REVIEW: Boyfriends of Christmas Past by Edie Grace
A magical, modern-day Christmas Carol
Digital designer Emma Wallace is finally poised for her big break: kitchenware giant Johnson Cookware is looking to rebrand – and with Christmas around the corner, Emma’s long-held philosophy of work-before-play may just give her the edge she needs to win the account.
The only peppermint twist in her Scrooge-worthy plan? She’s promised her ever-patient, architect boyfriend Sam Cole that after spending the last three Christmases in her office instead of in his arms, she’ll make this holiday just about the two of them. But as Christmas Eve draws near and the deadline crunch threatens her promise to Sam, Emma finds herself visited by three boyfriend “ghosts” of Christmases past, who come bearing the gift of hindsight.
Will showing Emma her past romantic failures, as well as her early courtship with Sam, help her to see the path to true happiness in time to save her future?
Dear Ms. Grace,
This holiday novella sounded cute. Emma isn’t a Scrooge per se so much as a woman determined to not be dependent on any man to support her as she saw her mother supported after leaving a career she loved and then having to pinch pennies. But things haven’t gone exactly as Emma planned. Can seeing some past mistakes be a way to save her from making another one?
Emma is young, dedicated, and subject to a tyrannical boss but when a chance to pitch her ideas for a dream account occurs right before Christmas, that’s the way the snowflakes fall. Even realizing that this is what’s needed for the set-up to work, it was still disheartening to see an account company so tone deaf as to what this would require from an ad agency.
After seeing Sam and Emma together, even without his POV it’s easy to see how much he cares for her. With Emma so wrapped up in her job, though, at first I wasn’t seeing how important Sam was to her. He was coming off as a Too Perfect Hero for a while. I was getting a clear view of Emma as an overworked Generation Y.
The “boyfriend” visitations were suitably Dickensian with the first and third of them working better for me. Boyfriend Past showed Emma some things she’d not known or seen before. Boyfriend Future reminded her of how she met Sam and showed her how great he is – and how much she made Sam wait due to work. But with Boyfriend Present I got the feeling Emma remembered nothing about their break-up even though it was fairly acrimonious. This really made no sense to me beyond being needed to present this information to the reader. There is also no effort made to explain how all this paranormal stuff is working which is actually better IMO then shoving in some unbelievable story mechanics.
I was also increasingly worried that Emma would somehow be required to sacrifice her job in order to salvage her chance of a future with Sam. The way that things worked out was inventive and managed to get Emma a career boost while Sam ended up with his dream job as well. It’s also clear that Sam doesn’t view what happened as Emma just trying to scramble back into his life. Nicely done. If only the second visitation had worked better for me. B-