I haven’t read any of Jenny Holiday’s books before, but it sounded interesting, so I put it on my TBR and then Goodreads offered a giveaway, I entered, I won, and then I waited for weeks. It finally arrived, just as a cold front brought the temperatures down to the low 70’s. I made some celebratory hot cocoa with oat milk and sipped it while still wearing a t-shirt and perusing Duke, Actually.
Max and Dani meet in A Princess for Christmas. Their respective best friends are getting married and they are the Best Matron and the Man of Honor. Max, heir to a Duchy in Eldovia has decided that he and Dani are going to be friends, so he starts texting her. Dani, a literature professor who is trying to get her cheating ex to finalize their divorce, is post love, post men, and has a list of everything she will never do for a man. Initially, she isn’t interested in having anything to do with Max outside of the wedding. The threat of an evening in the company of her ex and his very young new girlfriend prompts her to invite Max to join her as her plus one. From there, they build a friendship that surprises them both.
Holiday builds a great acquaintances to friends to friends with benefits to lovers romance. Dani and Max have good banter and develop a level of trust and emotional intimacy that was lovely to read. Both have had their expected futures upended, and their usual best friends are swooningly in love and not as available as they have been in the past. Max woos Dani into friendship mostly by listening to her, but also with Nutcracker tickets and falling in love with her Yorkie, also named Max.
I enjoyed Holiday’s deft handling of tropes, feelings, family dynamics, and bucking of tradition.
I received this as an advance reader copy from Avon. My opinions are my own.