Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

The Mistletoe Motive

Sunday, January 28, 2024

The Mistletoe Motive (2021) Chloe Liese

The Mistletoe MotiveGabriella Di Natale love Christmas. She also loves working in Bailey’s Bookshop, where she can recommend books (especially her favorite romances) to customers.

But the store is in trouble. A chain is trying to put them out of business, so the Bailey’s hired another manager–one focused on business–to try and save the story.

Jonathan Frost dislikes Christmas, and Gabriella is also certain that Jonathan dislikes her, and maybe wants her gone–at least if the store can only afford one employee.

The problem is that Gabriella hasn’t bothered to tell Jonathan about her neurodivergence, and how she doesn’t get subtle signals and generally takes everything he says in the most hurtful way possible.

Jonathan glances up and meets my eyes, his gaze speaking some cryptic language that I don’t.
I hate that feeling. It’s old and familiar, and it never fails to scrape open the scab of my social struggles. I’m a neurodivergent girl in a neurotypical world, and my autistic brain doesn’t read people the way Jonathan Tactical-Mastermind Frost’s does. It’s one of the very first things that made me dislike him: I can feel his cunning, his cold, calculating mind. He has what I don’t, he sees what I can’t, and he wields those weapons ruthlessly. It’s exactly why the Baileys hired him.

Because he’s everything I’m not.

And in my worst moments, that makes me feel like I’m not enough.

This is important because the story is told only from Gabriella’s point-of-view, and the reader sees a whole lot more that is going on than Gabriella does: such as Jonathan’s actually feelings, as well as the identity of Mr Reddit.

MR. REDDIT: Wow. I thought Austen was one of the earliest and most influential romance novelists.

MCAT: Much as I adore Austen, there’s so much more to romance, and I wish more people knew that.

MR. REDDIT: I wish I’d known, too. Because foolishly I was expecting a HAPPILY EVER AFTER.

MCAT: Well, at least you know *that* criteria for romance—the HEA

There was a good deal of boinking in this story, which wasn’t what I was particularly in the mood for, and it was enemies to lovers, which is really not my thing, but I enjoyed it anyway.

I especially liked that Jonathan had his own things he was hiding about himself, which made Gabriella’s coming clean about her own issues an exchange rather than something one sided.

So it might not have been precisely the story I was in the mood for, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

Publisher: Kobo Originals.

Cover illustration by Leni Kauffman, Cover Design by Monika Roe

Rating: 9/10


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