A Family Under the Christmas Tree, Terri Reed

Now, I mentioned this book in my Christmas Films post recently. I originally saw the film, Picture a Perfect Christmas on the movie channel in 2019 and loved it. I watched it again last Christmas and recently showed my mom it too – in a bid to get her excited and convince her that we should start decorating in late October. It weren’t until a month ago that I even realised it was based off a book and immediately I had to get my hands on a copy.

This festive tale revolves around Sophie Griffith and David Murphy, along with a few others. Sophie is a photographer whose job takes her all over the globe and while waiting for her next gig to be finalised, she’s helping her injured grandma Louise over the holidays. As she arrives in Washington state to lend a helping hand she meets David Murphy, Louise’s neighbour. Other than being outrageously attractive to Sophie, David is guardian to Troy his six-year-old nephew who Louise often helps with. Throughout her stay Sophie finds herself growing closer to the Murphy men with the help of their festive activities along with the meddling matchmaking of Louise. While they’re both attracted to one another, with Sophie about to jet off with her next assignment and David running his company and caring for Troy, surely it’s a non-starter but can they manage to make it work?

I read this book within two evenings – a personal best, I might add. It is light-hearted and full of all those festive warm and fuzzies. One thing I loved about this book is that it’s told from both Sophie and Davids point of view. That was really refreshing and just gave the story a bit more to it. Reed also does a wonderful job of capturing that chemistry and electricity between two people who are attracted to one another. I thought the ending was cute but a little vague and quick for my liking.

I found the story and characters a bit surface-level. There was a lot of potential to tap into, especially with the themes of grief and trauma which could’ve been explored so much more. I think the instant attraction between the characters made the whole ‘we can’t be together’ conflict a bit weaker especially in comparison to the strength of the attraction. This is something I preferred in the film: Sophie has a boyfriend Brent which is the obvious reason why she can’t be with David, even though something is there between them.

I’m glad I read this book and would definitely recommend to anyone who wants a light-hearted, festive romance but I think I preferred the film and will probably stick to that in the future.

Have you watched the movie or read the book, or both? What did you think?

Cheerio for now!

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