Monday, 5 November 2012

Books Read: Abby Clements - Meet me Under the Mistletoe

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 they make it home for Christmas?

Firstly I must apologise to Abby and her publishers Quercus for the late publication of this review as it was originally scheduled to go live last week but for some reason it didn't upload.

Laurie and Rachel are two old school friends who couldn't be more different if they tried, it's hard to even imagine that they once had so much in common and used to be inseparable.  Rachel is a stay-at-home mum of two living the family life in Yorkshire whereas Laurie is now a high-flying fashion designer in London.

After a disastrous mishap at work her boss decides that Laurie needs to take some time off to recharge her batteries but this is the last thing that Laurie wants as she's a complete workaholic... what will she do with herself all day?

Meanwhile Rachel's whole life revolves around her family, husband Aiden, teenage daughter Milly, young son Zak and her beloved mother-in-law Bea.  Her whole world is  turned upside down when her Bea falls ill and is told that she needs to go to London for investigation, it's a no-brainer that Rachel will go with her for support even if this is the last thing that she and Aiden need as his business is already struggling financially so a lengthy stay in London would cause them even more financial issues.

So Rachel decides to phone Laurie to ask if she and the kids can stay with her whilst in London but Laurie comes up with an alternate solution, how about a house swap?  Rachel and the kids stay at the flat, with Aiden coming down for weekends, and Laurie will go up and stay in Skipley for a few weeks.  It's the perfect answer for them both.

What follows is an interesting tale of how both women adapt and deal with the issues that arise in their new completely alien environments and lifestyles, they each begin to see the other in a whole new light and re-assess what's important to them and what they want to do with their lives.

Meet me Under the Mistletoe is a real charming feel-good read which draws you into the lives of its characters and leaves you wanting everything to turn out just right for them.  It does have a little bit of predictability in it, but for me that's not a bad thing, but also has enough surprises to keep you on your toes. It's the perfect accompaniment for a cold autumn day...

If after reading this book you're starting to get into the festive mood then why not have a go at making some of the fun stuff that you'll find at the back, a handmade snow globe or perhaps bake the cookies.  These were such charming extras that I didn't expect to find but ones that even I might attempt... which those who know me will laugh at as I'm certainly no master baker and don't have a 'crafty' bone in my body!

But that's not all that Abby is offering as an extra, she also has a free e-book coming out shortly, The Christmas Bake-Off,  which is an exclusive short story with, of-course, a couple more seasonal recipes for you to try.  It's due out on 1st December so why not head over to Amazon now and pre-order your copy.   

I'd like to thank Abby's publisher's Quercus for sending me a copy of this book to review.

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