Sophia is hated by everyone in town. At school she was mean to everyone so when she traded Ted, one of the good guys, for the richest guy in town, everyone turned their backs at her.
So years later, when her husband is found dead and their bank accounts empty, she gets desperate and starts looking for any kind of job. But the only one who is willing to help her is Ted. But, even though he’s willing to pay her to be his housekeeper, he’s not willing to get any more involved with her, afraid he might have his heart shattered a second time.
Character-wise, I have a lot to say about Sophia. So, she lost her parents on an early age and her way of showing no pain regarding that, her defense mechanism, was to be mean and arrogant to everyone so no one would see how she was really feeling. The truth was, she was sad. She had been unhappy her whole marriage but for the sake of her daughter never did anything about it. Now that she’s poor and pretty much alone, she’s transparent. She has no strength to keep up a strong front so everyone can see how vulnerable she is. Overall, she’s strong enough to fight for her life and for her daughter’s but she’s in a really vulnerable state which obviously pulls at Ted’s heartstrings!
Ted has been trying to forget her his whole life and he failed! He simply couldn’t forget the only woman he ever loved! He was still angry that she left him to marry another man but he can’t change his feelings just because of that right? So he does the right thing by employing her and giving her a way of surviving!
But that means eight hours per day under the same roof! Can you imagine how that’s going to end? Exactly. He starts knowing her better, acknowledging what she went through with her marriage and how much she didn’t deserve the way people were treating her now! Overall, I think Novak did a great job with the characters!
What is not so great in my opinion is the storyline! The first part of the book was really hard to read for me because I couldn’t feel it! This is probably a big spoiler of the story but I feel like for some people this might be a no-brainer, so here goes nothing [please don’t read the strikethrough text if you don’t want to read the spoiler]:
Ted starts a relationship at the beginning of the story with a friend. And that relationship gets physical and you have to witness that with some detail! Which was agonizing for me! I was hating the guy so much but then I changed my mind because he’s not really into it! He’s confused and he’s trying to forget Sophia which he’s terrible at! He can’t do it, so he ends it pretty soon, but still! Totally unnecessary in my opinion!
But then the second part of the book is to die for and completely makes up for the first one! I ended the book loving it, completely unaware of my strong feelings regarding the beginning of the book so that’s how much I loved the rest of the story!
Also, note that this is not really a Christmassy story! It happens on Christmas time but besides that, there’s no real connection to Christmas so I don’t know if I would categorize this as a holiday-themed book but either way it is a really good story for the season! Highly recommend this if my big spoiler is not something that might bother you!