2015 Reviews · Book vs Movie · Books · Hallmark · movie · TV

Christmas with Holly Book vs Movie


It’s already that time of year. The moment when the 2 Hallmark Channels show nothing but Christmas movies (and some Thanksgiving ones too during that Holiday).

The first memorable movie so far, at least one I’ve been able to rewatch and review, and also is one that I thought was better than the book is:

Christmas With Holly


Christmas with Holly (2012 Hallmark film)

8 out of 10 Cheese Puffs images (1)

Directed by Allan Arkush. Stars: Sean Faris, Eloise Mumford, and Daniel Eric Gold.

The Synopsis:

Now normally I don’t often give the full story (or close to in this case as I’m sure I’ve left out a lot.) But I need to in order to help compare it to the book. So some SPOILERS. Although it’s a Hallmark movie, so it’s predictable.

Maggie’s been ditched at the alter, and then moves to an island by Seatle, Washington. She starts up a toy store and has a fairy house. Mark Nolan, youngest of 4, owns a coffee shop on the island. His sister dies tragically, and Mark becomes the guardian of his niece Holly, who hasn’t spoken since the tragedy. Mark and Maggie meet on the ferry ride to the island. But they hardly get a chance to talk. Oh and Mark has a girlfriend. Mark and Holly moves in to the older brother, Scott’s house that is being renovated, where the other brother,  Alex the scientist, lives too.

Mark’s girlfriend tries to persuade Mark to move to Seatle. But Mark’s life is focused just on Holly now. He breaks up with her after a a dinner party with friends, because she doesn’t understand how much Holly means to Mark.

Mark tries to give Holly the perfect Nolan Thanksgiving dinner, but the guys all fail at cooking. Dinner is ruined. Mark meets Maggie while he was walking to reflect, and she was going for a run. They talk and then go on their separate ways.

Holly starts school at the island, and she’s still not talking – 6 months since her mom died. Holly and Mark then visit Maggie’s toy store twice. And Holly is still not talking. But she does write down a grocery list for the guys to get her.

Then one day, Mark brings Holly to his coffee shop, and they are swamped with customers, so he can’t keep a full eye on Holly. And she makes a break for it at Maggie’s store. Holly tells Maggie the name of the fairy that lives in the house is Victoria, which is Holly’s Mom’s name too. She talks, after 7 or so months later. They go home and the guys ask her who her favorite uncle is, and Holly says it’s Alex. He is a cool uncle, even though he studies fungus, or is it marine life?

Christmas comes and Holly has written a letter to Santa, asking for a Mom. And it just so happens that Mark and Maggie might become more than friends.

My Thoughts:

I have lost count to how many times I’ve seen this. It’s a good Hallmark movie. It seems to focus more on Holly and the island, than the romance between Mark and Maggie. Like this photo with the boats, showing the town almost has me wanting to live on an island like that. But as my Grandpa said when they first showed the island, “one hurricane and that island will get flooded with water.”


My only criticism is I felt that the ending didn’t flow from one scene to the other. First, they are all watching this boat show and it seems like it could be the ending. But wait! Oops. They forgot the Christmas dinner, and Maggie needs to give Holly the fairy house. And the entire house needs to be lit up with Christmas lights. The entire house! Even the construction scaffolding at the side. It looks nice, even if parts of it looks CGI.


But wait! There’s more!

Like most of the Hallmark movies, this was based off of a romance book.


The book: Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor
2010 book by Lisa Kleypas.

3 out of 5 Eye Rolls

The Synopsis:

After a year from her husband’s death, Maggie moves to Friday Harbor to start a fresh life, and to get away from her large overbearing family. (Yes, Maggie is a widow. Now shush, I’m trying to make this short). On the ferry ride, she meets Mark. It’s attraction-at-first-site for them both.

Mark is the oldest brother, and moves in with the middle brother, Scott. Alex is a real estate agent, is going through a possible divorce, and is hardly in the story. (That’s right, Alex is a work-aholic jerk and doesn’t live with his brothers). Mark does have a girlfriend, but he thinks it’s nothing serious, while she’s planning out her wedding dress. And so Mark ends the relationship.

Maggie has to go to her family for Thanksgiving Dinner but doesn’t want to. And what a surprise, Mark calls asking for her help in cooking the Nolan’s Thanksgiving Dinner. And she does happily. After the dinner, Mark and Maggie kiss. But wait, no. Maggie is a widow and doesn’t want to feel all these feelings for Mark.

And so days go by. Oh and yes, Mark is the guardian of Holly, who isn’t talking. That’s right, she’s there too. I think. lol. Mark takes Holly to Maggie’s store for the first time. Holly sees the fairy house, and talks! (Movie: It took 3 visits to the toy store to get Holly to talk.) She tells Maggie who the fairy in the house is.

Maggie and Mark sometimes sees each other, as friends, even though there’s a lot of chemistry between them. And as Christmas comes, with a lot of pushing and pep talks from Maggie’s large family to get over her dead husband and love again, Maggie comes to her senses and starts dating Mark. And they all lived happily ever after. Or at least Mark, Maggie, and Holly do. This is a book series, and Mark does have brothers you know.

🍎 Apples and Oranges 🍊

Now normally, one would think that the book was better than the movie. But in this case, I thought the movie was. I had read the book some years ago, and I forgot some of it. Then the Hallmark movie comes and I’m thinking of the book and movie being closely the same.

And then I read the book again last year. Bubble popped.

Not only did the book have insta-attraction, but it also had insta-love. I’m not much of a fan when love is developed in a book so quickly like this. And the characters are so much different than the movie. Maggie a widower?! Mark is the older brother?! And Uncle Alex a jerk?! Say it isn’t so! These are all parts I conveniently forgot. And I didn’t like how Holly was barely there in the story of the book.

I really did like the movie more, obviously. But I might try some more of Lisa’s Friday Harbor series.


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