Goodreads: Window Shopping
Published: 19 October 2021
Genre: Contemporary Romance
A sizzling, standalone, feel-good holiday romance from Tessa Bailey, New York Times bestselling author of It Happened One Summer.
Two weeks before Christmas and all through Manhattan, shop windows are decorated in red and green satin.
I’m standing alone in front of the famous Vivant department store, when a charming man named Aiden asks my opinion of the décor.
It’s a tragedy in tinsel, I say, unable to lie.
He asks for a better idea with a twinkle in his eye.
Did I know he owned the place? No. He put me on the spot.
Now I’m working for that man, trying to ignore that he’s hot.
But as a down on her luck girl with a difficult past, I know an opportunity when I see one—and I have to make it last.
I’ll put my heart and soul into dressing his holiday windows.
I’ll work without stopping. And when we lose the battle with temptation, I’ll try and remember I’m just window shopping.
TL;DR: This reverse grumpy-sunshine romance was incredibly adorable, delightful, and so full of positive and festive holiday vibes! I think this is also the first romance/book I’ve read that directly references the pandemic, and while it was admittedly a little jarring to see things being so ‘normal’ when it’s still so not normal (and the pandemic so far from over) IRL, it was also nice and hopeful! I loved Stella and Aiden and despite the insta-love moments of their romance, I was sold on their connection and sizzling chemistry and they more than deserved their HEA!
Stella is an ex-convict who has had an incredibly toxic and damaging relationship with her childhood best friend, and she’s still coming to terms with this ‘new life’ now that she’s out of prison. She’s kinda prickly and stand-offish but underneath that grumpy exterior, she has a good heart, and she’s determined to make a better life for herself while figuring out who she is now that she’s “free”, in more ways than one. I really admired her strength and the way she held her head up high when people judged her too quickly and treated her like shit because of her past, and it was heartwarming to see her pursue her passion and also succeed hard. I was a little worried that she wouldn’t stand up for herself when it came to her toxic friendship but I happily cheered her on when she did it! She was such a great heroine and so easy to root for. And when she meets Aiden standing in front of the Vivant window displays, she has no idea that her life is about to change, and most definitely for the better!
Oh, Aiden! This guy was such a giant ball of sunshine and corny positivity and although I don’t know how I’d react to meeting a guy like that IRL, it was hard to not feel happy whenever he appeared on the page. I absolutely adored him for it! 😍 My heart also went out to him hearing about how his family treated him and when we learn the reasons why he’s always so happy-go-lucky, and why he started wearing bow ties. He’s definitely quirky, which is a trait I don’t read often in romance heroes, and I loved it on him! I loved his signature bow ties, his love for Christmas and all things happy, his aunt Edna stories, and his big heart.
It’s rare to come across a reverse grumpy-sunshine romance but I absolutely adored Stella and Aiden’s dynamic! It might’ve been a little insta-love, which is up there on my least favourite tropes list, but despite the intensity of their feelings escalating very quickly, their connection never felt forced or fake. I loved how he wanted to beat down for her but respected her to go at her own pace and handle her own business. Aiden was so gone for Stella and I loved that he and his big golden retriever heart were the ones to fall hard and fast first! Not to mention that he was definitely still your typical Tessa Bailey in the bedroom and the combination of “street nice” and “bedroom filthy” was woo, smoking fire! 🥵
Overall, this was a wonderful and festive holiday romance that’s full of heart and hopeful new beginnings. I’d definitely recommend it, especially for the holiday season! 🎄
Have you read Window Shopping or is it on your TBR?