So there’s Christmas. And then there’s Christmas at a tavern that was previously run by people every so slightly obsessed with collecting trinkets. Christmas trinkets included. Sound perfect? Then you should definitely read Daisy James’ Christmas at the Dancing Duck!
Quick disclaimer: I got the chance to read this book via Netgalley. All opinions are completely my own, though!
“The most wonderful time of the year!
Kirstie Harrison is finally coming home for the holidays. Ever since tragedy struck a few years ago, Christmas hasn’t felt the same – but she’s determined that this year will be different…
And staying at the family pub, The Dancing Duck, means it’s impossible not to get caught up in the little village of Cranbury’s festive traditions. And it’s equally impossible to avoid her ex, Josh Turner!
Kirstie is torn between making this the best Christmas yet and knowing that she can’t stay forever. Maybe it’s time to make a holiday wish of her own…?”
Now here’s an added note for Goodreads: the reason Kirstie Harrison is going home? Because she *happened* to state on national tv that she dislikes (at the least) Christmas. After presenting her own Christmas cooking show.
Basically: she’s become not quite believable and is sent off to “lay low”. And also isn’t entirely sure her replacement won’t actually do exactly that – replace her for the new year.
Kirstie Harrison loves food, her job (I think) and her sister – all three of those things are pretty obvious from fairly early on in the book. Apart from that however, she felt almost like a secondary character.
Even though there’s a fair amount of background given on why she acts as she act – and I actually totally get why she does. Somehow she just seemed fairly bland to me.
The actual secondary characters though? I loved them. I want to know more about Leon, and Emma, and Rachel. About what Josh did on his world travels. I need to know more about Olivia, Kirstie’s sister, and her husband.
(Quick note: there was one point where I went: “When something like this comes just over halfway the book and you just know it’s all going to go horribly wrong.” It did. Just so you know.
Now, I mentioned this at the top as well – there’s a lot of food in here. We have a foodie that got to be on television through her passion. There’s a French chef (with matching temper!) who is just amazing. And there’s this amount of food:
Leon and Michel had spent the morning elbow high in flour to produce not only the classic chocolate roulade, but also a kaleidoscope of colourful macarons and a spectacular croquembouche dripping with caramel and decorated with sugared almonds. There was also going to be a huge vat of mulled wine and the inevitable pyramid of mince pies and mini Christmas-themed cupcakes.
But actually, the narration was pretty good, apart from one thing. As far as I can figure out, this is probably the reason why I feel so *meeh* about Kirstie.
Basically, it could have done with like 50-100 pages less. The plot was solid (as a matter of fact, I liked it enough that I decided to watch Every Christmas has a Story, which starts out fairly similarly. However, it was just too stretched out.
I almost gave this 3/5, I did. Because, even if I thought it was stretched too long, it did make me want to watch my first Christmas movie of the season. And I definitely got hungry (and craving Christmas even more) from reading all the descriptions. I mean, there’s not anything wrong with this book. I just found myself… A bit bored with it. I basically had to struggle my way through the middle 50% (I read this on Kindle, so no idea what pages those are).
I’ll give the book this one though: that ending? It threw me. And I loved that.
Did you already read this book? Be sure to let me know below what you thought!