An Unconventional Christmas

Fiction - Holiday
164 Pages
Reviewed on 11/20/2022
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

Unlike a lot of people, I’m not that big on Christmas, but the idea of An Unconventional Christmas caught my attention. What was author Tara Fox Hall's vision of an “unconventional” Christmas? Would I agree and even enjoy her concept? When Hall introduced her protagonist, Miss Romance, my first thought was “Oh no…this is a fairy tale”! Well, it does have a kind of fairy tale ending…just perfect for those warm fuzzy feelings we want and need at Christmas, and quite honestly, this delightfully clever bit of holiday fiction is just what the doctor ordered. Miss Romance, in her dedication to keeping couples in love, will quickly dispel some of the doom and gloom we might all be feeling right now about global wars, election upsets, and triple viruses.

When a new client, Viola, hires Cyprus, i.e. Miss Romance, to save her marriage from divorce, Cyprus comes up with a genius idea: have the couple learn to love again by making them find time for each other despite their busy careers. For each of those unusual gifts cited in the carol The Twelve Days of Christmas, Cyprus finds a modern, more appropriate gift for the couple to give each other. After all, unless you’re a farmer or bird watcher, who wants partridges, hens, doves, and geese for Christmas anyway? As Christmas draws closer and closer, so do Viola and her overworked and worried funeral director husband, Kendrick. Like magic, Cyprus’ solution seems to be working but right near the big day, all hell breaks loose over Christmas dinner with the families. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Cyprus is ready to give up on Viola and Kendrick, especially when she finds her own love life becoming too complicated. But, as I hinted above, that fairytale ending is coming and like Santa, it’s well worth the wait.

I thoroughly enjoyed An Unconventional Christmas for its novelty, but even more so for its important underlying message that it’s near impossible to keep love alive when couples don’t take time out for each other or are always putting careers ahead of each other. What Tara Fox Hall gives us through this novel, written with both humor and sensitivity, is a close-up lens through which to examine our own relationships. That examination is both enjoyable and worthwhile. On a parting note, this would make a wonderful Christmas movie on the Disney channel!

Joy Hannabass

An Unconventional Christmas by Tara Fox is a fun and intriguing story that is different, yet a clever way to find ways to put the romance back into a marriage. Miss Romance, Cyprus Kennedy, was hired by Endless Love CEO Viola Bohannon to arrange a dozen perfect romantic moments to save her marriage from possibly ending. The challenge for Cyprus is to use the Twelve Days of Christmas for the twelve romantic moments, all leading up to the finale by Christmas. But would it really work? Was Viola's husband too far gone as far as their marriage was concerned to even come to the events?

This challenge is definitely a clever way for someone to go to extremes to save her marriage. Viola was willing to pay whatever it cost to make sure everything was perfect for her and her husband each night. I thought Cyprus did an excellent job of finding unique items and ideas for each night. It was fun trying to help her along as she searched for the perfect decorations, the perfect food, and anything else that would make each night better than the one before. The characters were difficult at times, especially Viola. She was very demanding, wanting her way, which made me wonder if she was the main issue in the marriage. Her husband seemed more easygoing. Cyprus was a difficult person too at times, but maybe it was the challenge working on her mind. To find out more and if the whole Twelve Days of Christmas theme works for Viola's marriage, grab a copy of An Unconventional Christmas by Tara Fox. It's a short book and you can read at your own speed. I highly recommend this story for a nice holiday read.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

In An Unconventional Christmas by Tara Fox Hall, we learn that Miss Romance, known as Cyprus or Cy, has been presented with a demanding assignment that will pay well if she succeeds. Viola has hired Cy to save her failing marriage, but she’s added an additional, almost impossible challenge. Cy has to create twelve romantic moments, leading up to a Christmas finale, all based on the lines of the Twelve Days of Christmas. The ever-creative Cy reluctantly accepts and lives up to the challenge. The only thing is, not only is she contriving a chain of events to re-spark on old romance, but she’s entrenched in her romantic dilemmas as well – and not with just one man! Will she succeed, both for herself and her client?

Tara Fox Hall’s An Unconventional Christmas is a clever romance that will warm the hearts of readers. The plot follows Cy’s presentation of Viola’s challenge through the complexity of figuring out a plausible series of romantic events based on a lengthy Christmas carol. Through dialogue and descriptive narrative, the reader is instantly enthralled by the story. The characters are well-developed and believable and the tender romances that seep through the pages are brilliantly executed. Everything about the story, including the plot, the characters, and the romances, is just as unconventional as the title suggests. Who would have thought that two women, both involved in separate romantic endeavors, Viola in the floral industry and Cy as a romance consultant, would need the other to re-start or kick-start their romantic adventures? This is a remarkably endearing seasonal comfort read.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

An Unconventional Christmas by Tara Fox Hall details an arrangement made between Vi Bohannon and Cyprus Kennedy. Vi approached Cyprus, also known as Miss Romance, to try to arrange special moments for her husband and her. Vi hopes to save her marriage in the three weeks before Christmas and hires Cyprus to help her achieve it. Vi presents another caveat, as she requests that Cyprus link the romantic interludes with the Twelve Days of Christmas. With her long-haired cat, Giselle, to keep her company as she plans the romantic moments, Cyprus tries to find activities that align with the Twelve Days of Christmas. At the same time, Cyprus meets two men while she’s planning Vi’s special moments. Cyprus must decide between the two of them, and she vows to do it before Christmas, but events unfold that may encourage a decision sooner than she expected.

Tara Fox Hall has a way of pulling the reader into the story from the beginning! The book is a quick read, and it’s easily digestible and entertaining. Cyprus dispenses lots of romantic advice that is thought-provoking on an individual and societal level, but sometimes she isn’t as good at following it. The characters are realistic, and the story moves along at a fast pace. The promise of new love and the reawakening of past feelings is present throughout the pages. An Unconventional Christmas is a perfect book for readers who prefer sweet and seasonal romances during the holidays or any other time of the year!