The 12 Books of Christmas: Maybe This Christmas by Jill Steeples

*I was given a copy of Maybe This Christmas in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Boldwood Books and Jill Steeples.*


When Beth Brown loses her job and her boyfriend in the space of twenty-four hours, she thinks life can’t get any worse. That’s until she finds herself in the depths of the English countryside working for chef, Rocco di Castri. Not only does she have to deal with his legendary moods, but she’s also expected to get his chaotic schedule and workload in check, all while she’s nursing a broken heart.

It’s not long before Rocco’s idyllic home starts to work its magic and soon she sees a softer side to her boss too. And as the festive season approaches, Beth dares to look forward to everything the perfect country Christmas has to offer – and perhaps some romance of her own. Until news of an unexpected proposal threatens to put pay to all Beth’s plans. Will Beth get her happily-ever-after? Maybe, this Christmas…


I’m not usually one to start a review off on a negative point, but why was this called Maybe This Christmas? I thought this was going to be a second-chance romance based on the title but nope, these people have never met before. Also I got 25% in and Christmas hadn’t even been mentioned yet, it was still September. At 50% in Beth mentions Last Christmas playing in the pub and until that point, I didn’t realise it was December. Well, I’m assuming it’s December, it hasn’t been clarified. Which seems a little strange for a book with Christmas in the title. 

There are quite a few time jumps that are each weeks long that get a bit confusing as the dates are never mentioned. It was really hard to keep up with where you were in the story.

The amount of toxicity in Maybe This Christmas was baffling. Beth basically praises and idolises Rocco and Pandora’s clearly toxic relationship. She talks about how her and Martin never had huge fights and maybe these fights are what make a relationship passionate. Not exactly a good message to be sending to people. 

Also, she says that Pandora makes her feel like ‘the fat unpopular girl who gets picked last for netball’. The use of fat doesn’t sit right with me here, especially coming from a character who is described as being on the smaller side. It also just isn’t needed. Just saying you feel like the unpopular girl would have been enough. There is actually a lot of body shaming in this and honestly, I expected better from a book published in 2022. 

The relationship between Beth and Rocco is questionable from pretty much the very beginning. Around halfway through the book, Beth is ill and Rocco gives her a “chaste, well-intentioned get-well kiss from a boss to his employee.” This is not a real thing, when has this ever been a thing? It probably shouldn’t annoy me as much as it does, but Beth was off her face on medication and it seemed a bit predatory to me.

I was not sold on their relationship at all. They hardly seemed to exchange two words throughout the entire book and then suddenly he’s telling her it was love at first sight. Come on.

I can’t even tell you just how much I hate it when authors write out the dialogue like it has an accent. It’s not only annoying to read but is probably also quite offensive, I won’t speak for non-first language English speakers though. You’ve already told me Pandora is Romanian I don’t need every ‘s’ written as a ‘z’ to prove it. 

Also, the use of this type of dialogue has not been consistent with her character throughout. She talked like it when she was first introduced and then it crept back in at the end. Apparently, she lost her accent somewhere in the middle, but don’t worry she’s found it again. 

I really am trying to find at least one positive to talk about, but sorry I don’t think there are any for me. It’s actually quite hard for me to write such a negative review for a festive romance, as usually I don’t take them too seriously. But Maybe This Christmas had far too many negatives for me to ignore. Sadly, this was not a match for me, if it wasn’t so short I don’t think I would have finished it.

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Like this post? Why not read this one too: The 12 Books of Christmas: Holiday Romance by Catherine Walsh

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