REVIEW: Christmas Elf by Tielle St Clare

After being kicked out of Santa’s Workshop for being a little cranky, Marlie is sent on a mission in the Outside World: teach Jacob Triumph the real-life role model for Scrooge the true meaning of Christmas. He’s a tough case but she’s determined to succeed and earn her place back in the Workshop. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to get distracted. Jacob is so handsome and she has the strangest urge to run her hands and her lips and oh, maybe her tongue, across his whole body. It’s all very confusing…and delicious. A brief foray into Jacob’s dreams for research purposes, of course reveals the most unusual desires. His dreams are filled with kissing and licking and bodies rubbing together and the whole process just makes her hungry for more. What’s an elf to do? Make a wish and try to make Jacob’s dreams come true.
Warnings: dubcon, light BDSM

Category: M/F

Christmas Elf is a cheesy, heartwarming, and very steamy little Christmas novel. It’s premise isn’t a new one; a rich and powerful CEO is a total grump about Christmas and needs a little bit of holiday cheer in his life. So Santa sends him one of the elves to help him rekindle his Christmas spirit. It’s a plot idea we’ve all seen done before, many many times, but what I haven’t seen before with this particular plot is a smut novel. Nothing says Christmas cheer like sexual awakenings and light BDSM, so let’s have a look!

WRITING
This book is so incredibly fun. The writing is very engaging, switching between the exuberant POV of Marlie the Christmas elf, and the grumpier POV of Jacob Triumph (and what a name!). The plot is nothing ambitious, but it’s executed very well and in a way that will keep the reader very invested in the progression of their relationship. I felt like I was watching a cheesy Hallmark movie but with a raw sensuality running throughout the whole thing, which is a very fun time and exactly what I was hoping for from it. I do wish that some of Jacob’s family baggage was addressed a bit more than just wished away via magic, as it seems as though the situations that had him emotionally scared simply vanish without any real effort to confront them, but for a short and sweet little Christmas novel that is meant to feel good and warm and uplifting, it’s a lovely little story.

EMOTIONAL ENGAGEMENT
The author has done an excellent job at making both main characters charming and engaging. Jacob is relatable, and while Marlie’s more innocent outlook and perspective is less relatable, she is immediately personable and entertaining. Although her childlike ignorance of how the world works can be a bit over the top, and it is a bit unrealistic that absolutely anybody she encountered would put up with her intrusions without just calling security to have to removed from premises, it is humorous, and considering the grand tradition of Christmas stories centering around characters like this, (think Will Ferrell in Elf, or Anna Kendrick in Noelle) it is easier to suspend disbelief and go with the cheesy flow. These sorts of characters are hit and miss for me, but I did really enjoy Marlie.

Jacob, our grumpy, bah-humbugging Christmas Grinch, is meanwhile a joy to read for opposite reasons. He’s overworked, overstressed, and hates the holidays because of all the family baggage that it comes with, which is certainly a much more relatable perspective for a lot of us. His turn around on Christmas, as well as his bemused and often perplexed indulgence of Marlie’s eccentricities, was very sweet, and I really did like him a lot. The two had very good chemistry, both emotionally and sexually, and I loved watching their relationship bloom.

WORLDBUILDING
I do wish that we had seen a little bit more of the workings of Santa’s Workshop and the elves there. We get to see some, some of the principles upon which this world operates. Elves are all apparently assigned specific tasks and are taught absolutely no other skills. These tasks seem to be either extremely specific (Marlie’s job is painting red on toys) or very broad (there are kitchen elves that simply “cook”), and it appears that although elves do indeed have all the anatomy for sexual reproduction (Santa even gives a warning to Jacob that elves are very fertile), they don’t actually reproduce sexually at the North Pole. Baby elves are delivered via stork, elves know nothing about sex or their own sex organs, and so my only conclusion must be that Santa is having baby elves artificially grown in labs and is keeping the elf population uneducated about sex as a sinister means of population control. Dark!

STEAMINESS
This is a book about a very naive and innocent girl who experiences a sexual awakening at having her first ever interactions with a human man. She has never before heard of things like sex, arousal, or even where babies come from. It’s a quintessential “born sexy yesterday” trope, which may or may not be your thing. It could be off putting, as Marlie approaches so much with the innocence and wonder of a child, but it could very well strike a chord with anyone into things like CGL or pet play. For myself, I found that the gradual discovery of sexuality in Marlie was very well done, and the exploration of herself and her body was very satisfying in that “nostalgic for first time experiences” kind of way. The smut is very well written and emotionally connecting, and even gets a slight bit kinky towards the end. I could have gone for Jacob being a little more sexually aggressive personally, but I enjoyed the scenes for what they were. The best scenes for me where the ones where Marlie took some peeks into Jacob’s dreams and wishes, as we got to see a more uninhibited look at what Jacob would really like to do.

Altogether Christmas Elf is a typical feel good holiday story that happens to incorporate sex and romance. It’s a very satisfying read, I loved the simple nature of it’s plot and characters, and thought it worked incredibly well. It doesn’t take long to read and it may be a tad generic, but it was warm and cozy for the holidays and I really had a fun time reading it.

Have you read Christmas Elf? Let me know what YOU thought by leaving me a comment!

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