I was recently given the opportunity to review Abby Clements debut novel, Meet Me Under the Mistletoe. As soon as the book arrived I knew it would be my type of read - I fell in love with the modern Christmassy cover immediately. I love the various sparkly snowflakes on the cover and the beautiful hanging baubles from the top - it really is the type of book you just can't wait to read snuggled up with a hot chocolate in front of the fire this Christmas.
The story is about two childhood friends - Laurie and Rachel - how different their lives are now and how differently they will both be spending their Christmas this year. Laurie is a glamorous and typical London girl - her career always comes first and she's your typical London business woman. On the other hand, Rachel is a settled down mother of two, living in a beautiful Yorkshire village. The two ladies couldn't be more different but Christmas brings a number of different surprises for them when they agree to house swap over the festive time of year.
The blurb reads -
Childhood friends Laurie and Rachel used to be inseparable - but their lives have taken very different paths since they picked up their A-level results together. Now thirty-five, they have all but fallen out of touch; glamorous single girl Laurie is based in London and dedicated to her career in fashion; Rachel seemingly living the family idyll in Yorkshire.
But when Rachel's mother-in-law needs urgent treatment in London, and disasters at work and in her love life mean Laurie needs to flee, a house swap falls into place. Soon gentle Rachel is far from the village bake sales, braving the city's mean streets while trying to keep her marriage and family together; while Laurie attempts to work an Aga, befriend the wary village locals - and forget the man who seems intent on breaking her heart. Will their relationships survive this test? And will the make it home for Christmas?
First of all I loved how different the two main characters were. It was as if there were two very separate storylines within this book - each with different themes and issues that intertwined and I loved this. It was nice to read about things from both ends of the spectrum - how a single hard working career woman was dealing with Christmas in relation to how a settled down mother was dealing with it. It made a nice change and the two different characters and storylines really complimented each other in that sense. It kept the story fresh and exciting and really meant that this book is more acceptable for a wider audience - both young and old people would enjoy reading this story.
I really loved the setting within this book as well especially the parts that took place in Yorkshire. As a close to London girl myself, I love London at Christmas but the setting of Yorkshire really drew me in. Abby wrote these parts so well that I could really imagine myself in the beautiful snowy village - delicate Christmas lights everywhere and such. It really got me in the Christmas spirit and complimented the story well.
I loved the character of Laurie because I felt I could relate to her - I'm a world away from being settled down but deep down I know I'd love the idea of spending Christmas in an idyll cottage in the middle of a picture perfect village. Both characters were very likeable but it seemed to me that the character of Rachel represented Laurie's future which was a really nice touch. Rachel was a very likeable character too - I thought that although herself and Rachel were the same age she had a very mothering feel to her. Both characters seemed like the type of people you'd love to be friends with - going to Laurie for dating advice and Rachel for cooking tips!
The story was very easy to read as well - it was funny, inspiring and light hearted but it also had a few twists which surprised me within it's pages too. It was an easy read in that I could put it down and come back to it later on and immediately fall back into the story. Finally I loved the messages behind the story - most importantly the one that sometimes you just need a bit of space and time away from a situation to fix it. Overall it was a really lovely feel good book which was the perfect Christmas read.
Meet Me Under the Mistletoe will be released on the 8th November.
To find out more about Abby and her books click here.
P.S Check out the Book Reviews tag for more book reviews!