Mini Reviews #12: Moving on at Christmas
I’ve been over this more than once, but Christmas can really bring home some truths. And from time to time, the spirit of the season can help in giving things a place. So here’s to moving on at Christmas!
One Christmas Star – Mandy Baggot
Emily Parker is set to have the worst Christmas ever!
Her flatmate’s moved out, she’s closed her heart to love and she’s been put in charge of the school original Christmas show – with zero musical ability.
Disgraced superstar, Ray Stone is in desperate need of a quick PR turnaround. Waking up from a drunken stupor to a class of ten-year-olds snapping pics and Emily looking at him was not what he had in mind.
Ray needs Emily’s help to delete the photos, and she needs his with the show. As they learn to work together they may just open their hearts to more than a second chance…
If anything, though, I think I actually enjoyed this one more. The sensitivity Mandy Bagott gives her portrayal of Emily’s emotions, the careful depiction of Ray’s trauma, both old and recent, the gradual uncovering of the truth of his relationship with Ida… This story was so well built that I was more than happy to suspend my disbelief at the idea of Ray hiding in a classroom cupboard.
More than anything, though, this book left me wanting to decorate for Christmas in September (and okay, it’s me, but still), visit a Christmas performance, and do something nice for someone…
3/5 stars – Goodreads
Magic under the Mistletoe – Lucy Coleman
It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.
So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?
Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!
That being said, Magic Under the Mistletoe definitely left me feeling very Christmassy. From snow blizzards to semi-Chrristmas feelings, and of course: Cressida’s house which just seemed to be Christmas personified. Housified? Either way – it sounded amazing and I want to visit there, like, yesterday.
Lucy Coleman isn’t afraid to present the uglier side of Christmas either though. Having to be confronted with your disfunctional family, having to say goodbye to the wishes you had for Christmas… Having to come to peace with people’s mistakes, both your own and those that changed your life…
This book left me with the need to go hug my family – and maybe bake some Christmas cookies while at it!
3/5 stars – Goodreads
Christmas at Strand House, Linda Mitchelmore
Four people spend Christmas together – none of them really know the others, but rather than being alone, they decide to spend the holidays alone together.
From the day they arrive, December 23rd, to the day after Christmas, they get to renew their friendships, start healing some wounds and find strength – and love – where they didn’t expect to find it.
Combine that perfect-for-Christmas plot with descriptions of castles, nature, and beaches that made me absolutely dream away? And you’re left with the perfect book to fill your Christmas-cravings!
3,5/5 stars – Goodreads
Snowdrops on Rosemary Lane -–Ellen Berry
Lucy fell in love with tumbledown Rosemary Cottage as a child. So thirty years on, when she loses her city job and discovers the cottage is for sale, it feels like fate. She’ll raise her children in Burley Bridge and transform the cottage into a B with her husband.
But a year can change everything . . .
Now Lucy is juggling two children and a B, but on her own. Christmas looks set to be their last on Rosemary Lane – until she meets James, a face from her past and someone who might offer a different kind of future . . .
Should Lucy leave the cottage behind? Or could this winter on Rosemary Lane be the start of something new?
I have to be honest: the prologue implies pretty heavily what will happen in the book. Throughout the first couple of chapters, the author manages to combine narration with an almost grim sense of foreboding. As a result, I pretty much spent the first half of the book waiting for things to go wrong, and the second half hoping for *something* to happen. As a way to keep me veryinterested and basically unwilling to put this book down, that certainly did the trick!
Combined with the beautiful descriptions of the Yorkshire environments, as well as the really respectful way in which Berry dealt with both Lucy and James both coming to terms with the changes life brought them? Well, it made for a really interesting read. And it certainly helped that there were*technically* no less than three Christmases in there!
3,5/5 stars – Goodreads
Do you know of any other books that feature moving on at Christmas? That talk about the drama, and the trauma, and – most importantly: about the healing around Christmas time? If so, be sure to let me know below! And of course: feel free to give the rest of this year’s blogmas a read while you’re here!