Note: A big thanks to NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton and the author, Maggie Knox, for providing me with a copy of The Holiday Swap in exchange for an honest review.
Name: The Holiday Swap
Author: Maggie Knox
Genre: Modern Fiction
Book In One Sentence
Maggie Knox’s The Holiday Swap is about two twin sisters who exchange their lives to help each other survive their present struggles.
The story starts with Charlie Goodwin getting her dream show on TV. She is excited as it is everything she has worked hard for. However, there is a twist — she has to host it with Austin Nash, a pompous ex-classmate of Charlie’s from culinary school. A sudden mishap leads Charlie to have a head injury and lose her sense of taste and smell — both of which are essential in her culinary career. She seeks the help of her twin sister, Cass, back at Starlight Peak — her hometown — by asking her to swap places with her. Cass readily agreed as she has been dealing with some personal struggles herself — namely, running her family bakery during the busy Christmas time as well as her ex-boyfriend, who could not understand the fact that they have broken up. The book deals with the ups and downs the sisters face and how they deal with them while supporting each other along the way.
Sisterhood & Finding Oneself
This is one of the main themes of the story. Charlie and Cass are twins and even though they are geographically separated from each other, they are still protective of each other. They are determined to face any challenge on behalf of each other — be it a big cooking show or a pesky ex. On a superficial level, Charlie and Cass seem to be different from each other — Charlie being on the extroverted side, shining through the camera and making a name for herself in Los Angeles, while Cass is a little introvert and homebody, getting ready to take over the family business (the bakery) after their parents at Starlight Peak. However, as the story progressed, we get to see the other sides of the two sisters on a much deeper level than usual. Charlie goes on to connect with her hometown and imagine a life away from the din and bustle of Los Angeles while Cass got to taste the world outside of the hometown and experience life up close.
Swapping each other’s places is complicated enough. Enter Miguel and Jake and the equation got even more complex. Both Jake and Miguel are as clueless as the rest of the people in their lives. While romance brews between Cass and Miguel, and Charlie and Jake, both the sisters struggle to keep their acts up and feel guilty for not letting the guys know the truth and the reason behind the swap.
Like any other feel-good romantic story, Maggie Knox’s The Holiday Swap also has a happy ending for both the sisters. The story does a one-year time jump in the epilogue and we get some sneak peek into Cass and Charlie’s lives. All the ends are tied consistently and there are no open endings, which gives the readers all the closure they need.
Significance of the Title
The title — The Holiday Swap — is definitely appropriate for the story. Two twin sisters — Cass and Charlie — need breaks from their usual lives and manage to swap places during the winter holidays. By doing that, they are not only able to take breathers from their issues and find their true callings along the way but also learn to respects the daily grind of each others’ lives.
All in all, Maggie Knox’s The Holiday Swap is good for a light-read. The narration was consistent and there was no sign of the plots being dragged. I could not find any gaps in the story and the steadfast rhythm kept me hooked until the very end.
From now on she was going to take the time to pause in her pursuit of happiness and success and just be happy.Maggie Knox (The Holiday Swap)
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