Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Book Review: With Love At Christmas

Author: Carole Matthews
Publication Date: October 25, 2012
Publisher: Sphere

Can the imperfect family really have the perfect Christmas?

Juliet Joyce adores Christmas. She loves the presents, the tree, the turkey, the tinsel, everything. Already the festive spirit is upon her, which is just as well as this Christmas things are starting to get out of hand.

Her son Tom is out of work and bringing home a slew of unsuitable partners; pregnant daughter Chloe and her little boy have moved back in; Juliet's father, Frank, is getting over heartbreak of his own and Rita, her eccentric mother, is behaving more erratically each day. And has the chaos got too much for Juliet's husband Rick?

With the big day fast approaching, Juliet hopes that she can stop everything spiraling out of control, because the only thing she wants is her family all around her and her home to be filled

“For me, the best job out of all the Christmas preparations is putting up the tree. It really gets me in the mood which is just as well, as no one else in this household wants to do it.” – Kindle Copy

“I have my little time-honored ritual that I like to stick to. On goes The Christmas Album. All my favorite festive songs are on there. I pour myself a glass of red wine, even though it’s a bit early to be cracking open the booze, and line up another mince pie. Then I open all the boxes and spread out the decorations on the living room floor, excited as always to rediscover what we’ve had tucked away for the last year.” – Kindle Copy

“Eventually, under piles of paper and sundry stationery that’s been dumped in there, I find the half-dozen big boxes that contain the Christmas decorations. There’s a nice selection, although they do look a little too corporate for my own tastes. We have big snowflakes and fluffy snowballs that hang from the ceiling, and a range of glittering silver reindeer that gambol across the big front windows. There’s a smiley polystyrene snowman that sits in the corner, and a big white sparkly Christmas tree with green and red baubles.” – Kindle Copy

“The switching-on ceremony is always preceded by a day of fun. The High Street is closed off to traffic and is lined with a mishmash of craft stalls, fairground rides and street performers. For weeks before, local people have been making festive paper lanterns to take part in a twilight parade. The sun is sinking as we hit the town and Market Square is bustling with activity. Street performers go through their various acts to entertain people. In one corner is an enormous inflated bouncy snowman. If I was considerably younger, that’s exactly where I’d be heading as it looks like great fun. The centre ground of Market Square holds the towering Christmas tree, strung with pretty white lights. Around the periphery there’s a huge variety of food stalls.” – Kindle Copy

Christmas is a time for loving, celebrating, rejoicing, decorating, remembering the Reason for the Season, baking, and spending time with family. Juliet Joyce wishes that all of this could take place within her household, and that maybe, just maybe, she could have everyone together at the same time and place for a little holiday cheer. Her large and rather dysfunctional family is not at all what she would like it to be at Christmas. She wishes that they all loved the holiday season just as much as she does, and she wished that they could realize that the most important thing is to celebrate with family. Will she get her wish? Or will her home turn into a holiday hazard zone?

I am ashamed to say that this is my first book by Carole Matthews, but I can say that I do realize what all the fuss is about. Every review I have read on some of her various other titles has been fabulous and people rave about her writing; I can see why! Carole makes you feel right at home for the holidays. I could imagine all the Christmas decorations and festivities, some of which I pointed out in the quotes above. And I could definitely sense the craziness of Juliet’s family. I felt like I needed to go and put out some Christmas decorations after reading about Juliet’s love for the holiday. This book really put me in the mood to ring in the Christmas season.

Obviously I want to talk about Juliet’s family, who I am sure you can tell might be a little chaotic. Yeah, that’s an understatement! They literally put Juliet through the ringer, from her pregnant daughter whose one child she is already raising, her bisexual son who has no motivation to obtain any type of employment and brings men and women home at all hours of the night, to her recently divorced parents and her husband who has just about had enough of everyone else’s antics. I literally developed a love for each person in this family and wanted to see them all get their acts together! I almost wish I could have been a fly on the wall during some of their crazy and obnoxious gatherings and conversations.

Anyone who is a fan of chick lit or anything Christmas related; please pick up a copy of Carole’s latest book! You will be in the mood for some Yuletide fun once you are done; look at me rhyming today!!

***Thank you to Carole and her publicist for providing me with a kindle copy of this book in exchange for my honest review***

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