Christmas Carol – Michele Gorman

What to expect:
One winter wedding, two happy couples, three ex-boyfriends. And a very uncomfortable weekend.

Carol hates Christmas. Being recently dumped, she’s not crazy about weddings either. So her sister Marley’s nuptials, over the Christmas weekend, are making her positively Scrooge-like. When she arrives for the weekend at the stately home in rural Scotland to find her three ex-boyfriends in attendance, Carol has no choice but to face her ghosts to discover what really happened in those relationships, learning a lot about herself in the process. As the snow falls outside and the fire crackles in the hearth, might one of the wedding guests become the harbinger of Christmases to come?

Just a mini-review for this one, as it’s a small novella. It feels a little early to be featuring christmas books, but this has far more of a wedding theme than Christmas. Written by the talented author of Bella Summer Takes a Chance, it tells the short tale of Carol attending her sister’s big fat Christmassy wedding in a Scottish blizzard, while facing her 3 ghosts of boyfriends past. A surprising amount of backstory and lead character development are squeezed into this brief read, with some interesting smaller characters and a delightful granny. Carol is somewhat scrooge-like in her work obsessiveness and her neglect of her family, but remote Scotland in bad weather has its own way of dealing with Blackberry addiction. It’s a shame the book was so short- it felt like it had the legs to be developed into a full size frothy read. Worth a peek to get you in the mood for a romantic festive season.

UK: Amazon for £1.99.

US: Amazon for $2.99.

Bella Summer Takes A Chance – Michele Gorman

What happens when loving someone is not the same as being in love, and it’s no longer enough? Bella Summer is thirty-eight years old and having a revelation- her long term relationship with Mattias is not enough, and her boring day job has sadly eclipsed her singing career. Bella’s pragmatic friend Kat thinks she’s crazy to give up a sure thing at that age when she herself has experienced the upside of a steady supportive partnership for many years. But when Kat suddenly finds unexpected true love, Bella has to be content with kissing a few frogs. Bella’s day job takes a nose dive so she goes all out to get noticed as a singer, taking advantage of one of the aforementioned frog’s contacts, and the hospitality of the ever supportive Matthias.

Kooks for your Kindle?– I loved the supporting characters in this, all have depth and flaws, from Bella’s three best friends Kat, Faith and Clare, to her new flatmate Fred and her former boyfriend Mattias. Fred was a new twist on the (in this case not) stereotypical GBF. The most interesting had to be Marjorie, who was in her nineties and led a fascinating life full of love and loss. The way she maintained her happiness and optimism was inspiring. Bella’s three besties were all undergoing relationship dramas themselves, all wildly different, and the relationships they had with each other were strong, intelligent and realistic.

The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– No moping around and awaiting rescue here, whether it was the search for true love or the search for the singing career Bella jumped in with both feet and tried everything, even resorting to some kind of speed dating event.

Painting a Picture for your Paperback?– The overall feeling is a tale of friendship, and the story was a little reminiscent of You Had Me At Hello in its intelligent tone. The dialogue felt very honest and real, with much debate about whether or not it’s necessary to be in love with your partner, or whether respect, love, supportiveness and friendship is enough.

Provoking your Inner-Pedant– Not error riddled in the slightest; regular readers will know how pathetically happy this makes me.

Evaluation of your eBook?– Loved it. I can always tell, because the story stays with me after it’s over and I wanted more. It’s a warm, funny, smart tale of love and friendship, with some ambition thrown in for good measure. It did not end in the overly-tidy manner that many frothy reads do; the unpredictability was refreshing, and I felt the postscript was not totally necessary, it could have ended before that with mystery- but to say more would be giving the game away!

Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.

Can be obtained from:

UK: Amazon for £2.05

US: On Amazon for $3.99.