Blogmas 19: Meet Me under the Mistletoe – Julianna Morris

Today let’s talk about another Christmas book I read recently. Meet Me under the Mistletoe by Julianna Morris is the fifth book in the O’Rourke Family series. Here’s the short description:

No sooner had they settled in Washington than history repeated itself: the welcoming committee of available women. The casseroles. A widower Alex McKenzie might be, but he was not looking for a new wife.

His four-year-old son, however, had picked a new mommy…just in time for the holidays.

Next-door neighbour Shannon O’Rourke was striking, successful and single. Not once, though, had she come bearing casseroles. (Her twoalarm-fire attempt at baking Christmas cookies with his boy quite possibly the reason.) Homemaker material or not, Shannon had resurrected his withdrawn son…when even he had failed.

For that, he was tempted to kiss her. I Where was mistletoe when you needed it?

Hmm, so I liked and disliked this book. Shannon is constantly down on herself for not being a good “homemaker” because she can’t cook to save her life. But she is beautiful, successful and with a blossoming career. However, none of that seems to matter, as she is constantly worrying about her being single and bad at cooking. I hate that, she is too busy wondering about why she isn’t the “perfect wife” to just enjoy her life. Her family making gripes about her cooking doesn’t help either.

And then there is silly Alex. His wife died, he doesn’t know how to handle his son and women seem to scare him. Sigh. The typical “please save me” widower that keeps on fighting his feelings and treating his love interest badly because of it. He is also estranged from his own family, and rather than doing anything about it, he just lets things be. And then in walks the Shannon storm and she gives him a few kicks up the butt and he is bewildered and frightened by it. This typical dynamic just upsets me so much. “Oh no, I am a widowed father and don’t know what to do but I don’t want anybody’s help.” “Oh no, I could never be a wife or mother because I can’t cook. But let me help this little boy and his vexing father.” “Oh no, let’s deny our feelings and make each other miserable.” Sigh.

Also, he is such a condescending ass! The first time they meet, his arms are full of packages and he is trying to enter the post office. Shannon sees this, and steps in to help him open the door. And then he says something along the lines of “oh, I want to be chivalrous, it’s my job to open the door for you, but you are probably one of those modern women who gets offended by it, right?” Calm down mate, she saw your hands were full and was nice enough to open the door. What’s up with that sexist tirade? And then she starts to feel sorry for herself, but then thinks like “oh no, I won’t apologize for being me”. What the f?

I did like the little boy’s relationship with Shannon though. It’s quite effortless, even though she is a little scared about it, he draws her in and she gives him what he needs without giving it any thought. They are good for each other. And I think they mainly get together because they both love the kid. Which is stupid. The kid keeps on being used as the excuse as to why they just must spend time together.

What I did really appreciate about it, though, was when Alex interferes when they are at Shannon’s family’s house. So they are making their usual jokes about Shannon not being able to cook and she gets uncomfortable. She is really sensitive about that and she doesn’t think it’s really funny when they go on about it. But she has never said this to her family. They are quite a joking, loving big family, so if she had said something they would surely have stopped. Anyway, Alex sees that it makes her upset, so he says something to her family about it, he sticks up for her and points it out to her family that she doesn’t like it. Good for him! However, just 5 minutes later he goes on and on about how they are just friends, he doesn’t want a relationship and he is definitely not in love with her. Sigh again. And she then says that he shouldn’t have said anything, because if it makes her family happy, why shouldn’t they? Sigh! She is so confident about herself on certain things, and then an absolute disaster about stuff like this. If she doesn’t like it, they shouldn’t do it. She knows how much they love her, she keeps going on about how loving and great her family is. But she would sacrifice her own comfort and happiness just so they can continue joking about her? Just doesn’t make sense in this family!

Anyway, it’s a lovely story and if you don’t mind what I mentioned above you should definitely read it. And if you do mind, well, read it anyway because sometimes it’s fun to be frustrated. Fuels you up!

Now, for the advent calendars!

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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