First off, let me start by saying that I love the film “Groundhog Day,” so the synopsis of this story caught my attention right away, so I ordered it. It was actually December’s Book of the Month Club pick.
So “In a Holidaze” is a time-travel Christmas romance and the story starts on out December 26th. We follow a somewhat disenchanted woman named Maelyn, who has just spent the Christmas holidays with her family at a cabin in Utah with two other families, a tradition that they’ve all done since before she was born. She’s embarrassed, and maybe just a little bit humiliated because, over the holiday, she made a super-embarrassing romantic mistake. Not only that, she hates her job, is living with her parents, and has just learned that this was the last Christmas they all would be spending at the beloved cabin because the owners plan on selling it. As she broods over her life, she makes a wish to the universe: “Please show me what will make me happy.”
Her parents’ car then collides with another vehicle, and everything goes black. When she wakes up, it’s December 21st again, and she’s on an airplane bound for Utah to begin the holiday trip once again. This happens several times — she blacks out and wakes up back on the plane on December 21st, heading to Utah. So now she has to figure out what she needs to do to break this Groundhog Day-style time loop that she’s caught in. It just might have something to do with one of the two handsome brothers, Andrew and Theo Hollis, who share the cabin with her and her family and both of whom she’s known all her life. One brother is the recipient of her long-time secret crush, which she’s harbored for years, and the other is a cherished friend and just may have a crush on her.
Each time she gets sent back, she makes different choices, but as she learns, if she makes one mistake, one misstep, she had to do it all over again. Eventually, she figures out that if she ever wants to escape the loop, she just might have to overcome her fears and do that which frightens her the most.
This was a super fun, fluffy, heart-warming story, and I loved how the author used the time-loop as a plot device. It worked really well in this story. I also loved the nostalgic aspect of this story about holiday traditions, a dual-family vacation, complete with snowball fights, snow sculpture contests, playing games, stolen kisses, and eggnog.
There was also plenty of humor and a fantastic cast of characters. All of the other family and friends in the story were so endearing, with each person playing an essential element in the narrative — though I was especially fond of her family friend, Benny, who helped steer our protagonist in the right direction and who was the only one who knew what was really going on with Mae. I also enjoyed how she started to avoid the little disasters and mistakes that she knew were coming and figured that if she can prevent the little ones, she should be able to avoid the big ones too. Right?
And at the end, Mae receives an answer to her question and learns exactly what it is that will make her happy.
All in all, I found In a Holidaze to be a lovely, emotional, heartfelt Christmas romance with an intriguing plot about finding the courage to pursue one’s happiness. This playful story is ideal for anyone looking for a fast and breezy low-angst tale with plenty of holiday cheer and a big heart.