Saturday, September 26, 2020

Book Review: The Christmas Swap by Melody Carlson

About the Book

All Emma Daley wants this holiday season is a white Christmas. But the young teacher and struggling musician sure can't find that in sunny Arizona. Luckily, there's someone living in a perfect mountain home in the Colorado Rockies looking to make a vacation trade this year.
Tyler West Prescott is an in-demand songwriter and talented musician who put his own singing career on hold to write songs for celebrity acts to perform. When his mother convinces him to do a vacation trade for Christmas, he never imagined one of the house guests would be so sweet--or so strikingly pretty. Naturally, he decides to stick around, and, to get better acquainted, he poses as the house's caretaker. But when Emma's friend Gillian discovers his true identity and sets her sights on him, things get . . . messy.

Fan favorite Melody Carlson is back with another delightful Christmas tale to warm your heart on those cold winter evenings.

My Review

I enjoy reading a new Christmas book by Melody Carlson each year, so I'm thankful for the opportunity to review The Christmas Swap.  The book cover is beautiful with a Christmas-y house in the snow-covered Colorado mountains, ready to envelop the reader in Christmas cheer.  However, once you go inside, the characters suck the cheer right out of you:  the ever-complaining mother, the father trying to pacify her, the manipulative daughter, the son and his friend trying to get into Emma's good graces.  Emma was Gillian's friend.  She spends holidays with the Landers family because her parents are overseas missionaries.  A native Arizonian, Emma was on this trip for the snow.  West, an all-around great guy, masquerades as the caretaker of his own house in order to avoid an early conflict with Gillian.

I really liked West and Emma, and hoped for them to get together, but all the drama and Gillian's manipulation got in the way.  I felt like I still didn't know them well at the end of the book.  Perhaps another story featuring West & Emma?

The other characters eventually came around to show their good and cooperative sides as the "comedy of manipulation"-type plot resolved.

I wanted to love this book, and while everything turned out in the end, sometimes it was more taxing than enjoyable to read.  As has been pointed out by other reviewers, there wasn't much "Christian" in the story.  That does open the book up to a wider range of readers.  I give this book a 3 out of 5 star rating.  Perhaps it would translate better as a movie?

I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Revell, for review purposes.  The thoughts expressed here are my own.

About the Author

Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over 200 books with sales of more than 7 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at

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