Not overtly Christmassy

‘Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet shop’ – Jenny Colgan

4-star-rating

18172194

Rosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton, buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweetshop is festooned with striped candy canes, large tempting piles of Turkish Delight, crinkling selection boxes and happy, sticky children. She’s going to be spending it with her boyfriend, Stephen, and her family, flying in from Australia. She can’t wait.

But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community, all of Rosie’s plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Lipton? And is what’s best for the sweetshop also what’s best for Rosie?

Yes, reading a book with ‘Christmas’ in the title when the big man himself isn’t due to come for another nine months does sound crazy however, ‘Christmas at Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop’ isn’t as festive as you might think. And that’s what I think makes it a good all-year-rounder. Plus, not to mention that all the snow is actually rather topical at the moment.

Ok, so honestly, I started reading this nearly three years ago. Life got busy and here I am finding the time and desire to read again. I started from the beginning and found myself slipping in to the ‘sweet shop’ world that Colgan so easily creates. It’s not a hard book to get into and you certainly don’t need to have read any of the other series recently to get your teeth into the plot. Rosie and her sweet shop make a welcome return in this sweet (no pun intended) albeit predictable tale of the snowy village of Lipton at Christmas time.

The developing plot has some unexpected turns that definitely made the predictable story line more enjoyable and this is what made me rate this a solid four stars. It’s certainly not a slushy romance and, whilst there were a few chuckling points, I enjoyed the surprise of the story. The ending was satisfying as women’s fiction goes and all became right with the world, as it should, because it is Christmas time, after all. There is less focus on Lilian and her past this time, as Rosie has now stepped up to run the sweet shop. I think this was obviously lacking in the plot and wonder if Colgan could have elaborated more on this, particularly in the second half of the novel.

All being said, this is a decent tale to read. It’s worthy of a cosy blanket and a decent cup of tea… so probably not one to pick up when the weather is glorious outside. However, if you are after a feel good factor book where happiness is found by all, then this offering is one that shouldn’t be ignored, whatever the time of year.

Advertisements

Christmas feel-good factor

‘The Christmas Star’ – Diane Darcy

3-star-rating

Image courtesy of smashwords.com

The Christmas Star – Diane Darcy

When an old woman makes a wish upon a Christmas star, miracles start to happen. A manipulative angel and a zany Christmas season are exactly what it takes to get Jason and Elise in the same vicinity again. But can they forgive each other and forget old resentments and hurts? Well, Christmas is a perfect time for miracles. Throw in the hunt for the perfect tree, a sledding competition and a desperate-for-grandchildren mother, and you have the perfect recipe for…love? 

This is a perfect festive novella that gets you in the mood for Christmas and makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. That’s what this has going for it. Otherwise,  well,  it’s just a bit too short so I guess that novellas are not the way forwards in terms of reading material for me.

So, probably because it is a short novel,  it is easy to predict which direction the plot is heading in. And the whilst that does make it a little cheesy,  the story is told in such an inoffensive way,  that you cannot help but feel charmed by it. With the magic of Christmas comes the welcome happy ending and by this time I yearned for this for the main character,  Elise.

Definitely give this your attention if by the middle of December you just aren’t feeling Christmassy or need a solid “pick me up”, because this charming little story will certainly deliver. Plus, I think this novella is best consumed with a large mug of steaming hot chocolate.  Well, why not?