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Audiobook Review: A Cross-Country Christmas by Courtney Walsh

My dear bookish friends,

I rarely do reviews of audiobooks because well, quite frankly, this is only the second ever audiobook I managed to listen to from start to finish! It’s not that I don’t like the concept – on the contrary! I wish I was one of those people who can listen to audiobooks on commutes or while walking, or perhaps while working away or doing the dishes. I can’t help but think of all the reading I could get done that way! But unfortunately, I have tried all that and I just can’t seem to focus on what I’m listening to while I’m doing anything else, and so I miss such great chunks of the book that it’s impossible for me to make sense of it. The only time I ever don’t do anything for a longer time, it seems, is when I’m sick, and so when I got sick a few weeks ago (stupid covid!) and my eyes were completely gone I thought I’d give audiobooks another try. And surprise – I loved it!

I wish I could make this an everyday occurence (not the being sick part but the ability to incorporate audiobooks into my daily life!), but alas! We have to be grateful for what we have, and I was really lucky with this pick because I absolutely loved the story, and the narrator, and everything! It felt so easy and natural to listen to the lovely narrator’s voice, for the second time ever an audiobook was actually fun for me and didn’t feel like work! So please keep reading to find out what A Cross-Country Christmas is about, and for my detailed review!

About the Book

Lauren Richmond isn’t a fan of Christmas. Which is why she rarely makes the trip home to the Midwest for the holidays. After all, she has plenty to keep her busy—namely, her duties as a set decorator on a TV sitcom. But this December, Lauren‘s brother and his wife are expecting a baby, so her brother arranges a ride home for her with his good friend, Will.

Unfortunately for Lauren, she’s been trying to forget college baseball coach and childhood crush Will Sinclair for more than ten years. Now, thanks to her fear of flying, she’s stuck in a car with him from California to Illinois. She’s circumspect and organized. He’s flirty and spontaneous. She’s convinced that people don’t change. He’s trying to prove to her (and himself) that he has.

On this cross-country road trip, they’ll both discover that history doesn’t exactly repeat itself. . . but like any good Christmas carol, it does have a second verse.

My Review

Okay, so a character who doesn’t like Christmas? Doesn’t sound like my type of person! And at times it wasn’t very easy to like Lauren, with how dismissive she was whenever Will tried his best, but we soon find out that there is a reason she is having such a hard time trusting him again.

Even though I don’t agree with Lauren on her opinion of Christmas we do have something in common: our fear of flying. So since she can’t possibly use the plane to get back home to Illinois to celebrate Christmas with her family and welcome her brother’s first child into the world, there is only one other option: the train. Unfortunately, since Lauren is rather reluctant to go back home for the holidays and avoids her brother’s phone calls, she is leaving it too late and ends up with no train ticket either.

And now what? Her brother offers the only possible solution: drive home with his best friend Will. Will Sinclair – Lauren’s childhood crush she’s spent years trying to forget. Lauren doesn’t want to say yes…but she doesn’t have any other chance. And how bad can a day in a car with Will Sinclair really be, right? Only Will has a different plan…

A second-chance love story like no other, A Cross-Country Christmas tugs on the heartstrings. We know from early on that something must have happened between Will and Lauren a long time ago that made her pull up the walls around her heart, and made her wary of Will. What he did made it so difficult to trust again that for a long time Lauren tries to ignore and suppress the feelings that are flaring up again when she is forced to spend time with Will. When the story of the past is finally revealed it made me feel for the young girl Lauren was back then. I did love Will’s reaction though when he finally found out just what made Lauren so reluctant to let him back into her life.

A Cross-Country Christmas was an emotional rollercoaster ride. Will and Lauren couldn’t be more different, and yet they fit so well together. Sometimes I guess opposites do attract. I loved the fact that youth mistakes aren’t forgotten and can haunt people for years, sometimes decades even, but it is never too late to make amends. Something else I really liked was the glimpse into Will’s family life we got towards the end of the book. It was difficult to imagine Will as a family person, but the second he got home it just clicked and it felt so natural. The best about it all was his relationship with his grandfather – seeing them together really touched me! And in the end, Lauren didn’t even mind Christmas so much anymore – the perfect ending!

If you are looking for a cosy wintery read then A Cross-Country Christmas is the perfect pick for you! It also reminded me a bit of one of my all-time favourite festive reads, namely Dashing Through the Snow by Debbie Macomber (another involuntary road trip story!). You can read my review of that one here if you are interested!

Thank you all so much for reading, and do let me know if you will pick this book up!



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