Wednesday 18 October 2023

Guest Review: The Christmas Book Club by Sarah Morgan

A long-lasting friendship
Every year, Erica, Claudia, and Anna reunite for their book club holiday. They’re bonded by years of friendship and a deep love of books, but there is still so much they keep from each other . . .

A perfect Christmas escape
At the cosy Maple Sugar Inn, Hattie specialises in making her guests’ dreams come true, but this Christmas all she wants is to survive the festive season. Between running the inn and being a single mother, Hattie is close to breaking point.

The start of a brand-new story…?
Over the course of an eventful week, Hattie sees that the friends are each carrying around unspoken truths, but nothing prepares her for how deeply her story will become entwined in theirs. Will this Christmas be the end of the book club’s story or the start of a whole new chapter?

Review: Every year, I look forward to Sarah Morgan’s Christmas book, usually a romantic family tale set in suitably snowy surroundings. The cover of this year’s book promised more of the same, with a cosy inn pictured in a snowy landscape. I listened to the audio version of the book and was transported to a warm and welcoming inn in Vermont where I would love to be spending Christmas, or in fact any time of the year.

The story centres on four women. Erica, Claudia and Anna are old friends who meet once a year for a week in a hotel where they talk about a book they have all read and generally have a catch-up and enjoy just being together. They usually do this in the summer months, but this year events have forced them to change that pattern and they are meeting close to Christmas. Erica, usually a lover of large, impersonal city hotels, has booked the Maple Sugar Inn in Vermont, where single mum Hattie is struggling to keep the place afloat after the death of her husband. As the week progresses, the friends are surprised to discover that there are things they don’t know about each other. They also begin to worry about how they can help Hattie and her little daughter and perhaps even steer her towards a young man who is clearly interested in a romantic relationship with her. 

 I highly recommend this heart-warming Christmas book, full of interesting characters and surprising revelations. The three friends are very different in temperament and background, but they have a wonderful relationship that was a pleasure to watch. I thoroughly enjoyed looking on as their secrets were revealed to one another; the fact that they were all holding onto something the others didn’t know about them could well have broken the group apart. The reader had to wait to find out how strong their bond was. I really admired Hattie for carrying on running the inn as her husband had wanted even after he was gone, but at the same time hoped that she could take a leap of faith, follow through with her own ideas and also listen to her heart. One extra detail that I loved was that the book the women were reading was one by an author who starred in a previous Sarah Morgan novel - a clever touch. This is another triumph for Sarah Morgan and another book readers would doubtless be delighted to find in their Christmas stocking.

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