Thursday, 25 December 2014

Christmas Books by Holly Martin

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I love Christmas.  For me, it’s the best time of year.  I love buying presents.  I love
spending time with my friends and family. I love the Christmas lights.  I love the mulled wine, the turkey with all the trimmings, the mince pies and the copious amounts of sweet treats and chocolate.  I love that its two weeks off work and there’s plenty of time for long winter walks through the woods.  I live near Ashridge Woods in Hertfordshire, which is just one of the most beautiful places.  If the snow comes down, it looks magical and if you’re very lucky you might even see some red deer.  I love watching Christmas TV and films and I love snuggling up on the sofa, under a blanket and reading Christmas books.

Christmas books are the epitome of Christmas for me.  They take all those stereotypical images of Christmas, the snow, the chestnuts, the cookies, the stockings, the log fires, the fairy lights, the Christmas carols, the big trees, and they throw them all together into a story that just sparkles and twinkles from the page. Christmas in books tends to be the Christmases that we can never have for ourselves.  I can’t remember ever having a white Christmas.  I don’t live in a picture postcard tiny village that you see on the front of Christmas cards, covered in snow with a large Christmas tree standing in the middle whilst the angelic children stand around it singing Christmas carols. But that’s why we have these gorgeous Christmas stories to provide us with this ideal Christmas. Even if our Christmases are crazy, with a house full of relatives that you don’t get on with, children hyped up on sweets and fizzy drinks and the excitement of presents, even if the turkey burns and the minced pies turn out to be apple ones that went out of date in June, you can still escape to winter wonderlands where everything is perfect, well almost.  There’s always a bit of drama that is thrown into the mix too.

One of my favourite Christmas stories this year is Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café by Rebecca Raisin, the final instalment in the Gingerbread Café series.

Oh I loved this book so much, it was just crammed full of sparkly, Christmassy goodness. Where other books are just set at Christmas, Christmas Wedding has the wonder of Christmas pouring from every page, from gingerbread houses, mince pies, carol singing and a whole heap of sparkling snow.

The story follows the stresses of planning a wedding alongside working full time in a cafe/cake shop, with the added stress of the dreaded in-laws coming to town.

The love story between Damon and Lil is just beautiful and this is a perfect way to say goodbye to this story and characters. The characters as always are so well rounded, so real and I loved that this whole community was painted as a vibrant, wonderful, rich tapestry of life. Rebecca just has such a wonderful way of writing her characters with their own sub plots, pasts and problems.

Rebecca has perfect descriptions too, its so vivid and rich, I could taste the food, smell the ingredients and feel the warmth of Christmas and the cafe.

This story has it all, perfect heartwarming romance, gorgeous characters, brilliant humour and rich descriptions. I absolutely devoured this book. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it made me go awwww on every page. Curl up this Christmas with this gorgeous, sparkly read

Another Christmas cracker is Twelve Dates of Christmas by Lisa Dickenson. It is like a glorious advent calendar of sparkly goodness as it follows Claudia's Twelve Dates.

The stand out thing for me is Lisa's writing. I have read a lot of Christmas Chicklit and Lisa's is one of the best, standing out amongst a sea of her more experienced peers like a beacon. Her writing, is fresh and hilarious. She has a real gift for humour. I have literally snorted with laughter at the things that Claudia gets up to, laughing loudly in a staffroom full of strangers, and in one case laughing so hard, I choked on my lunch and a bubble of snot escaped from my nose. I can't remember the last time a book has made me laugh like this. Lisa's vivid descriptions help you picture exactly what is going on making you feel as if you are right there with Claudia, cheering her on.

Lisa's characterization is faultless too, Claudia, Penny and Nick are so real, so normal, so well rounded and I love them all. Especially Nick, I adore Nick, I want my own Nick. They're like the best friends you want for yourself.

I don't want to go into too much detail about what each date is about as that would ruin it for you. But trust me when I say, if you buy one Christmas book this year, it has to be this one. You will laugh, you will cry, you will go awwww and then you'll laugh all over again.

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