Sharon’s review ~ The Christmas Project by Christi Barth

Posted November 15, 2021 by Sharon in Holiday Reads, Mainstream, Reviews, Sharon/Slick / 0 Comments

Sharon’s review ~ The Christmas Project by Christi BarthThe Christmas Project by Christi Barth
Published by Tule Publishing on November 16, 2021
Genres: Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Romance / Holiday, Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy
Pages: 166
Format: ARC, eBook
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3 Stars

Can they forgive the past and pull off a Christmas miracle?

Mariana Vasquez has always adored the historic waterfront Brampton Mansion, but the beloved building has succumbed to years of neglect. When Baltimore City inherits it, there's only one chance to keep it from being demolished. Mariana plans to earn the mansion a second chance and the money to pay for its upkeep with a designer Christmas showcase.

A mix-up on Scott Ashford’s last renovation job has shaken his confidence and harmed his business. He needs a fresh project and great publicity to caulk over his disgrace. Donating his expertise to save a historic property sounds perfect…except the opportunity is dangled by an old friend. Well, ex-friend, since he abandoned her ten years ago…

Mariana has too much pride to ask Scott to return to Baltimore for her, but she’s desperate enough to ask him to come back to save the mansion. There’s barely time to finish all the restorations, so Mariana’s sure she won’t have any time to fall for Scott again. But maybe the mansion isn’t the only thing that deserves a second chance this Christmas…

I enjoyed The Christmas Project quite a bit, but felt like the story got a bit bogged down in the restoration project and therefore the romance angle got lost. ~ Sharon – Simply Love Book Reviews



Set in Baltimore, Maryland, the fate of a historic home hangs in the balance if the project manager can’t deliver it fully restored by the night of the Christmas Showcase to prove to the mayor and city council that it is worth saving and will make a wonderful small event space. A woman must swallow her pride and reach out to the man who left her in a lurch after grad school.  This holiday story featured two characters still figuring out their lives, atoning for past mistakes, forgiveness and understanding, and friendship that turned to love. I enjoyed The Christmas Project quite a bit, but felt like the story got a bit bogged down in the restoration project and therefore the romance angle got lost.

Mariana Vasquez realized she’d bitten off more than she could chew when one of her designers fell through the steps of the Brampton Mansion damaging his leg and leaving him unable to help finish the project in the three weeks she had left to do it. Her boss  was on her back and she knew the only way to bring it in on time was to swallow her pride and contact her once best friend and the man who broke her heart when he walked away from their plan of opening their own firm. It won’t be easy working with him again, but for this project she’d do just about anything.

Feeling a bit down and out after his latest project became a PR nightmare for his firm, Scott Ashford was surprised by the gift basket that arrived in his NYC office filled with Baltimore and Maryland treats along with a request from his once best friend Mariana who has asked for him immediate help, he knew that not only would he go but it was way past time he apologized for his past mistakes.

Once Mariana and Scott got past the initial clumsiness of being around one another again it was easy to see the friendship that had once met so much to each other. While they both often thought about their past and the feelings they had towards one another, I never really quite felt romantic feelings between them. Fondness? Absolutely.  A close friendship based on mutual respect and admiration? For sure. But that heat you expect to feel and Mariana’s friend claimed she saw? I didn’t feel it. Had they had more alone time together where they weren’t in crisis about the project or jumping through PR hoops to get the project out into the media, maybe I would have but they had almost NO alone time throughout this book and thusly, I didn’t feel a romantic connection between them. That being said, I liked this story and found the restoration project interesting. I also felt like we got to know Scott really well, his motivation for bailing on Mariana ten years prior, why he worked on this project pro bono, his work with the Big Brother’s project, and how he was dealing with the fallout of his last project.  However, we really didn’t get the same from Mariana and it would have been nice if that had happened.

A word of warning to my romance loving friends, there is one shared kiss and that’s it in this book, and other than a big Thanksgiving gathering, they were together alone that wasn’t for the promotion of the project. So if you are expecting more, it doesn’t happen.

As a feel good Christmas miracle holiday story, The Christmas Project works, but as a holiday romance not so much in my opinion. It was lacking time spent together not involving the project for that to happen.

3 Stars

About Christi Barth

USA TODAY bestseller Christi Barth earned a Masters degree in vocal performance and embarked upon a career on the stage. A love of romance then drew her to wedding planning. Ultimately she succumbed to her lifelong love of books and now writes contemporary romance. Christi lives in Maryland with her husband.

Posted November 15, 2021 by Sharon in Holiday Reads, Mainstream, Reviews, Sharon/Slick / 0 Comments