Summary (from the publisher):
When chef Charlie Goodwin gets hit on the head on the L.A. set of her reality baking show, she loses a lot more than consciousness; she also loses her ability to taste and smell–both critical to her success as show judge. Meanwhile, Charlie’s identical twin, Cass, is frantically trying to hold her own life together back in their quaint mountain hometown while running the family’s bustling bakery and dealing with her ex, who won’t get the memo that they’re over.
With only days until Christmas, a desperate Charlie asks Cass to do something they haven’t done since they were kids: switch places. Looking for her own escape from reality, Cass agrees. But temporarily trading lives proves more complicated than they imagined, especially when rugged firefighter Jake Greenman and gorgeous physician’s assistant Miguel Rodriguez are thrown into the mix. Will the twins’ identity swap be a recipe for disaster, or does it have all the right ingredients for getting their lives back on track?
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
If you are craving a holiday baking completion meets a book with a setting like Gilmore Girls meets The Parent Trap/sister-switching-places shenanigans, look no further than Maggie Knox’s The Holiday Swap.
The Holiday Swap follows identical twin sisters, Cass and Charlie, who both need a break from their careers and decide to switch places for the two weeks leading up to Christmas. After Charlie, a co-host of a popular Christmas baking completion show, has an accident at work that leads her to lose her sense of taste & smell, she convinces Cass, who is running their small-town, family-owned bakery during the busiest time of year, to switch places. As the twins step into each other’s shoes (& baking aprons), Cass and Charlie make some big realizations about their sister’s life…and yes, might develop some feelings for a local fireman and physical’s assistant along the way.
The Holiday Swap will literally make you want to watch every holiday-baking show ever – I am now more than ready to start this season of Food Network’s Holiday Baking Championship and I know I’m going to be searching for all the holiday baking shows on Netflix over the Thanksgiving break! I tend to prefer one perspective over the other in a dual perspective book, but I loved getting to experience Charlie’s life on the TV set and Cass’s life running the family bakery. The TV show literally felt like an episode of a real holiday baking show (like I said, I will be doing a lot of binge-watching over the next few days), and the family bakery felt so, so atmospheric. I find that holiday or Christmas-set books are actually pretty hit-or-miss with executing the holiday setting, but I thought The Holiday Swap did a fantastic job based on all of the food/desserts alone, not to mention the small-town setting that sounds like the holiday version of Gilmore Girls’ Stars Hallow. In addition, the book is pretty split on the romance and the sister dynamic/setting into each other’s lives, but both plots worked really well!
The Holiday Swap has gotten a ton of comparisons to Netflix/Vanessa Hudgens’ The Princess Switch film series, but I will gladly admit that The Holiday Swap is so much better!! The book definitely has some of that holiday ‘cheesiness’ that is typical of a Hallmark Christmas movie, but I never felt myself roll my eyes or think things were going too perfectly. I’d say that my biggest critique about the book is that Cass and Charlie’s personalities didn’t really seem so different? The book alternates between their third person perspectives and I admit that the change in setting & love interest was the biggest indicator in figuring out if the chapter was following Cass or Charlie. I get that Charlie was ‘the one who got out of their small town to start her career in LA’ & ‘more out-going one,’ but I didn’t really see her as the significantly more outgoing twin.
I didn’t realize until after starting The Holiday Swap that Maggie Knox is a pseudonym for co-authors, Karma Brown & Marissa Stapley. Based on how much I enjoyed The Holiday Swap, I might just have to pick up their next Christmas romance coming out next year, All I Want for Christmas.
Have you read The Holiday Swap? Is it on your holiday TBR? What are some of your favorite holiday books? Share in the comments!