Publication Date: November 30, 2011
In An Unforgettable Christmas by Trisha Wilson, Chelsea Roberts’s family died in an accident on Christmas Day. As the holidays approach, she feels it best to spend time near friends but still feels hopelessly lonely. Nick Collins has found himself on his own with a newborn and while he has family all around, he’s also hopelessly lonely. Can these people find their way through the pain and find happiness together?
An Unforgettable Christmas is a romance novel with an identity crisis. All signs point to Christian fiction. There are pauses for prayers and discussions about morality, but there are principles challenged in the interaction between Chelsea and Nick. It can be prettied up in any language you like, but pre-marital sex is frowned upon in a lot of denominations. Those expecting a clean read will be sorely disappointed. Perhaps one might argue that people aren’t perfect but, honestly, people expect better of their reads. In real life sometimes spouses cheat but no one is looking for that in their romance novel (and while it’s not something that happens in this one, I’m using the example to illustrate the point).
On top of its identity crisis, An Unforgettable Christmas is something of a forgettable read. The characters have challenging backstories that have the potential to be interesting but never really pan out. Chelsea wallows in her grief, which is understandable, but uses it as an unnecessary obstacle at times, depending on your perspective, either gives assurance that she’s being pressed into something she’s not ready for or that the book could use a good editor. The best character, matchmaker Estelle, disappears early on. In romance novels, a reader will sometimes get a sense that an author is planning a series and if I were a betting woman, I’d put money on the idea that we might see Nick’s brothers featured in their own stories.
To revisit the idea of a good editor, An Unforgettable Christmas could use one. There are many quite distracting errors. Let’s face it, none of us are perfect and it does all of us some good to have a second set of eyes run over what we write. Wilson needs someone with experience checking grammar and punctuation at a minimum. An Unforgettable Christmas is less a holiday read and more a coming together of people in need of emotional support. It’s not all negative; Wilson has promise, but her writing needs polish and needs to flesh out the interesting and edit the rest.
If my review has not been clear, I would not recommend An Unforgettable Christmas this holiday season unless you’re someone who loves to dig deep into a character and invest yourself in their pain.
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