My Christmas Come Early pick for this week is Meet Me Under the Mistletoe, a fantastic debut novel by Abby Clements which is due to be published on 25th October. Isn't this the most adorable cover?
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
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?
Abby has kindly answered a few questions to give us a little background about the book.
Can you tell us a little bit about Meet Me under the Mistletoe?
Yes, sure. It's an upbeat read about family, friendship and romance - and how the festive period can put them all to the test.
Rachel and Laurie are childhood friends who, over the years, have drifted apart. But one Christmas they agree to swap homes -- a London bachelorette pad for a pretty Yorkshire cottage -- and the experience changes them in ways they never could have imagined.
Since leaving school, Rachel and Laurie's lives have gone in very different directions. Rachel got pregnant at nineteen and now lives in a picturesque village in the dales, dedicating her time to her two young children and her husband - while Laurie is single, a high-flying fashion designer with a hectic schedule. They don't have much in common these days, or so they think.
Both women struggle to adjust to their new surroundings at first - Laurie is spurned by the village WI, and misses the man she loves, while Rachel is overwhelmed by the bustle of Brixton. But they both discover inner strengths they never knew they had, and find good friends and romance along the way.
Where did the inspiration come from for Meet Me under the Mistletoe?
I've always been intrigued by the idea of what could happen if you were dropped into someone else's world for a while. How would you cope with the challenges? Would you still be you? What pressures would it put on your relationship? What about falling in love - could that happen in your 'new life'?
Christmas is such a wonderful, crazy time of year - there's lots of excitement but at the same time tensions in families can run high. My family are great and I love them to bits, but Christmas can certainly put our patience with each other to the test!
In Meet Me under the Mistletoe family, and celebrating Christmas together, really matters to Rachel and it means that the difficulties she encounters are big emotional challenges for her. For Laurie, the festive season brings back childhood memories that she'd rather forget - but a blossoming new romance gives her hope that this Christmas could be different.
Christmas is a time of year when people are drawn together - old friends reconnect and reminisce, you might see your ex-boyfriend in a rosier light... and sometimes that shared history, secrets that only your best old friends know, can also spell chaos.
If you could have Meet Me under the Mistletoe made into a film, who would you cast in the leading roles?
What a nice question - I love the thought of the snow-covered village of Skipley on the big screen... fingers crossed!
Well, Laurie is dark, stylish and quite beautiful, so perhaps Mila Kunis (if she'd agree to having those locks cut into a blunt-cut bob with a fringe and having a go at a British accent!).
For Rachel, it would have to be another Rachel - McAdams, or Kate Winslet. Both beautiful women, but with girl-next-door quality that would make them believable as mums wrestling with the stresses of the festive season too!
If you'd like to learn a little more about Abby then why not head over to her new website (which is still under construction) where you you can learn a little bit about her in a quick fire Q&A interview here and read an exclusive extract of the first 3 chapters here.
There will also be a section for Christmas Crafts (and having already seen some pictures of some yummy Christmas biscuits she'd made I can only imagine what delightful offerings are going to be in there). She's also going to have a blog section where I'm sure she'll be telling us her news on the lead up to publication day and what exciting plans she has to celebrate the publication of her debut book.