I love the romance genre so much because right when you think you've read everything and there's nothing new, a surprising book comes along to show how the genre is evolving.

After years of loving romance books, I didn't like them anymore and was wondering if I would find another book that I'd love. I picked up Tis the Season for Revenge on a whim and it turned out to be so damn good that it gave me hope to read more romance books.

about Tis the Season for Revenge

tis the season for revenge book cover

Abbie Keller thought that Richard Bartholemew Benson the Third would be her forever. In their four years of dating, she never doubted that she wouldn’t end up with his grandmother’s engagement ring on her finger. Sure, she had to change a few things about herself to fit that mold, like dying her hair, dressing more conservatively, and finding golf enjoyable (honestly the most difficult of the changes), but she was sure that at the end of it all, it would be worth it. 

That is, until he leaves her crying outside her apartment wearing a Halloween costume, having broken it off with her because she’s just not serious enough. She was just fun, he tells her - and now that Richard has becoming a partner at his law firm in his sights, he needs to focus on work. 

So she does what every girl does when she’s broken up with: she calls her friends, gets drunk, dyes her hair, and formulates her plan for revenge. It just so happens that the universe supports her efforts and gives her the perfect match to prove to her ex that he made a huge mistake: his boss. 

Abbie starts dating the founding partner of Richard’s law firm, Damien Martinez, with one thing in mind: convincing him to invite her to the huge annual Christmas party as his date. 

But when the relationship starts to become something more than casual dating and Abbie sees that the tough New York lawyer has a soft side, will she be able to follow through with her plan of deceit? 

Content warnings: emotional abuse, manipulation, parental abandonment.

my review

There are many romance books where a woman gets out of a bad relationship and has a healing journey. However, none of them try to get revenge on their ex outright, no matter how angry they are. Well, not Abbie.

When Abbie is dumped by her manipulative boyfriend of 4 years, her rose-tinted glasses come off and she decides to get revenge. For once, I read a romance book where the main character's pettiness is directed towards the ex who deserves it.

While they're coming up with ideas like putting glitter in his car vents, Abbie matches with his boss on her new dating profile. In a drunken state, she declared that she would sleep with his boss and show up at their office Christmas party on his arm as the ultimate revenge.

Really, how sick is that? To spend so much time and energy changing someone, crafting them to be different, knowing all along she'd never be what you wanted?

Abbie falls hard in love and gives all of herself. Richard, her ex, took complete advantage of it and treated her horribly. Slowly, he made her feel worthless and "too much". She toned herself down and became the person he wanted, only for him to dump her in the end.

However, the damage from the relationship goes beyond the relationship itself. When she starts dating Damien, she assumes that he's like Richard and her insecurities come to the surface. Damien is a gem, unlike Richard, and slowly helps her heal.

Seeing Abbie falter in the smallest things was heartbreaking because of her past relationship. Her expectations from her partner are completely skewed. While she recognizes that her relationship was bad and that not everyone is like her ex, she's unable to let go of that trauma easily.

Right from the first date, Damien helps her undo the damage by just being himself. He treats her how she should be treated and it lowkey shocks her.

Realizing that you survived on scraps of affection and convinced yourself it was a whole meal can be the most eye-opening, humbling experience in the world.

I loved Abbie. The true Abbie is a girly girl. She loves everything pink and loves dressing up. She hates cardio because it makes her sweaty and she collects pretty shoes. She has an exuberant and friendly personality. She gives all of herself to the people she loves and is the best support system to have.

While the book is a romance, it's also about Abbie blooming into her real self again and becoming confident. We see her healing journey in the book—some of which was through petty revenge.

It was lovely to see Abbie with her sister and her friends. I loved seeing her get excited over pretty outfits and helping the people around her. I loved her saying that she wants her partner to give his whole to her because she does that.

She is one of the few characters I've read about who is clear about not wanting kids and says what she wants instead. She mentions how she's made to feel horrible because she doesn't want to be a mother and how the usual expectations of women trap them instead.

Abbie is a very likeable character. Even if you don't relate to her, you will like her. You will also have fun reading about her.

Damien: "I haven't sat on the phone with a girl since high school."
Abbie: "Oh, you mean back when the dinosaurs were roaming?"

Damien is an absolute gem and is everything that Abbie deserves. He is the calm to her storm. He's patient, thoughtful, and doesn't let things be unsaid. He helps everybody and is a 100% green flag.

Honestly, Damien is too perfect and has zero flaws, which is the problem. His character is a good example of "unrealistic men written by women" that we often see in romance books. My friend Vaishnavi's on-point review of this book is "The man was just too good to be true... Makes sense why he is in a book."

I mean, Abbie becomes silent on the phone and he immediately knows that she's overthinking? After ONE date? People can't read minds and no one is that intuitive.

Damien is likeable enough but I didn't take to him as much as Abbie because he had no flaws. He's Abbie's supporting character more than a main character. Most of his scenes are about helping Abbie somehow—even if it is just having fun with her.

We barely get to know Damien, you know? We don't find out about his past, his influences, etc. He wasn't a full-blown character.

A relationship is like the law. It needs balance. If it's out of balance, if one person sees themselves as less valuable, if another sees themselves as more valuable, the balance isn't there. You are not less than me. I am not less than you. We are humans who do what we can to help people.

I liked seeing a makeup artist main character for the first time. Abbie is a passionate makeup artist who understands how much makeup and the right clothes can help a person. She helps people in a way that most people don't understand and ridicule.

Through her profession, the author addresses how women are ridiculed for doing the things that they love and give them confidence. We also see how makeup artists sometimes become a kind of therapist because they're in their clients' faces for an hour or more.

It's not just makeup. It's never just makeup. It's confidence, a badge of honor, a shield from the world.

A lot of topics are just touched upon in the book. There isn't much depth to anything. As this book was initially written as a novella for another series, I guess the author didn't work too hard on it. However, it became the author's most popular book soon after its release.

The book has a charm that makes it stand out despite its flaws. It's a light and comforting read that is perfect for winter seasons and Christmas times. It's great for sick days. It is a lovely pick-me-up after a bad day.

overall

While I still don't love every aspect of the book, I love it as a whole. It's one of my favourite books and my top comfort book. I will recommend it to everyone who needs a romance book that feels like a warm hug.

I also second the author's dedication:

And for all the girls who were told they were "too much." Let him go find less.

chat with me!

Have you read Tis the Season for Revenge or any other books by Morgan Elizabeth? Are there any books that you love as a whole even if you don't like parts of it? Tell me in the comments!

photo of Sumedha

Sumedha spends her days reading books, bingeing Kdramas, drawing illustrations, and blogging while listening to Lo-Fi music. Read more ➔

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8 comments

  • theorangutanlibrarian says:

    ooh I absolutely love the concept for this one!! So glad it was like a warm hug- that's my kind of book 😀 Great review!

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  • aimee can read says:

    Definitely makes sense that you'd like the flawed-but-deep character more than the perfect one! Damien sounds sweet, but knowing the FMC so well after one date is kind of an ick for me. 😂 So glad this was an enjoyable read for you overall, though! 🙂 There are definitely a few books that I just got so attached to despite the weirdly specific flaws they have (I'm thinking along the lines of some of my favorite series like The Hunger Games and Percy Jackson).

    Reply ➔
    • sumedha @ the wordy habitat says:

      haha true. it’s too weird to have a perfect character now, it isn’t a dream anymore, it’s just weird 😂 oh i love PJO and THG series too! i somehow like romance books with flaws better than others, maybe because they finish fast and i don’t have to deal with the flaws for too long 😂

      Reply ➔
  • dbsguidetothegalaxy says:

    Ooh, this looks interesting! Will definitely add this to my list. I like the premise.

    Reply ➔
  • Kiera says:

    I’ve already had this book on my TBR for a while now, but this has just sealed the deal! I’m in desperate need of a light, pick-me-up romance with just hints of deeper themes.

    Reply ➔