Book Review: Fran Cuthbert Ruins Christmas by Lisa Henry and J.A. Rock

Fran Cuthbert Ruins Christmas

Author: Lisa Henry & J.A. Rock
Publisher: Independent (November 15, 2022)
Kindle edition, 169 pages
Romance, Adult Contemporary M/M Romance, Holiday romance (Christmas)


Welcome (back) to Christmas Valley. Where it’s Christmas every. F@$#ing. Day.

It’s your typical Hallmark movie plot: my big city boyfriend dumped me, so my adorable five-year-old daughters and I moved back to my hometown just in time for Christmas. I guess the magic of the holiday is going to show me what I really wanted all along, or something.

But on Hallmark, people aren’t usually mainlining their mother’s Xanax. Or stealing the last available Peachblossom Pony Pal from their hot doctor because they have to give their kids the best Christmas ever. And when they run into their high school sweetheart, they don’t usually face the gulf of lies that exists between Cass Sullivan and me.

Oh yeah, and their hometown isn’t located directly up Christmas’s butthole.

I left Christmas Valley because I couldn’t listen to one more carol or look at one more tinsel-wrapped streetlamp. But moving to Boston meant leaving Cass, and that has always been my one regret. I mean, I also regret the box of Franzia in my closet, being publicly dumped, agreeing to take tap dancing lessons with my mom, and the fact that I can’t seem to open my mouth without a little white lie popping out. But mostly Cass.

When I need someone to play Santa for my girls’ favorite Christmas tradition, Cass steps in. Suddenly, I’m falling for him like we’re seventeen again. Can we put aside two decades’ worth of baggage and give each other a second chance? Can he help me build a life in Christmas Valley? And has he really been banging our former geometry teacher?

Only Christmastime will tell. If the holidays don’t kill me first.

Fran Cuthbert Ruins Christmas is a sweet, low-heat holiday novella featuring a second chance romance, a hot mess MC who could use a steadying hand, adorable kids and dogs, and a guaranteed HEA.


Rating: 5 out of 5.

Oh Fran…

This book destroyed me in all the best ways. I don’t even like second chance romances or the single parent trope, and yet!

Fran really gets into so many problems of his own making. As someone whose parents split when I was small and I’m still dealing with the emotional fallout at 37 years old, I very strongly identified with Fran. (Thankfully I’m not THAT much of a hot mess! …Uh, I don’t think…) Even though he’s sort of a disaster, Fran is an AMAZING dad to his 5 year old twin girls. He also manages to grow as a person through this novel – though it’s usually through having to learn every lesson the hard way – and I love how his relationship with his mom develops.

And then there’s Cass. Poor Cass. *sigh* He’s such a cinnamon roll and I just want to wrap him up in a warm hug. And take him to a fancy restaurant for dinner, haha. Half of the things I want to say about Cass would be spoilers, so suffice it to say that most of the moments I felt my poor heart breaking were moments where Cass’s was likely breaking too.

Fran Cuthbert Ruins Christmas is told entirely from Fran’s POV, and while I normally like dual POV romances more it really works for this book. Um, so basically this book has a writing style and tropes I don’t much care for, and yet I still ended up giving it 5 stars and was sad when it was over because I wasn’t ready to leave Christmas Valley. And really, can there be

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are unbiased and my own.

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