Author: Debbie Macomber
Publication Date: October 4, 20016
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Age Group: Adult
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
Friendly and bubbly, Julia Padden likes nearly everyone, but her standoffish neighbor, Cain Maddox, presents a particular challenge. No matter how hard she’s tried to be nice, Cain rudely rebuffs her at every turn, preferring to keep to himself. But when Julia catches Cain stealing her newspaper from the lobby of their apartment building, that’s the last straw. She’s going to break through Cain’s Scrooge-like exterior the only way she knows how: by killing him with kindness. To track her progress, Julia starts a blog called The Twelve Days of Christmas. Her first attempts to humanize Cain are far from successful. Julia brings him homemade Christmas treats and the disagreeable grinch won’t even accept them. Meanwhile, Julie’s blog becomes an online sensation, as an astonishing number of people start following her adventures. Julia continues to find ways to express kindness and, little by little, chips away at Cain’s gruff façade to reveal the caring man underneath. Unbelievably, Julia feels herself falling for Cain—and she suspects that he may be falling for her as well. But as the popularity of her blog continues to grow, Julia must decide if telling Cain the truth about having chronicled their relationship to the rest of the world is worth risking their chance at love.
Julia and Cain. Oh Cain. If there was ever such a man in need of a good woman, it is definitely him. Because he's closed off, terse, and just not nice to fellow human beings, especially not to Julia. Julia, on the other hand, is the antithesis of his broodiness. Cain even resorts to calling her Ms. Sunshine every time they end up riding the elevator together. Oh, because of course, they both live across the hall from each other.
Julia was so level-headed and such a do-gooder that it grate a little bit on my nerves. Not that I found this annoying for annoying's sake, but it definitely made me feel like I don't do enough to help out my fellow man. And when Julia complains to her best friend about this "Ebenezer Scrooge" living down the hall, her best friend gives her a great idea that will help with a blog Julia is trying to get off the ground. Why doesn't she kill her neighbor...with kindness...and blog about it. And lo and behold her following starts to grow and little by little her followers also comment on their own attempts at kindness. These blog passages made me tear up a little because they were very realistic in the way comments and reviews generally are in our web space - personal (good or bad) and relatable yet we have no idea who is on the other end.
This is such a tender love story. And like all of her other Christmas-inspired books, it's pretty short so it proves to be a fast read -- perfect for the hectic holidays. And in fact, this book actually reminds us to slow down and take a breath and focus on what's really important during the holiday season: love, friendship, family, and most of all, kindness.