THE SUMMER OF CHRISTMAS – Juliet Giglio & Keith Giglio
Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 978-1-7282-5018-2
July 5, 2022
Contemporary Romance

Geneva, New York – Present Day

Up and coming Hollywood screenwriter Ivy Green has sold her first screenplay to a production company that plans to film it in the place where it takes place: Ivy’s hometown of Geneva. Unfortunately, the screenplay is nearly autobiographical about Ivy’s longtime romance with her high school sweetheart, Nick Shepherd. He still lives in town, running his family’s winery, so Ivy isn’t sure how he will feel about the screenplay, especially since she did one slight change to their ending: she killed him off. But it’s an opportunity she can’t turn down, and Ivy agrees to the movie being filmed in Geneva. It will give her a chance to catch up with her family and old friends. But how will Nick feel about her return?

Nick has told himself that he’s moved on from Ivy. The one time he visited her in Los Angeles while they were dating, he saw how much she loved it there. His life is in upstate New York, and he did the right thing for both by breaking it off. But Ivy apparently took the breakup hard because it’s soon clear to Nick that the Rick in the movie is him—and he dies at the end! Yet, the return of Ivy to town rekindles the old feelings between them, even if the movie’s star actress is throwing herself at him. Is he receptive to the actress’s advancements because she looks a lot like Ivy? It will take a month to shoot the film. What will happen during that month of shooting?

The authors bring out the funny in THE SUMMER OF CHRISTMAS as Ivy and Nick navigate through the pain of their fractured relationship. Ivy was all about her career and a new life in California, while Nick was obligated to remain in New York and run the winery with his mother. There was no way that they could maintain a relationship thousands of miles apart. Ivy felt blindsided that Nick wouldn’t move to California, but it inspired her to write her screenplay, with that ominous twist at the end. As for the town of Geneva, Ivy is returning to people who love her, yet they know her all too well. Everyone wants to be an extra in the movie and also remind her that she used to date Nick. Meanwhile, Ivy’s current boyfriend is part of the production team, but she begins to feel like they are drifting apart, especially when he refuses to bring their relationship out in the open. Readers sense that they will soon be history.

THE SUMMER OF CHRISTMAS is a cute tale but there are numerous characters, and we get to see too many points of view that can be confusing. At times, there was head-hopping (this is where the point of view changes from one character to another) within the scene. I had to check to make sure who was thinking or saying what. This might work in a screenplay, but novels require some structure to not confuse readers. But the dialogue and scenes are funny, though I began to wonder if we would see the demise of Nick by the end. Readers will need to find out if that happens by picking up a copy of THE SUMMER OF CHRISTMAS.

Patti Fischer

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