Mini Reviews #11: Finding Yourself at Christmas
Something about Christmas can bring a couple of truths home. Whether it be that things aren’t as you thought they were, you aren’t as happy as people thought you were, or something else entirely… Often, you’re forced into finding yourself at Christmas…
Wishes under a starlit sky – Lucy Knott
From the outside, Harper Hayes looks like she is winning at life.
She has an amazing job as a script writer, a wonderful house, an awesome best friend and an incredible husband. Yes, life seems to be pretty, dare she say it? Perfect?
But life is about to throw more than one spanner in the works of Harper’s picture perfect existence and at the busiest time of the year too.
As Christmas approaches, Harper will have some soul searching to do to decide if there really is such thing as the happily-ever-after she writes about.
Rather than focus on Harper finding new romance, Lucy Knott opted instead to focus on Harper falling back in love with herself. And while that process did not at all look like anything I could ever imagine myself doing? The author manages to describe that journey in such a way that I felt as if I could follow along every step of the way.
The best way to summarise the entire experience, I think, is “open”. Every single character in this book is so incredibly open to change, to growth, to love … Honestly, reading this book almost felt in a way, like a meditation al experience. Only, it manages to do so without ever being belligerent. Oh, and with a lot of snow, heart warming moments and no less than three Christmases!
5/5 stars – Goodreads
The Christmas Countdown – Donna Ashcroft
Twenty-seven-year-old Holly Devine has just had her heart well and truly broken. Hurt by the two people she loves the most, she flees to her eccentric Aunt Clara’s cosy cottage to hide away over the winter season. But kind, impulsive Aunt Clara has other ideas… She’s not about to see her favourite niece wallowing in sadness during the most wonderful time of the year. So, with the help of her close circle of friends and plenty of gin, she creates a handmade advent calendar for Holly.
Every day in December, Holly opens a new door and has a different task to complete. She soon finds herself asking out a complete stranger – gorgeous, cheeky pub landlord, Finn Jackson. But as handsome Finn gets involved in her festive challenges, Holly’s determination to avoid romance is put to the test. Still, Finn’s far too carefree and single for true love, isn’t he?
As Holly begins to embrace each day – a complete makeover, building the biggest snowman she’s ever seen, singing in a karaoke contest – Finn is there adding fun and laughter to every moment. Holly starts to realise that she can become the person she’s always wanted to be…
But a secret from Finn’s past threatens to turn Holly’s Christmas upside down and makes her question everything she has experienced in the last few weeks. Will Finn open up to Holly in time to show her how he really feels? And will she complete the advent calendar challenges and fall in love this Christmas?
Having a twin sister leads to easy comparison, which can’t always be easy. Especially if said twin has responded to grieve by claiming the limelight – both hers and yours. The way Donna Ashcroft manages to portray that search of self, combined with the need to still love your sibling, no matter what they did (and let’s be real, to some degree, we’ve all been there), made me fall in love with this story basically from page one. I was certainly rooting for Holly, and her lovely group of supporters and their crazy idea of an advent calendar that’ll help her rediscover herself.
What’s more, I also really appreciated the slow burn (well, I mean, it’s one month. But still – relatively slow burn) Holly’s arch with Finn gave me. After all, letting go of a first “forever” – type of love, is hard. Combined with more snow than I’ve dared to hope for in years, some really fun secondary plot lines featuring Holly’s support group,… And, basically I’m ready for a sequel. Or at least for a bunch of spin offs on each of the characters!
4/5 stars – Goodreads
An Unforgettable Christmas – Ginny Baird
Angie Lopez, a widowed mom, works hard at Singleton’s Jewelers. Sam Singleton, her often-irritating boss, hardly does anything besides work. He doesn’t spend time with friends and family, even around the holidays. That’s why Angie’s the one who winds up taking care of him when a head injury leaves him with amnesia.
As Sam attempts to remember who he is, he learns about the luxurious but empty life he leads…and he’s not impressed. Meanwhile, Angie sees a new side of him as he shares Christmas traditions with her, her son Pepe, and her extended family. Angie shares touching, emotional moments with Sam. But if he gets his memories back, what will happen to her heart?
3,5/5 stars – Goodreads
Have you read any other stories that focus on finding yourself for Christmas? Definitely let me know below – because I’m always in the market for more fun reading! And if you should find yourself in need of some more reading? Well, go have a look at the rest of this year’s blogmas – or any of the previous years’!