The Christmas Swap

Alcove. Oct. 2023. 336p. ISBN 9781639106028. pap. $18.99. LGBTQIA+ ROMANCE
DEBUT Margot Murray, a marketing executive in London, agrees to her client Ben Gibson’s offer to pose as a fake couple and spend the Christmas holiday with him and his family at their manor. Margot won’t have to be alone on Christmas after a recent breakup with her girlfriend, while Ben won’t have to answer a flurry of questions from his family about his love life. The plan hits a snag when Ellie, Ben’s sister, becomes suspicious of Margot’s intentions. Then Ellie finds out that Margot is also a lesbian and expresses her attraction to her, leading to midnight rendezvous between the two women. What is supposed to be a picture-perfect Christmas get-together, however, is overtaken by misunderstandings as the Gibsons reveal their struggles to one another and Margot processes the effects of an abusive previous relationship. How much longer Ben and Margot can keep up with their fake relationship depends on how well Margot and Ellie maintain their secret relationship—or risk something real.
VERDICT Samuels’s debut will appeal to readers looking for a quick, lighthearted story filled with cozy romantic tropes.
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