Book Review

Book Review: How the Grump Saved Christmas by Claire Kingsley

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Holiday Romance
Length: 339 pages
Author: Claire Kingsley
Publisher: Always Have, LLC
Release Date: November 17th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Hardworking Isabelle Cook has a serious problem. Her family farm, site of Tilikum’s Christmas Village, is in trouble. Big trouble. And worst of all? The man trying to buy it is none other than the grumpiest, grinchiest man of them all—Elias Stoneheart.

That’s a big nope. She’s not letting him get involved. Not with his heart made of coal.

Elias Stoneheart is in the business of making money, not friends. Especially when his boss is promising a long-awaited promotion. All he has to do is convince one struggling family to sell their farm.

The problem? It’s Cook Family Farm. And Isabelle Cook is his ex.

He might have history with Isabelle, but this is just business. A Christmas-loving farm girl is not going to come between him and his ambition.

And Christmas? He hates it. Christmas Village needs to go.

But as Elias spends time in the small town, holiday spirit—and Isabelle—get under his skin. And she might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart.

Author’s Note: a sassy farm girl takes on a grumpy businessman in this stand-alone, snowy, small-town Christmas romance. Saucy banter, a guard donkey, plenty of holiday cheer, and a heartwarming happily ever after that will make you believe in the magic of Christmas.


I knowww some people will find this too Hallmark adjacent for them, but it hit all the right notes for me so I am here for it and here to recommend this one for romance lovers who want a dash of spice alongside their Hallmark movies [books].

We’ve got the small town, the millionaire coming home to see an old flame, a cute Christmas farm that needs saving and more. I enjoyed all of these tidbits and how the author put them together. Elias is written as a really great grump. I felt his Grinchyness and you could easily see the slow thawing of his heart.

I didn’t love how Elias and Isabelle re-started their relationship (benefits moments are never my thing) buuut I do admit that this worked out well enough that I had few complaints past that. They actually worked on their relationship and opened up about the past. There were a few key flashback moments that helped the details connect too.

Romantic and simple, with a level of spice that I prefer, definitely pick this one up for the season!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Holiday Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: 2-3 brief open; low explicit
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: miscarriage (recounted briefly)

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