Single By Christmas
By Rosa Temple
You’ve heard the saying, ‘opposites attract’ haven’t you? Well meet 27 year old Alex Marshall, a party girl with a penchant for free flowing Prosecco, and her devilishly handsome scientist boyfriend, Charlie, who loves jazz and dinner for two.
Alex and Charlie are together for 11 blissful months until Alex goes out of town and does something she will later regret. Was she drunk? You bet. Does she want Charlie to know? Well what do you think?
With the couple about to spend their first Christmas together will Charlie be the forgiving kind or will Alex be Single by Christmas?
This is a feel good, Christmas novel with very few mince pies, not much snow and absolutely no mistletoe – just a couple of best friends, a sociopathic nemesis and a lot of drinking.
I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
If you’re looking for something to get you in the holiday spirt, this is certainly a book that could put you in a Christmasy mood. Set in the weeks leading up to Christmas, Single By Christmas is first and foremost a story about relationships. Relationships with friends, relationships with family, and relationships with partners. It is a simple tale, but anything more than that would detract from Temple’s point and Alex’s story. It is actually the first Christmas-themed book I have read in quite some time and was a nice change of pace.
I would like to say upfront that at first I did not like Alex’s character as much as I had hoped I would. She seemed shallow, selfish, and didn’t seem to understand the consequences of her actions. But then, as I got to the major conflict of the novel, I realized on my own that those feelings were ones I was meant to feel. Temple does not deal in perfect characters. The closest we get to perfect is Alex’s boyfriend Charlie and even he has his problems. As my readers know, I don’t like perfect characters and certainly didn’t expect Alex to be such, but as I read her make mistake after mistake I started to get a little perturbed. It felt like she was continuously messing up every relationship she had, from her boyfriend to her best friends without learning from each incident. Now, I feel like that was exactly Temple’s plan all along. Alex’s characterization was far from static. It was a dynamic arc and I really felt like I witnessed her change dramatically. When I recognized this, and it was hard for me to admit that as a serial reader I had let myself be so easily led, my feelings for Alex’s character improved immensely. While she is still far from perfect, the things she did made more sense and irked me less.
My only real concern about the novel is that in some parts there was less show, more tell in terms of writing. While I understand the book was from Alex’s point-of-view, more things should have been left to descriptive passages than Alex telling us outright what things were and how people were feeling. It feels like an arbitrary complaint (and more observation than complaint, honestly) but I always agreed with the “show, don’t tell” doctrine of writing. Please note, that the entire book is not like this. There are plenty of passages and chapters that are more descriptive and smoother. As I said, it is my only real “complaint” and is entirely based on personal preference than the ability of the author.
As I mentioned above, Single By Christmas has a simple storyline but it does leave you guessing about how things are going to turn out, especially since we get a scene at the very beginning that actually from the end of the book chronologically. There is one particular event that I expected to go one way and instead I was proven wrong. I was pleasantly surprised by that and am actually happy that it turned out the way it did.
It was great to witness a character I disagreed with become one I empathized with. It’s a lighthearted romp that puts you in a Christmasy mood without shoving holly and garland down your throat. I would certainly recommend Single By Christmas to anyone that wants a fun read with some humor and a little holiday spirit.