Childhood friends Laurie and Rachel’s lives have taken very different paths since they picked up their A-level results together. Laurie is living in London and dedicated to her career, keeping track of her friends on Facebook. Rachel is seemingly living the family idyll in a cottage in Yorkshire – except she worries her marriage is starting to show cracks. When Rachel’s mother in law falls ill and needs treatment in London, and Laurie decides she needs to get away for a break, a house swap falls into place. Soon Rachel is braving the mean streets of London while trying to keep her family together, while Laurie tries to figure out how to work an Aga and befriend the locals – and forget the man who seems intent on breaking her heart. Will their relationships survive this test? And will they make it home in time for Christmas?
This will be our only Christmassy book review this year on account of it being a busy Christmas! It all got a bit out of hand this year, no idea where the time’s gone, so let’s go out on a festive note with this one. Ever seen the Kate Winslett / Cameron Diaz movie “Holiday”? This has similarities in that it’s Christmas and the two women swap houses, alternating between their two story lines, but that’s as far as it goes.
The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– The two leading ladies are somewhat familiar, Rachel is a soft, kindhearted, curvy, stay at home Mum, while Laurie is a prickly, tightly wound, skinny career woman. Rachel has an unusually good relationship with her Mother in law, and it’s their closeness that brings the whole family down to London for her medical treatment. Rachel is a little too self-sacrificing, never thinking of herself to the point of not even considering the offer of a part time job that she might enjoy. Laurie has a little more life in her, but she’s so mortified by both a massive mistake at work and embarrassing herself in a relationship that she runs away to hide in darkest Yorkshire.
Kooks for your Kindle?– Rachel’s husband Aiden is a solid chap, very much the old-fashioned breadwinner type, but struggling with his business, financial worries and concerns about his mother’s health. Bea is the mother in question, a nice old girl who gets on very well with Rachel and has the good sense to go to the doc when something’s not right. Rachel and Aiden have two kids, teenaged Milly and six year old Zak, the latter is sweet and entertaining, but Milly is discovering boys, which causes more sinister than expected problems. Laurie’s friends and neighbours are an altogether more colourful bunch, coming from the multicultural area of Brixton, my favourite being Lily, formerly of Trinidad, who is the matriarch of Laurie’s apartment building.
Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– Two different worlds are nicely represented here, the small world of a Yorkshire village with its charms and the noisy, vibrant, wider world of London. The author even made Brixton appeal to an anti-Londoner such as myself and it made a nice change.
Evaluation of your eBook?– The dialogue rang a little artificial at first, but the style smoothed out once it got going. Overall it was well paced but the misunderstanding at the end was a little predictable. Milly’s storyline was quite frightening, and I didn’t guess the twist that came at the end for her. The characters were nothing new to frothy regulars, Rachel and Laurie in particular have been done before, but they were easy to empathise with. It’s only peripherally a Christmas book, for the story could work well anytime, but it has a few festive moments. Give it a whirl, it’ll put you in the mood and it’s a bargain at the moment.
Frothy Ranking: 3.5/5 cocktails.
Can be obtained from:
UK: Amazon for only 56p.
US: Not on US Amazon, but on Kobobooks for $4.19.