'Tis the season! Well the season for reading Christmas books, that is. And believe me, I have plenty in my stack to read! Because I like Hallmark Christmas movies so much, I decided to start with a sappy sweet Hallmark-esque book. As Trading Christmas had been made into a Hallmark movie, I figured this was a good one to start with. Let me just say, the book and the movie only share very loose similarities. Very loose similarities!
Overall the book was fine. It really is only a short story, not even a full length novel. The author's ability to write clear, concise sentences with acceptable vocabulary was about what I would have expected from a bestselling author in this genre. Certainly, the writing isn't scholarly, but I don't expect scholarly from romance. In fact, from a purely technical aspect, I find Debbie Macomber to be one of the better romance writers. Her style isn't complex, but it is sound and enjoyable.
Likewise, I found the characters in this book appealing. Although this wasn't a full length novel, I had no problem enjoying the characters. I found the characters to be real and easy to identify with. The only character that wasn't as well developed was Heather, Emily's daughter. Of course, she was a supporting character, but she was still flat and, frankly, not very likable at all. I truly enjoyed the character of Bernice Brewster. Although another supporting character, she was quite enjoyable and entertaining. Flamboyant and dramatic, she was still lovable and made me smile every time she showed up in the story. As Charles and Ray's mother, she brought fun and humor to a story that would otherwise have suffered from being too serious.
The story itself was also easy to identify with, in as much as, it is a story about the changes a family faces as a child grows up and Christmas traditions are turned upside down. Now perhaps few people would have dealt with these changes quite on the level of trading residences, but that doesn't matter. It does happen in "real life" so at least it is still believable. And honestly, I enjoyed this perhaps unorthodox way of dealing with change. It opened up a lot of avenues for the story to develop that otherwise simply wouldn't have been there.
Perhaps my only real complaint is that the story felt rushed. I attribute this to the fact that this isn't a full length novel. However, that does detract some from my enjoyment of the story. I do believe the story would have been better served had it been written as a full length novel.
All things considered, I do recommend this book as an enjoyable Christmas read. Due to its abbreviated nature, it would be very easy to cozy up in a blanket and read this story in one sitting. There really isn't anything objectionable in this book so I can safely say anybody could read Trading Christmas with no worries whatsoever. However, that being said, I do believe this book will appeal mostly to the mid-30s and beyond set.