Hot Flash Holidays actually takes place over a year, beginning at Christmas, and ending the next year at Christmas. Five friends, all in their 50's and 60's, begin Christmas with high hopes for happy times with family and friends. Marilyn, Polly, Shirley, Faye, and Alice are all at crossroads in their lives, but none of them are prepared for the ups and downs that life throws at them as their Christmas celebrations fall short of their hoped for good times. It's an indication of what's to come in the new year, as each woman struggles to find what makes them happy, and balance what they want with the demands of boyfriends, grown children, and for Marilyn, an aging mother who comes to stay with her for an extended visit. As the year rolls on, and all of the holidays come and go, will each of the women find that elusive "something" that they are seeking?
I have to say it did take me a few chapters before I got all of the characters straight. I suppose if I'd read the first novel I wouldn't have had that problem. But each woman's personality soon came through, and I could keep them all straight. It really was refreshing to read about women of a certain age who still had to work through life's unexpected problems. Boyfriends with performance issues, boyfriends who don't always say the right thing or show appreciation; children that move away and create lives that don't include their parents. Trying to figure out how to handle an aging mother who may or may not be showing signs of senility. All while still working and taking care of themselves.
Life's problems don't begin in our 20's and magically come to an end in our 30's; we still have the same issues as we get older, but the drama is certainly dialed down and we're less willing to put our happiness last.
I enjoyed getting to know the members of the hot flash club. This was my first Nancy Thayer novel, and I will certainly read more of her novels.
Rating: 6/10 for an enjoyable sequel about friends who support each other through a year of ups and downs. You don't have to read the first novel The Hot Flash Club to catch on quickly with this novel, but some may find it easier to keep the characters straight. A fun read for anyone who enjoys contemporary women's fiction.
Available in paperback and e-book. Originally published in 2005 and reissued in 2016.