Book Review: Christmas In Wine Country By Addison Westlake

It’s Lila’s big debut as an event planner and the company holiday party is going to be her chance to shine. At a Tuscan-style vineyard near the Northern California coast in the perfect little black dress she’s sure to impress commitment-phobe Phillip. What could go wrong?

Seventy-two hours later with no job and no boyfriend, Lila finds herself with all kinds of answers to that question. Like mistaking the glowering Jake Endicott of Endicott vineyards for the groundskeeper. Or a new video on YouTube featuring Lila pawing her way through drunken karaoke of “Hungry Like the Wolf.”

Solo on the romantic holiday getaway she’d booked for her and Phillip near the vineyard, Lila at least gets to visit with her old friend Annie who lives nearby in the coastal town of Redwood Cove. Drawn into the local bookstore with gleaming wooden floors and welcoming armchairs, Lila chats with the owner and impulsively accepts a job offer.

Sleepy, misty Redwood Cove is the perfect place for Lila to take a break from her horrible track record with guys. The only one she finds even remotely attractive knows her as the holiday crazy lady. Ranked in Bay Area magazine’s 10 hottest bachelors, Jake Endicott is just the type old Lila would have wasted years pining after.

Join Lila on her year of comedy, adventure and self-discovery on the Northern California coast, with all kinds of ups, downs and misadventures and a full cast of small-town wine country characters. Thankfully, even the greatest misunderstandings can all be worked out with a little Frank Sinatra and mistletoe.

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I loved this 15 chapter book. It was told through Lila’s third person point-of-view. Addison Westlake had a fantastic talent with voice. The character’s narration had a cool flow to it, her wit mixed with dialogue and observations. I could relate to Lila in a lot of ways. That’s probably why I enjoyed the story so much. She reflected on if she attaches to guys she can’t have, she’s 28 with a college degree but couldn’t quite find the right career path to go (her mom never approved), her mom was constantly on her case (which her grandma revealed was the mom’s way of showing she loved her daughter). Her mom gave birth to Lila when she was 19, having to drop out of college. I got lost in the story and rooted for Lila throughout the novel.

When the book started, life was so-so for Lila. She had a career in AdSales that she didn’t really care for. A boyfriend that she had to keep secret (no one in company was allowed to date each other). Eventually, she got lay-offed. Phillip dumped her for another woman. Lila and Phillip had been intimate for 2 years, and he had the nerve to tell her they were never more than just a “thing.” Ouch.

She decided to visit her best friend Annie in a new town and eventually moved there. She found a job at an independent bookstore. The story was great with teaching life lessons and encouraging someone to pick themselves up; things eventually get better. It was cool seeing Lila fail, learn something from it, motivate herself to live a happy life instead of just settling, and succeed.

I laughed at all the funny moments. I thought bad things happen to me, but Lila had me beat LOL. She was reluctant to allow Annie to set her up on a date. When she finally agreed, she and the guy weren’t compatible at all (Tom was hilarious). The karaoke scene had me rolling. Her friends provided comedy relief.

This story managed to be sweet on the romance. Her crush on Jake was cute even though her best friend didn’t approve of him. Lila reminded me of a girl in junior high falling in love for the first time. I enjoyed guessing when Jake started to develop feelings as well. The author was great with showing rather than telling–his body language said it all. The book managed to show a realistic love story without any sex scenes.

  • I liked Jake; in ways, I could relate to him too. He was an introvert who got mistaken for a snob. He had resented his father but finally learned something–you just gotta let things go.

My favorite scenes: 1) Lila and Jake bump into each other at a coffee shop 2) when Lila accidentally locks herself out of her car 3) when Vanessa comes into the shop, threatening Lila to stay away. Lila’s comebacks were funny 4) when Lila bruises her ankle and Jake comes to the rescue, having her ice it down at his place 5) the argument at the vineyard’s event. Lila’s getaway was amusing

As you can tell, I was really sold on the romance. Since the author was very descriptive, I could picture it as a movie–a romantic comedy. Lila was a character I could see Kate Hudson play.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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