Wednesday 17 December 2014

Guest Review: It Must Have been the Mistletoe by Judy Astley

Thanks once again to my lovely mum for this review, I need to read this book soon as she has been enjoying this and pushing it onto me! 

Thea’s parents decide to host a big family Christmas in a house by the sea… even though they are, in fact, about to split up. Thea herself is newly single - her sister and brother are both settled, with children, homes and a future. But Thea’s boyfriend has ditched her in favour of his pedigree dogs, and Thea can’t decide whether or not she minds. 

There will be copious food and drink, holly and mistletoe, lots of bracing walks and a wintry barbecue on the beach. If it seems an odd way to celebrate the final break-up of a marriage and the Moving On to new partners, no- one is saying so. But then no-one had anticipated that the new partners might actually turn up to complicate the sleeping arrangements. 

As Cornwall experiences the biggest snowstorm in living memory, the festive atmosphere comes under some strain. Will Thea manage to find some happiness for herself? Will the mistletoe work its magic on them all?

Review: If you are looking for a story to make you feel all warm and Christmassy, this one should be a top contender. It is a tale of a Christmas house party full of interesting people, complicated relationships and even  surprise guests.

The main character, Thea, is a teacher recovering from a break-up of what she thought was a long-term, stable relationship. Her parents decide it would be a good idea to get the whole family together for Christmas, renting a large, rambling house by the sea in Cornwall. As well as Thea, there are her sister and brother and their families. We also meet the people who own the property, one of whom lives in a converted stable block alongside the house. Although Thea is the central character, the others are all strong as well, with their own interesting story lines which emerge as the tale progresses. Amazingly for a family gathering, there are only a few, minor disagreements along the way, even though the snow comes down in unprecedented amounts for Cornwall and it looks as though they may not be able to leave on schedule.

The story is full of images of yummy Christmas food and sparkly decorations. Of course, the mistletoe from the title is there too. Beautiful, snowy Cornwall scenery is so well described that you can imagine yourself walking along that beach or strolling along the country lane. When I finished the book, I found myself wanting to spend Christmas in that lovely house too.

As you might have guessed, I really enjoyed this offering from Judy Astley and highly recommend it for your Christmas reading list.

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