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REVIEW: Dating Mr. December (aka Decent Exposure) by Phillipa Ashley

“When a nice girl asks twelve men to get naked, it's sure to cause a scandal-

Emma Tremayne leaves her high-powered PR job and moves to the Lake District looking for peace, quiet-and celibacy. So perhaps it's not the best idea when, in the spirit of "community-mindedness," she agrees to help the local mountain rescue team fund raise by putting together a "tasteful" nude calendar. Especially since quite a lot of the community seems to mind what she's up to-including the tall, dark and handsome Mr. December, Will Tennant, who appears to have gotten the wrong impression about Emma's intentions. So how does she convince him that he's more than just the flavor of the month?”

Dear Ms. Ashley,

Your publicist had already contacted us about potentially reviewing your book, “Dating Mr. December” when we featured you in our First Sale series. That, plus the interesting information that there was a movie made from the book which would be airing soon in the US and also out on DVD got me moving on reading it. Even though it’s not truly a Christmas themed book, I still think readers will enjoy it for the holidays.

Dating Mr. December (aka Decent Exposure) by Phillipa Ashley The workplace issues/snake boyfriend/skank boss are a reasonable set up for Emma to leave her high paying job. It was more of a stretch to think she’d end up in Cumbria, which I gather is not far from the ‘back of beyond,’ but that’s required for the plot. Once there, I liked the local color though I’d love to know what a real Cumbrian accent sounds like.
I enjoyed the rescue team scenes with lots of male camaraderie and teasing about the idea of the calendar and then about the actual photos. But isn’t a nudie calendar as a fund raiser wearing thin by now? Do these things still sell or is the public surfeited with them?
Will’s reluctance about the calendar makes sense from his POV – he thinks it will make them look silly and a laughing stock and less professional – all guy concerns. At least he acknowledges that Emma has done a good job presenting the idea.

Will’s response of pushing Emma into absieling – indeed his response of pushing her, period – also seems so guy. A little boy response of teasing someone he’s actually interested in. But then he also does the guy thing of pushing her away when he’s startled by his attraction to her. I like that when he does realize what he’s doing – acting like a horny schoolboy – he decides he wants better in their relationship – he wants to earn her respect.

But I am appalled with Will that he initiates then continues with the foreplay while in Emma’s workplace. She maintains some degree of professionalism and given his status and experience as a businessman he should also. He only just redeems himself by being appalled too. His caveman actions are balanced a bit by the times when he feels clumsy and gauche in her presence. Brava that Emma decides that she wants – and deserves – more than she knows (at the time) Will is willing or able to give. She does keep her eyes open until she falls in love. And even then, she thinks her feelings are returned before giving in.

Will moves himself back into my good graces as once he hears the story of why Emma arrived in the area, he’s all man, wanting to defend and protect her. And also beat up the idjut who’d hurt her. For me it showed a growth of real feelings for her beyond simple attraction. He starts to understand her better and feels protective, showing her affection and respect – not just lust or manners.

I like that Emma believes in Will before she hears the truth about his broken engagement. She doesn’t automatically project his past onto their potential future and she’s willing to take the chance. The reason she’s so hurt is not what she’s been told he did to Kate – though she feels for Kate – but that he doesn’t ask her to stay. He doesn’t or can’t take the leap of faith in them to commit. That’s what hurts her the most and makes her leave.

But oh the lovely groveling scene when Will Reveals All (well, all except for his middle name) and finally gets out what he really feels for Emma. That plus the fact that his reasoning for not having told people what truly happened with his first engagement makes sense, again in a guy way, and that he’d be willing to move to London for Emma’s job leaves me satisfied. Since this was your first book, I’m hoping that I will enjoy the others you’ve written just as well if not more. B

~Jayne

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Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

13 Comments

  1. ‘Dear Author’ happiness | Author Phillipa Ashley
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 11:13:52

    [...] Jayne at Dear Author reviewed Dating Mr December too. I got a B – and from Dear Author, I’ll take that and run! Go take a [...]

  2. Kate Pearce
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 11:46:50

    I loved this book. As soon as I read about how grumpy Will was, I knew he was going to be the hero.:) It reminded me a lot of Katie Fforde’s books whom I also love.

  3. Jayne
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 11:50:39

    @Kate Pearce: I used to read some of Fforde’s books years ago when I first got into Chick Lit. Will is indeed a grumpy puss.

  4. Tweets that mention REVIEW: Dating Mr. December (aka Decent Exposure) by Phillipa Ashley | Dear Author -- Topsy.com
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 11:57:30

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by DanielleJ, dearauthor. dearauthor said: NewPost: REVIEW: Dating Mr. December (aka Decent Exposure) by Phillipa Ashley http://bit.ly/hgvpdA [...]

  5. Sunita
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 12:05:07

    I really liked this as well. I was more bothered by the abseiling scene, but probably because I have a horrible fear of heights and divide the world into those that are oblivious/annoyed and those that are kind about it. My palms were probably sweating as I read it.

    And the groveling scene was excellent!

  6. Jayne
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 12:28:42

    @Sunita: But I think Will wanted to be kind about it – remember he was kicking himself once he realized how afraid Emma is of heights. But she wouldn’t back down so as not to lose face so there wasn’t much he could do at that point.

    And a good grovelling scene will get me to forgive a lot. Not that there was that much to forgive here…

  7. Phillipa Ashley
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 13:23:28

    @Jayne:

    Hi – Sunita. I HATE heights and get the whole sweaty palm, imminent fear of death thing when I’m near sudden drops. But I decided I had to experience the fear for the scene. My husband’s cousin, Philip, was in the Guinnness Book of Records for abseiling over 800ft off a TV mast and he took me abseiling. It was only about 50ft off a rockface in Staffordshire but I wept for half an hour before I stepped off the edge. It is actually, very easy once you step over – but I wouldn’t want to experience the fear of it again. In the film and the book, Will says :The rope could take a bus and not break. That’s actually what Philip said to me!

  8. elizs
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 13:55:10

    I saw the Lifetime movie (12 Men of Christmas) made from this story last year . . . basically because I’ll watch anything that Kristin Chenoweth is in.

  9. Sunita
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 20:29:59

    @Phillipa Ashley: I appreciated how you showed Will suddenly realizing Emma’s fear. I think it got to me precisely because you depicted it so well. I empathized with her fears from the very beginning, so I saw it coming long before he did and I kept wanting him to pick up on it!

  10. Sunita
    Dec 17, 2010 @ 20:31:52

    @Phillipa Ashley: Oops, I hit submit too soon. I am in awe that you did that! Although I know what you mean about the rope. I found climbing an indoor wall in harness far easier than walking near a sheer drop.

  11. readinrobin
    Dec 20, 2010 @ 10:05:31

    I enjoyed the Lifetime movie, and did not realize it was from a book until I read this review! I’ll definitely have to keep an eye out for the book now.

  12. DA Weekly Deals: 29 Books Under $2.99 | Dear Author
    Jun 22, 2011 @ 13:58:46

    [...] Dating Mr. December by Phillipa Ashley 1.46 Amazon | Nook | Sony | Kobo | B Review from Jayne [...]

  13. REVIEW: Fever Cure by Phillipa Ashley
    Jun 12, 2012 @ 10:25:11

    [...] of stories in the UK which are now being reprinted in the US by Sourcebooks. Jayne enjoyed “Dating Mr. December“ and frankly from her review, it sounds like I would too.  I guess the main difference [...]

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