My Christmas Number One by Leonie Mack #BookReview #BlogTour



Cara doesn’t do sexy and she only does ‘Happy Christmas’ under duress. She is, after all, a serious musician, and her stubborn streak is born from her struggle to recover from a serious injury.

Javi lives for escapist fun – in his music, and in his life – especially since he’s always failed at life’s more serious challenges, including marriage and fatherhood.

Javi and Cara are forced to record a Christmas single together, but neither of them have plans to spend any more time with each other than they absolutely have to. With Christmas traditions that couldn’t be more different, and outlooks on life that are worlds apart, the chemistry just shouldn’t work. But the magic of Christmas can bring even opposites together…

From the snowy beauty of London at Christmas, to the candle-lit magic of Javi’s traditional family celebrations, let Leonie Mack whisk you away on a memorable festive adventure. Perfect for fans of Trisha Ashley, Mandy Baggot and Holly Martin.

It's such a pleasure to be hosting the blog tour for My Christmas Number One today. Many thanks to Leonie Mack, Boldwood Books and Rachel Gilbey from Rachel's Random Resources for inviting me and for my digital copy of the novel, received through Netgalley.

Although I have a predilection for gritty crime fiction, I'm a sucker for those romantic, sentimental Hallmark Christmas movies and so every year make sure I read at least one festive romance. The front cover of My Christmas Number One suggested it would contain all the elements I expect to find in a book of this type but although many are present, this is actually a bit different and is a fresh and appealing twist on the more usual fare.
Cara and Javi are both musicians and so naturally, music features throughout the book. I must admit that my knowledge of music only extends as far as appreciating what it sounds like, I don't really have much of an understanding of the more technical details - unlike Cara  - but I absolutely loved her reaction to hearing 'Nostalgia' for the very first time. Her enthusiasm for the song is almost palpable and although I'm not familiar with reggaet├│n, I could really feel how the music moved her.
The pair are brought together by their record company who think that a crossover Christmas song will appeal to audiences beyond Javi's Latin American followers. Cara is a fledgling pop star who doesn't yet have control over her career and so is contractually obliged to do the song, despite her misgivings. In the best tradition of Christmas romances, their first meeting isn't hugely successful, largely due to Javi's larger-than-life personality and his accidental insulting of her. I wasn't sure at first if I'd like Javi - he appears to be the stereotypical cheesy Latin Lothario with a string of ex-lovers and wandering eyes (and hands).
The third person narrative which switches between Cara and Javi quickly makes it clear that he isn't actually the shallow, arrogant man he pretends to be. As the novel progresses we learn that both main characters are dealing with their own personal tragedies as Leonie Mack explores the weight of their losses and how it has affected their lives with perceptive sensitivity. Cara suffers from PTSD and the scenes where she manages her anxiety are beautifully written while Javi's gentle understanding of her struggles and her strength are truly heartwarming. 
The simmering passion between them sizzles throughout and Leonie Mack captures the tantalising will-they-won't-they (even though we know they will eventually) balance perfectly. The two main characters are a joy; their complex flaws mean they are imperfectly matched ensuring that their hesitation and their doubts are irresistibly frustrating. The pair are complemented by an excellent cast of secondary characters, most notably Cara's overbearing, prejudicial father and Javi's precociously insightful daughter, Bea. Although My Christmas Number One is a romantic story, it is also an empathetic exploration of love within families and the challenges of negotiating those relationships in the face of change and loss.
There are some familiar festive scenes but much of the book is set in the warmer climes of Miami, Mexico and Javi's native Colombia. I have to admit to associating Colombia with drugs and violence but Leonie Mack reveals a different side to the country, vividly bringing to life the cosmopolitan cities, the beautiful, diverse landscapes and its warm, friendly people.
I read My Christmas Number One while the sun was shining but finished the book feeling decidedly Christmassy, which perhaps sums up this novel perfectly. The passion burns with an intensity matched by the Latin American heat and yet to quote a line from the book, 'It was so damn Christmas - full of memories and joy and pain.' Leonie Mack's debut is a joy from start to finish and My Christmas Number One is a surefire hit; I can't wait to read more!

My Christmas Number One is published by Boldwood Books, purchasing links can be found here.

Don't miss the rest of the blog tour, details are below.

About the Author

Leonie Mack is a debut novelist whose first book My Christmas Number One will be published by Boldwood in September 2020. Having lived in London for many years her home is now in Germany with her husband and three children. Leonie loves train travel, medieval towns, hiking and happy endings!