Sunday, 1 November 2015

Emma's Guest Review: Cressida McLaughlin - Tinsel and Terriers

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

Christmas is coming to Primrose Terrace, Pooch Promenade is doing brilliantly and Cat has made lots of new friends in the street, both dogs and their owners. Life seems good. Things start to go badly when Cat learns something about Mark that she wishes she hadn’t. Then, when one of Ellen’s lovable schnauzers, Chalky, gets ill, it looks like this Christmas could be turning into a dog’s dinner. But Cat has never given up on anything in her life – and this is one Christmas that’s definitely worth saving…

Amazon link: Kindle

Tinsel and Terriers has been one of my most eagerly awaited releases this year. Yes, I know it's a novella but I have fallen in love with Cressida McLaughlin's Primrose Terrace series.  I had already reviewed parts 2 and 3 on the blog so I was dying to discover the ending but at the same time I was sad simply because I knew I would be leaving behind such a wonderful cast of characters. Characters who live in such a beautiful setting as that of Fairview and have really gotten under my skin in the best of ways. Not to mention all the dogs who tugged at my heartstrings in particular the lovable Disco and Olaf. 

I was fortunate enough to receive a full length edition of the series called 'A Christmas Tail' which contains all four parts combined into one and it has the most stunning cover, dogs and glitter what more could you want? Within the pages I eagerly searched for part four and once again dove into the world of Cat Palmer, keen to know was her dog walking business going to plan and would Joe Sinclair's secret finally be revealed? If you see Tinsel and Terriers and think I would like to give this a go do by all means as it is excellent and really does live up to the high standard set by the previous three novellas and can easily be read as a stand alone. But new readers to this series would do better to buy the full length edition to soak up all four parts in one go. You won't be left hanging at the end of each part like I was and will truly appreciate and savour this brilliant story all the more.

Tinsel and Terriers picks up where Raincoats and Retrievers left off, Cat has just put together a protest to prevent dogs being banned from Fairview Cove. The day has been successful but the outcome is still to be decided upon by the council. Hopefully Cat and all her friends have done the best they can. But now there are other things on Cat's mind based on an unexpected moment after the protest which has both her mind and heart working overtime. Cat is still with Mark and walking Chips his collie as well as the dogs of most of the residents of Fairview Terrace. What a difference from when we first met her at the beginning of the year. Pooch Promenade is now a success and Cat has also done her best to help anyone when she sees them in their time of need. So is it about time especially with the Christmas season coming up that Cat focuses on her self for once? I loved this description of Christmas and winter 'She loved the excitement of Halloween and fireworks and then the influx of lights and colours as people blotted out the winter greyness with sparkling festivity'. Lights do go on to play a magical role in the story.  

After the first three parts I still didn't know what to make of Mark even though Cat seemed to like him. He seemed creepy and not always open and honest and remained non-committal and elusive. Honestly I felt Cat deserved much better and really there was someone far worthier waiting in the wings to confess and sweep her off her feet. Straight away Cressida brought us back to the heart of the matter as it's decision time for Cat regarding her love life. I just had my fingers crossed that she would make the right choice.

Throughout the year Cat has made her mark on Primrose Terrace through helping everyone. Her insatiable curiosity has done many a person a favour in their time of need. So it's time for Cat to look out for herself now that she has worked her special magic on the residents. Cat slowly starts to come to some realisations coupled with the fact that her parents are going off travelling to Canada and she sees the love they have for one another. Maybe now she understands she shouldn't settle for second best especially if that person won't even involve themselves in the Christmas Spectacular that's planned. Cat, Polly,Owen,Jessica and so many more have put so much time and effort into the Christmas lights and dog dress up competition and if someone doesn't feel the same connection to this maybe they really aren't good enough for Cat or on her wavelength at all? Cat got a bit of strength which I had been urging her to do for the last two parts but there was still the next step to take but hopefully the wonder and power of the festive season would help her to do that? Polly her best friend gives her the best advice ever and I thought this was brilliantly summed up 'Cat, you always have these, big ideas for other people, schemes to help them and rescue them. You always throw caution to the wind and you go for it, more often than not it works. Why not for once, take some of your own advice'. Polly couldn't have said it better and maybe Cat needed to hear that to push on and give into what her heart was trying to tell her.

Tinsel and Terriers built up to a fantastic conclusion that really made me wish it was Christmas already and snowing outside. O it wasn't without it's ups and downs and truthfully my heart was in my mouth when poor Chalky took ill. Why did that have to happen? But I loved how Mr .Jasper showed his soft, caring side and therefore I won't be left under the illusion that is a cold hearted meanie as portrayed in the previous books. It's not often I change my opinion of characters but with Mr.Jaspar I did. As for Joe's secret for once I hadn't guessed but it did explain a lot. 

I envy those of you who can gobble up this delicious, engrossing series all in one go now the full paperback edition is being released. I hadn't enough patience to wait until the end of the year as this storyline with both dogs and humans alike was insanely gripping and I had to read each instalment as it came out. Whether you read the full book or the novella in parts this story should be on everyone's Christmas list and would certainly make the perfect Secret Santa present. The ending was just perfect and full of Christmas magic and fans of the series will be delighted with the outcome. Don't forget to do the quiz at the end of the paperback release to discover your inner doggess. It turns out I'm a Westie! 

With regret I turned the last page on what has been a superb series that will always have a place in my heart. Primrose Terrace and Cat are special and I urge you to buy this as I'm sure when reading it you will feel the same. Next year Cressida is taking us in a totally different direction with The Canal Boat Cafe series, it's already on my wish-list and if it's anything like Primrose Terrace we are surely in for a real treat.

Many thanks to Harper Fiction PR for sending me a copy of A Christmas Tail from which I reviewed Tinsel and Terriers and to Sharon for having my review on the blog

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