Home for the Holidays by Erin ZakHome for the Holidays by Erin Zak is a wonderful age gap, contemporary holiday romance about falling in love when you least expect it.

Little does Iris Abbott know that going home with her best friend and roommate Zac Nowak to his sleepy Indiana hometown for the holidays will irrevocably change her life forever.

Enter Heidi, a gorgeous woman who beguiles Iris from the moment their eyes lock. Drawn to one another by a force stronger than either has felt before, the two begin a clandestine love affair that leaves them both reeling with the ferocity and unexpectedness of their feelings.

As their connection deepens, their stolen kisses linger and glances smolder, Iris and Heidi must both find the courage to confront their fears and find the strength to stand up for their love. Together, they embark on a journey of self-acceptance, challenging the conventions of a society that tries to define who they should be.


Jenna: Oh! Erin Zak, you never cease to amaze me with your incredible writing skills! With Home for the Holidays, she’s told us the story using both Heidi and Iris’s points of view in alternating chapters. Being privy to both women’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions really enhanced the overall depth of the story for me.

Rachel: I couldn’t agree more Jenna. What I also love in this book is how much emotional dialogue there is, it feels very authentic and that helped me relate to the characters. What I love about Zak’s writing is that her characters are never perfect but always perfect for each other and Home for the Holidays is no different.

Pros And My Favourite Parts

Jenna: Is it fair for me to say that I love absolutely everything about this book? Because I do!

Rachel: Same, same. It’s beautiful from beginning to end.

Jenna: Heidi and Iris’s meet-cute is one of my favorite scenes of all time. Grown women who have both lived very full lives being gripped so hard by the presence of another is swoon-worthy. Iris is unable to form a coherent thought as she gazes at Heidi for the first time, making her cheeks pink and her ears red, which never happens to her. Heidi is just as captivated but is able to make herself function enough to make the best cappuccino Iris has ever tasted. The electricity between them sizzles and the flirting…yeah, the flirting. Dreamy sigh.

Rachel: It’s a great scene and when done properly I’m a sucker for that instant, all-consuming attraction that quickly turns to love *swoon* And this is my favourite thing about this book. The soul mates- are meant to be aspect. The fact that Iris and Heidi are each other’s missing puzzle pieces is so apparent. They have an instant connection that is fierce and unfightable. It is beautiful and made my chest ache.

Jenna: I absolutely agree! This insta-love connection is so believable, I think because Heidi and Iris are so completely blown away by what they feel and they continuously communicate their feelings with one another.

Rachel: You’re so right Jenna. The communication between Iris and Heidi is key. Even when they talk about the hard things, they do so openly and never deny how they feel towards one another. They never assume what the other is thinking, they ask and tell freely. It is lovely to witness.

Jenna: I found Zac’s story to be equally powerful. I enjoyed being a part of his journey of acceptance (on multiple levels) and vulnerability. I felt so deeply for his struggles and absolutely adored him! His relationship with Iris is pivotal for both of them as well as his relationship with Heidi.

Rachel: Oh, Zac. I also felt for him throughout the book, and you are totally right this is not just a story about a romantic relationship between Iris and Heidi. This book is about friendship and family relationships and how all three can be tied together but still coexist.

Jenna: I’ve read this book several times already and each time I read it, I find something else I love. Heidi and Iris also spend a lot of time in this book coming to terms with their pasts in order to move toward a future…together. Heidi’s been closeted forever and the expectations she put on herself didn’t allow for her to really be true to herself. It seems meeting Iris not only allows Heidi to fully accept herself, but it also allows Iris to come to terms with the fact that her relationship with her mom impacted many of the decisions she’s made over the years. Erin Zak does an amazing job developing and executing these additional plot points which show how important trusting and leaning into vulnerability can be.

Rachel: Definitely. There are so many things from our past that impact how we see ourselves. Iris especially has a lot of preconceived ideas of what she deserves. The points you have made above are what make this book special.

Head Up

Jenna: None for me.

Rachel: Same

The Conclusion

Rach's Favourite Booksannas favourite booksJenna: I’m a sucker for sapphic holiday tales and Home for the Holidays is a beautiful holiday romance that will leave you breathless. The deep emotions that are woven through the story combined with brilliant character arcs, humor, honesty, and loyalty make this one of the best books I’ve ever read. Coming out is an extremely difficult process and everyone’s journey is different and Home for the Holidays shows the power and freedom that come with being true to yourself when and only when you are ready. Iris and Heidi’s love story is both heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. I challenge any nonbelievers of love at first sight, to hold on to that belief after reading this story!

Rachel: Exactly what Jenna said. It really is one of the loveliest holiday romances. I’m a firm believer that when you meet ‘the one’ then you know, and this author did a fantastic job at conveying those feelings without it being too cheesy or over the top. Throw in a beautiful small-town setting, family drama, a shift in friendship, and two compelling coming-out stories and for me, it made the perfect read that would make a brilliant movie.

This book made me feel so much, but the feelings that stood out were those of love and acceptance. Not only from others but towards oneself. I loved this story and will be rereading it every holiday season.

Excerpt from Home for the Holidays by Erin Zak

“Good morning, miss,” a voice said. “Welcome to Easy Bake Café.”

Iris’s attention instantly glued itself to the woman whose voice greeted her and, upon seeing her behind the counter, sparkling and lovely like the new-fallen snow, all thoughts left her body. She opened her mouth to say good morning back, but only a tiny squeak came out. Her brain wasn’t functioning properly at all. It was running on hardly any sleep, barely any food, and she was fighting a very small hangover from her in-flight cocktail party.

And now Iris was staring at this woman who was radiant, her presence so confident it quite literally had her struggling to remember how to breathe. Her caramel-colored, medium-length hair fell in wavy curls, framing her stunning face. The warmth of the honey color, paired with the soft waves, added to her overall appearance was incredible. Her dark brown eyes, deep-set and captivating from behind black-framed glasses, conveyed an overwhelming amount of wisdom and kindness. Elegant, high cheekbones accentuated her features, giving her a sculpted and sophisticated look. Her sharp jawline—Jesus Christ, her jawline. The strength it added to her facial structure was stunning. And the way she moved? She was enchanting. It was as if she’d been doing this—ensorcelling people with her magnificence—her entire life.

Say something, Iris. What the hell is going on with you?

The woman narrowed her dark eyes, then smiled a smile that could have electrified a stopped heart into beating again. “Cat got your tongue?” Her bottom lip was much fuller than her top, her teeth straight and perfect, and the way the smile—the smile!—lit up her entire face had Iris gripping the counter like a lifeline.

“Uh”—Iris cleared her throat—“uh, hi, I’m, I’m sorry. It’s early.” She forced out a nervous chuckle that fell incredibly flat. She could feel heat filling her cheeks and traveling down her neck, flooding her entire body with the temperature of the fucking sun, a telltale sign that she was embarrassed. Goddammit. You idiot, open your mouth and fucking speak. She cleared her throat again after her internal tongue-lashing and finally said, “Good morning.”

The woman was still grinning at her, and it made Iris’s stomach fill with a million more butterflies. She was in the middle of a holy shit moment. A moment she’d talked about a thousand times to her clients. The moment when something happens huge or small, but it turns your entire world upside down. The moment when you are hit with the realization that you’ve quite possibly been asleep your entire life. The moment before it all begins. They were few and far between, those moments, but when they did happen, it was imperative to hold on to them. They were a gift, and to squander that gift would be pure stupidity. And now she was having a holy shit moment. In the middle of the armpit of America. What the hell?

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Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 979-8988397205

Publisher: Indie Author

Erin Zak Online

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