Window Shopping

Author: Tess Bailey

First Published: 19 October 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

“I can practically hear the bow tie in your voice.”

I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much to Tessa for sending a copy my way!

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.

Window Shopping is exactly what I needed – a sweet romance with a ton of steamy scenes and all wrapped up in Christmas cheer! We also have the grump and sunshine trope, which is one of my all-time favourites.

Two weeks before Christmas, ex-con, Stella Schmidt, strikes up a conversation with an upbeat passerby, Aiden Cook, about Vivant department store horrific Christmas windows. Stella does not hold back her opinion. Little does she know that Aiden’s family own the store, in fact, he is the general manager until he tells her to apply for their new window dresser position. Stella has been looking for a fresh start and this might be the perfect chance to land her dream job.

Stella Schmidt has made some mistakes in the past, which she owns. Despite this, she’s resigned to the fact that her past will define her future. She is gutsy and a whole lot defensive. At first, she is resistant to the job offer but throws her all in her window designs once she decides to take the risk and go after her dream job. I loved seeing her grow and strengthen throughout the narrative.   

Aiden Cook is the sweetest, most bubbly person. Put simply — I love him. My heart just about broke the more we learnt about his family history. The fact he didn’t end up bitter and harsh like the rest of his family is a miracle. Aiden is also very aware of the power dynamic between himself and Stella, which was so refreshing. He is upfront with Stella. He wants a relationship with her. Aiden wants to make sure they are following Vivant’s HRs advice before they sleep together.

I adore these two together! I love that Aiden is the Buddy to Stella’s Grinch. These two perfectly complement each other. It is refreshing to see a book with a grumpy heroine instead of having the brooding hero. The fact that Aiden was conscious enough to know that supporting Stella meant standing back and letting her find her footing and stand her ground without rushing in to save the day like he wanted was honestly the sexiest thing I have ever read!

Tessa Bailey knows how to write a steamy scene! She is the queen of writing talk and, boy, this book is no exception. Despite Aiden’s sunshiny positivity and extensive bow tie collection, he is quite assertive in the bedroom. What a wonderful surprise! The chemistry between the two was off the charts.

I am impressed that Bailey has been able to explore some heavier topics in this Christmas romance. Stella is coping with her criminal past and the toxic friendship the caused it all along. While Aiden is working so hard to for his family’s approval. His family are dismissive and belittle all his input into keeping Vivant open. These elements did not feel rushed or unnecessary to the narrative but worked to deepen the characters and add a realness to the world.

If you are looking for a story to put you into the Christmas mood, Window Shopping is a must to add to your TBR!

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