FROM A COZY NEW ENGLAND HAVEN TO THE HEART OF NEW ORLEANS COMES ONE HOLIDAY THAT’LL CHANGE THEIR LIVES
Greta Russakoff loves her tight-knit family and tiny Maine hometown, but they can’t seem to understand what it’s like to be a lesbian living in such a small world. When an act of familial meddling goes way too far, she realizes just how desperately she needs space to figure out who she is.
Truman Belvedere’s heart is crushed when he learns that his boyfriend has a secret life including a husband and daughter. Reeling, all he wants is a place to lick his wounds far, far away from Louisiana.
Enter a mutual friend with a life-altering idea: swap homes for the holidays. For one perfect month, Greta and Truman will have a chance to experience a whole new world…and maybe fall in love with the partner of their dreams. But all holidays must come to an end, and eventually these two transplants will have to decide whether the love (and found family) they each discovered so far from home is worth fighting for.
I was seriously looking forward to this book, from the first time I saw it coming out. A great premise, two people switching places, so that they can get away from the strain of their current lives. And there was so much to unpack in this book! *Side note: I do have to say that I would not call this an LGBT romcom. It didn’t strike me as a romcom at all.* It is a long book, nearly 500 pages, but when you essentially have two romance novels in one book, it’s going to be a long one, and very little of the book was “filler”.
Greta, whose family is…a challenge. I honestly could not figure out how she dealt with all the family dysfunction she did for so long. Her mother was controlling, even though she pretended not to be, her oldest sister was for all intents and purposes a b*tch, and her father could not be bothered to support his child. So, Greta looked to get away, see a bit of the world, enjoy some time in the complete opposite of small town Maine, New Orleans. While she was there, she not only fell in love with Carys, but also with the city, the people, the friends she made, even the plant life. And she learned that people with mature relationships don’t treat their friends and family as if their thoughts and cares don’t matter. The visuals of New Orleans were so good. I just loved that!
Truman, who had another bad relationship, had to leave town to avoid being hurt further by his cheating boyfriend (small spoiler: cheating boyfriend gets his in the end 🙂 ). He swaps with Greta, heading to Owl Island, Maine, and falls in love with the small town feel, where everyone knows everyone else, where people help each other, whether it’s glass jars or helping to care for family members. And of course he falls in love with Ash, who, to be honest, was struggling. Having dealt with the exact thing Ash was going through, it is a drain, it pulls everything you have to give, until you feel stretched so thin, you’re not sure how you don’t break. That was the place where Ash was, and Truman was there to hold his hand, and help give him a little peace. It warmed my heart so much. When you are in that place, the smallest gesture means more than people know, and Truman did all he could to help Ash stand up and find his life again.
This book had so much heart, so much love, and such a level of caring, not just between the four MC’s, but even the side characters. Muriel, Greta’s plant loving friend, Ronnie and Helen, Carys’s housemates, who Greta quickly found a bond with, outside of Carys. Truman meeting the restaurant owners that Ash would be working with on their new project (now THAT was funny stuff). Ramona who was the one that put the swap into place for them. And both Truman and Greta learning how to be mature adults, engage in relationships that are not toxic.
This book had real emotions, and connection between all the characters, main and side, and it was hard sometimes for me to remember I was reading a book, and not living some of that life myself. It broke my heart a bit in many places (hence, the not a romcom), but definitely put it back together again.
I definitely recommend this one. It’s a great holiday read.
4.5 pieces of eye candy
Roan Parrish lives in Philadelphia, where she is gradually attempting to write love stories in every genre.
When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.
More info is at my website: roanparrish.com
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