Review – The Christmas Countdown by Donna Ashcroft

**Disclaimer: I was given a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley.**

Title The Christmas Countdown

Author Donna Ashcroft

Release Date October 7, 2019

Description from Amazon

Twenty-seven-year-old Holly Devine has just had her heart well and truly broken. Hurt by the two people she loves the most, she flees to her eccentric Aunt Clara’s cosy cottage to hide away over the winter season. But kind, impulsive Aunt Clara has other ideas… She’s not about to see her favourite niece wallowing in sadness during the most wonderful time of the year. So, with the help of her close circle of friends and plenty of gin, she creates a handmade advent calendar for Holly.

Every day in December, Holly opens a new door and has a different task to complete. She soon finds herself asking out a complete stranger – gorgeous, cheeky pub landlord, Finn Jackson. But as handsome Finn gets involved in her festive challenges, Holly’s determination to avoid romance is put to the test. Still, Finn’s far too carefree and single for true love, isn’t he?

As Holly begins to embrace each day – a complete makeover, building the biggest snowman she’s ever seen, singing in a karaoke contest – Finn is there adding fun and laughter to every moment. Holly starts to realise that she can become the person she’s always wanted to be…

But a secret from Finn’s past threatens to turn Holly’s Christmas upside down and makes her question everything she has experienced in the last few weeks. Will Finn open up to Holly in time to show her how he really feels? And will she complete the advent calendar challenges and fall in love this Christmas?

Initial Thoughts

So I saw that NetGalley had a ton of Christmas books listed suddenly and while I love the holiday season, I was like WHAT’S GOING ON HERE? So naturally, I had to apply for some.

Some Things I Liked

  • CHRISTMAS. As a general rule of thumb, I don’t get into the holiday spirit until after my birthday (at the end of September). However, I think I’ll be amending that rule since Christmas books seem to hit NetGalley in late August / early September. I adored the Christmas-y setting of this story.
  • GIN. My grandma got me into gin when I was in my early twenties. She loves it and now, so do I. I loved that Aunt Clara makes her own gin and that was a focal point of the story. She wasn’t just Holly’s “eccentric aunt”, she was a business woman making a product that reminds me so much of my family and the holiday season.
  • The main theme. While this is a super cute romance story, the main plot, at least, as I viewed it, was about Holly finding herself. I totally know what it’s like to be 27 and have no idea what I’m doing so that part of Holly’s story hit home. I loved that her Aunt and the ladies of the WI helped her find herself through her calendar quests.

One Thing I Wasn’t Crazy About

  • Appendicitis?? I kinda hated that element. It’s the twenty-first century, it’s so rare for that to be fatal. I wish a more realistic ailment had been cited.

Series Value

Although this isn’t a series, other characters from this setting have their own books. For example, Connor and Madison are featured in The Little Guesthouse of New Beginnings, and I’m sure there could be more stories about Georgie, Beth and Tom, and new characters. Sunflower Island is a perfect setting for adorable romantic comedies and I would love to see more stories set here.

Final Thoughts

This story was super cute. It’s not my normal selection on NetGalley (I usually stick to YA and Fantasy titles), but I’m glad I gave it a try. It was a totally feel-good story that made me excited for Christmas.

Please note, this is not a title suitable for younger audiences. I would definitely classify this as Adult Fiction.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Recommendations for Further Reading

  • The Last Note by Grace McGinty – if you liked all of the feelings and slightly older characters in this story, give The Last Note book a try. It’s a bit more of a tear-jerker, but still has a ton of emotions and a really nice story.
  • Tweet Cute by Emma Lord – this one isn’t out yet, but, if you liked the original contemporary, romantic comedy vibes of The Christmas Countdown, give this book a shot in January 2020.
  • Christmas at Frozen Falls by Kiley Dunbar – I literally just started this one, but it’s giving me all kinds of similar vibes. It comes out tomorrow, so if you’re in the mood for something Christmas-y, pick up a copy of Christmas at Frozen Falls.

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