The Holiday Trap
by Roan Parrish
Release Date: September 6, 2022
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Number of Pages: 312
Ages 15 and up
CW: dementia, homophobia
Greta Russakoff loves her tight-knit family and tiny Maine hometown, even if they don’t always understand what it’s like to be a lesbian living in such a small world. She desperately needs space to figure out who she is.
Truman Belvedere has just had his heart crushed into a million pieces when he learned that his boyfriend of almost a year has a secret life that includes a husband and a daughter. Reeling from this discovery, all he wants is a place to lick his wounds far, far away from New Orleans.
Enter Greta and Truman’s mutual friend, Ramona, who facilitates a month-long house swap. Over the winter holidays, each of them will have a chance to try on a new life…and maybe fall in love with the perfect partner of their dreams. But all holidays must come to an end, and eventually Greta and Truman will have to decide whether the love they each found so far from home is worth fighting for.
Recently I read a book that I said had elements of the movie The Holiday in the beginning. This book is a flat-out last-minute house swap situation with so much romance, it hits all the same notes as The Holiday, not just a few. I loved it!
With a story such as this, where there are essentially two main characters having two separate storylines in two different places, it can be easy to favor one branch of the story over the other. I found, with this book, that I was equally invested in both Greta and Truman. When a Greta section ended and it hopped back to Truman, I would be disappointed for a millisecond before getting fully engrossed in Truman’s story. And vice versa.
The romance between Truman and Ash is so sweet and hesitant and just gave me a yummy warm feeling. Greta’s romance is a bit more chaotic. She grew up on a small island and never really lived anywhere else other than in college. Even then, she didn’t live in such a diverse and metropolitan area as New Orleans. As much as I was 100% on board for the romance between Greta and Carys, I found the other relationships Greta cultivated to be what kept me so engaged in her storyline. Greta really had a lot of digging deep to do in order to understand herself and her family and, in the end, be okay with the decisions she makes for herself.
While the small town of Owl Island always seemed to hold Greta down and cast a pall over her life, Truman thrived in the environment. His creativity flourished and he learned to listen to his inner self to find what he wanted and needed in life. Truman learns how to make himself happy without relying on making others happy to do so. He finds his own adventure on Owl Island, not just with Ash but with the books that he loves and so much more.
I swear, Roan Parrish never disappoints. This story is a bit different than the other books I’ve read by her so far, yet it is just as engaging and entertaining.
**I received an ARC of this book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and given freely**