or having affairs and all sorts. No, I think if you haven’t kept in touch for twenty years, there’s probably a good reason.”
The 2020 festive book by Jenny Bayliss, The Twelve Dates Of Christmas sees happily single Kate Turner take a chance on an organised event hosted by a brand new dating app service. But this event won’t see Kate on a single date. Over the month of December, she will be set up on twelve dates, each tailored to help her find perfect harmony. Between catching up with her oldest friend Laura, baking for her friend Matt’s cafe, holding down a flourishing career as a fabric designer, and taking care of her beloved dad, love hasn’t had a look in on Kate’s life recently. But Kate does love Christmas, so when Laura insists she signs up to the Twelve Dates of Christmas, she doesn’t need too much persuading. Twelve perfect festive dates with the area’s most eligible men – she’s bound to like one of them, right?
The Twelve Dates Of Christmas is everything you want from a festive read. There’s mince pie baking, hot chocolates, snowy streets full of decorations, a cosy cafe that serves hazelnut lattes, carol singing, supportive friends, awkward parents, romantic dates (and plenty of them), and a partridge in a pear tree (literally).
The small-town setting and festive atmosphere are both described brilliantly. Bayliss does such a good job of transporting you into her world that I spent half of my time daydreaming about how wanted to live here. The modern twist on the premise is a fantastic idea. However, I would have liked more of a focus on the dates themselves rather than an analysis of them the day after. But I loved that each date was so different and that the men all acted and treated Kate in different ways which gives readers a lot to think about.
Best of all, Kate is such a likeable character. She’s funny, open-minded and kind, but painfully unlucky in love. While I’m happily married and would dread having to face the dating scene again, I was jealous of all the amazing drinks, yummy food, and festive experiences that Kate was getting to enjoy over Christmas. Sadly, her dates didn’t always live up their surroundings.
Although I predicted what would happen from the very beginning, I was in no way disappointed by this book. Festive romances aren’t about shocks and surprises, it’s about the emotional journey you take getting there. And by the end, I have to admit that I shed a few tears. The conversations around Kate piecing her life together were really bittersweet, and it certainly left me with a smile on my face.
I was kindly sent a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, along with some lovely Christmas treats as part of the Instagram readalong.
Thank you to Tandem Collective, Pan Macmillian and Jenny Bayliss for inviting me to join their readalong of this book. I had so much fun taking part in this. I have made mince pies over a Zoom cooking class, baked gingerbread men with my boys, taken part in an Escape Room puzzle on Zoom, and spent a few hours to myself doing some embroidery. These are all things that I haven’t done before, so I’m really grateful for the opportunity and for the amazing group of people I got to share this experience with.
If you’re interested in reading this book, you can buy it here or borrow it from your local library.
The Twelve Dates Of Christmas by Jenny Bayliss
Release Date: 28th September 2020
Print Length: 433 pages
Genre: Christmas Romance
Publisher: Pan Macmillan