About the Book:
Title: Christmas After All
Author: Cece Louise
Series: Happily Ever After All #1
Publication Date: Nov. 8, 2022
Publisher: Jabberwocky Tales
Synopsis: As if ruining my life wasn’t enough, now he’s back to ruin my Christmas.
The only thing I hate more than Christmas is Tucker James—the guy who wrote a song about me after I turned him down in high school. He became famous. I became infamous.
With Tucker back in town to play at the annual winter festival, this Christmas is shaping up to be one of the worst. Everyone in Halften loves the hometown country music star who put our town on the map. Everyone except me.
Years ago, I wrote a not-so-flattering song about the girl I had a crush on in high school. It became my first number-one hit. And made her the laughingstock of our hometown. Now I’m back in Halften, and it’s pretty clear the only thing Melissa Ellis wants for Christmas is me out of her life. But in a town this small, it’s going to take a miracle for either of us to make it through this holiday season unscathed.
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Christmas After All, the first book in the Christmas Ever After All contemporary romance series, is a sweet and charming enemies-to-lovers romance with a ton of small-town charm and wonderful characters. This is a new genre for Cece Louise, who previously wrote The Forest Tales young adult fantasy series, and she transitioned to contemporary romance so well!
The story begins when Melissa and Tucker are in high school, and Tucker very publicly asks her to the prom by singing to her at a football game. After Melissa rejects and embarrasses him, Tucker writes a song about her, which went viral and propelled him into country singing stardom. Almost ten years pass, and Tucker, now a famous musician, returns to his hometown where he sees Melissa waitressing at a local diner that he intends to buy. Melissa is furious when she sees Tucker back in town. Humiliated by the super popular song about her, Melissa will never forgive Tucker for what he did. However, the more time this pair spends together, the more Melissa’s feelings change.
Melissa and Tucker are both great characters, and I loved their enemies-to-lovers, second-chance romance. Melissa was super popular and wealthy in high school, and Tucker was the new, nerdy kid. Now adults, their roles have changed. Tucker is now popular and wealthy (and a hunk), and Melissa struggles financially. Her parents died shortly after she graduated, and she has spent the last years caring for and supporting her younger siblings. It’s an interesting reversal from their childhood, as Melissa put her life on hold and didn’t fulfill her dreams, while Tucker rose to stardom and lived his dream.
It’s clear from the start that there are unresolved feelings between Tucker and Melissa. Tucker is so generous and sweet, and his feelings for Melissa haven’t changed much. He’s been smitten with her since high school, but after all the disasters in their past, he thinks she’ll never give him another chance. I totally understand how Melissa felt. When I was in high school, I broke up with my boyfriend, and he went on the radio and dedicated the song “Cold as Ice” by Foreigner to me. I was mortified! I laugh about it now, but I imagine if I had to see him and hear the song all the time like Melissa does, it would be a different story. It’s interesting to see how Melissa’s feelings begin to change as she and Tucker learn more about each other, their pasts, and more. They have both suffered from tragedies in their lives, and I think as they learn more about what each other went through, the more they can understand and forgive. They have a sweet love story!
The story takes place in a relatively small town, and we meet many unique characters, including Melissa’s siblings, her boss, Tucker’s friends, and Tucker’s fantastic mother. I love small-town romances and the charming people and places that come with them. From Melissa’s work to the Christmas-time events, the story has a festive and wholesome feel.
This is an entertaining start to Louise’s new series, and I’m looking forward to reading the next book. A couple of potential romances were hinted at in this story, and I’m curious to see who will find love next! Special thanks to Cece Louise for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romance.
- The small-town charm.
I would definitely recommend Christmas After All to reader who enjoy sweet contemporary romance or holiday romances.