cover image The Twelves Dates of Christmas

The Twelves Dates of Christmas

Jenny Bayliss. Putnam, $16 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-0-593-08538-7

Bayliss delivers delightful holiday atmosphere and believable romantic tension in her cute and cozy debut. Kate Turner, a fabric designer and part-time baker, has rediscovered her independence since moving back to her sleepy British hometown of Blexford Village, but lately she’s been warming to the idea of finding a life partner. She signs up for the Twelve Dates of Christmas, a matchmaking program that arranges 12 dates at 12 different locations leading up to the holiday. The resulting (often mismatched) setups become the talk of the town. Even her best friend and old flame, cafe owner Matt Wells, can’t help poking fun at what he calls the “Twelve Dates of Shagmas”—nor can he hide his displeasure when Kate comes back giddy from a promising date. And though Kate is eager to find her soulmate, she can’t stop thinking about her earlier brief, tumultuous time with Matt. But their friendship is finally back in a good place, and Kate is determined to move on—if only someone else would give her the same “sparkle” she feels with him. Bayliss sets a cheerful, wintry scene and populates it with heartfelt characters. By turns tender and hilarious, this adorable rom-com is sure to satisfy. Agent: Hayley Steed, Madeleine Milburn Literary. (Oct.)