Book: Season of Love by Helena Greer
Source: I received a copy from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: October 11th, 2022
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Welcome to my review of Season of Love, a book that has left me feeling very conflicted about how I feel about it on a multitude of levels! Although, I guess a review is the perfect place to figure out all my complicated thoughts, hopefully in a coherent manner. So let’s get started.
Season of Love follows Miriam Blum who returns to her great aunt’s Christmas farm in upstate New York after learning of her great aunt’s passing. She hasn’t been back in several years though, so there’s a lot she has to deal with besides her grief. There’s her cousin Hannah, who she used to be thick as thieves with, but hasn’t seen since her last trip to Carrigan’s. And there’s Noelle, Hannah’s best friend who helps run the Christmas farm. What would be a short reunion ends up getting complicated when Noelle, Hannah, and Miriam each get a portion of Carrigan’s. Things get even more complicated once they learn about the financial trouble Carrigan’s is in, and how they need a plan in place to get back on its feet. And so our story takes off from there.
I think what’s most frustrating to me about this book is that everything was actually done really well. But each thing that was done so well had a caveat that kept me from loving it. I’m going to start with the thing that has me most conflicted, but that honestly probably doesn’t even register for most other people, and that is the Jewish rep. Now, this review can’t handle all my complicated feeling about Jewish representation in books, so I’ll be specific to this story.
There was a lot of focus on Jewish holidays and customs and words in this book, and think that was important. However, none of it went further than that. There barely was explanation about what the holidays were and what they represented, the customs were laid out, but weren’t delved into in any emotional way. There were all the elements of Judaism, without any of the feeling behind it. Now, I’ve dealt with this before. As I said, that’s a whole nother post I probably won’t ever write. But what frustrated me in this book is the obvious love and connection that was made about Christmastime. Which is fine, of course, but then why was the Jewish counterpart not given that same time and love? Honestly, I don’t think most readers will notice the nuanced differences. But I did, and I’m the one writing this review. So I get to express my frustration. For a book marketed about a Jewish owned Christmas farm, I would have loved a deeper dive into the Jewish element.
By which this book mostly meant Christmas
Some other elements did get a deeper dive, especially the characters. We really get to see what makes both Miriam and Noelle tick. They both have pasts filled with traumas and difficulties, and it’s very interesting to see how those pasts shaped them and impact their current interactions. Emotional abuse and alcoholism are not simple topics to handle, but I felt that they were treated with care throughout the novel. There was only one instance where the characters and their interactions really bothered me, and that was during a scene where Miriam and Noelle’s traumas had them making choices that were fully understandable, even if they were stupid. However, I really disliked how their actions and words were directly hurting the other person. Even though I understood that these words and actions were coming from a place of pain, it made me feel like the two of them were incompatible if when things got hardest, they only hurt each other, even if they didn’t mean to.
That being said, there were elements of this story that I did enjoy and I am actually very much looking forward to the follow up story that was so heavily hinted at throughout the book. I just think that this particular story disappointed me in a few too many ways, when it had so much potential for me to enjoy it.
Honestly, if you’re looking for a sapphic holiday romance that has more complex characters, I would genuinely recommend this book. This book didn’t work for me given my expectations and wishes for it, but that doesn’t mean that others won’t enjoy it more than me!