Mini Reviews #10: Food and Christmas
Let’s be real – food and Christmas are intrinsically linked, aren’t they? As far as I can think back, food is always there when I’m thinking about the holidays – and apparently? That’s no different for these authors!
Twelve Days of Christmas – Trisha Ashley
Christmas has always been a sad time for young widow Holly Brown, so when she’s asked to look after a remote house on the Lancashire moors, the opportunity to hide herself away is irresistible — the perfect excuse to forget about the festivities.
Sculptor Jude Martland is determined that this year there will be no Christmas after his brother runs off with his fiancee and he is keen to avoid the family home. However, he will have to return by the twelfth night of the festivities, when the hamlet of Little Mumming hold their historic festivities and all of his family are required to attend.
Meanwhile, Holly is finding that if she wants to avoid Christmas, she has come to the wrong place. When Jude unexpectedly returns on Christmas Eve he is far from delighted to discover that Holly seems to be holding the very family party he had hoped to avoid.
Suddenly, the blizzards come out of nowhere and the whole village is snowed in. With no escape, Holly and Jude get much more than they bargained for — it looks like the twelve days of Christmas are going to be very interesting indeed!
4/5 stars- Goodreads
Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage – Katie Ginger
On a grey London day, Esme’s world crumbles around her when she loses her glitzy job on a top TV programme, her gorgeous, city-slicker boyfriend and her stunning apartment, all in one fell swoop just before Christmas.
Esme is forced suddenly to move back to her sleepy home town of Sandchester, and despite the snow blanketing the roof and the fairy lights that twinkle in her rustic little cottage, everything is looking bleak. That is until she reconnects with an old crush and finds herself unexpectedly getting swept away.
But Joe, handsome and charming as he is, is not all he seems. Esme soon realises that he has a tragic past which he just might not be able to overcome…
Surrounded by her loving, if hare-brained, family and with the support of her hilarious friends, Esme is determined to have a go at forging her own path, even if it all comes to nothing. But one question still lingers in her mind: will she find someone to kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas?
I wasn’t really anticipating liking Snowflakes at Mistletoe Cottage as much as I ended up doing. After all, I liked Katie Ginger’s book “The Little Theater on the Seafront”. However, this one? It made me want to keep on reading, and reading, and reading. Apart from the first chapter, I even got through the entire book in one go! That’s how into the story I was!
That’s partially to the little glimpses of other people’s POV, which help make the story more rounded out. Mainly, though, I think it’s probably something to do with the love of both food and family that speaks from every letter in Esme’s perspective. As Joe mentions throughout the story on multiple occasions: she doesn’t just sit down and cry. Even though life has given her a hard deal for a bit, she manages to find her ground. And if anything? That just made me want to go and do the same thing – right after decorating my entire house for Christmas and baking all the Christmas cookies, that is!
4/5 stars – Goodreads
I’ll Be Home for Christmas – Karen Clarke
Nina Bailey loves Christmas. Except this year she doesn’t. Because it turns out that her husband-to-be has been cheating on her – and her beautiful wedding ceremony in the snow is cancelled.
She’s not really in the mood to be jolly, sing carols, or go anywhere near gingerbread men – in fact, what Nina wants is to avoid the whole thing. So she’s come to stay at her Aunt Dolly’s cosy café to nurse her broken heart.
Nina is determined to get through Christmas with no tinsel, no fuss – and definitely no flirting. So when she arrives and meets infuriatingly handsome Ryan Sadler, with his gorgeous forest-green eyes, she is not best pleased. And when Nina overhears him making fun of her, she is furious. (There might have been an incident with a koala onesie and a spilled bottle of milk, but that really wasn’t her fault!) So despite the spark between them, and the fact that he can whip up a fabulous dinner faster than she can say Michelin star, romance and Christmas are off the menu this year.
Unfortunately, Aunt Dolly hasn’t quite got the message, going to great lengths to provide a proper British Christmas for her beloved niece: a true home away from home. With sparkling lights adorning every wall and a tree to equal the Rockefeller Center’s and, yes, mistletoe above every doorway, can Nina resist the magic of Christmas – and stick to her no-romance rule?
It’s especially great, though, when those characters take you back to The Little French Café. Karen Clarke has managed to build an environment that makes you dream away through any season. Around Christmas though? All of the miscellaneous characters (and aren’t they just characters) are fun to check back in with.
But I especially love the way Nina and Ryan get started on the wrong foot due to no real fault of their own… And then to see how they slowly work through that, work through their own losses as well? The author managed to build such a lovely, gradual arch both between these characters and within themselves – and also: to make me want to travel to this little island and its French Café!
4/5 stars – Goodreads
What’s your favourite book that combines Christmas and a love of food? Be sure to let me know below! And in the mean time: feel free to check out the rest of my blogmas posts!