These books aren't on sales in the UK shops (not that I have seen anyway). The first time I came across a Donna van Liere book was on a visit to the U...moreThese books aren't on sales in the UK shops (not that I have seen anyway). The first time I came across a Donna van Liere book was on a visit to the USA a few years ago in December; we were at a little village in New Jersey with my American family and browsing in a Christmas shop when I saw a pile of these little books on a table and I just had to have them - they looked so welcoming and delicious. I read the first three while in NYC over the next 2 days and I have read them several times since. I ordered this latest book online and read it this weekend and it still had the exact same magic of all the others.
Gretchen has moved to Grandon (the setting of all her books) with her two small children to be closer to her Mum. While unpacking she meets the very odd and reclusive Melissa, her new next-door-neighbour, who is determined to be unwelcoming and succeeds. Melissa had a horrible childhood with a drunk, uncaring mother and when she finds out that her mother has died, Melissa doesn't feel anything except relief and rebuffs Gretchens offer of help to clean out her mothers appartment. Once she gives in though, she finds a half fisnished note from her mother to herself that opens up a whole new world to her...
These books wouldn't be for everyone, I accept that. They are very sweet and some may find them too sweet. I just adore them though; they are full of hope and kindness and salvation and magic and they have the most gorgeous covers ever. I have loved every one of Donna van Liere's Christmas books and reading this latest one has made me want to go back to my shelf and read the others all over again.
Verdict: If you are feeling bah humbug at Christmas, these books cannot fail to cheer you up. Just lovely. (less)
What a wonderful book to read in the run up to Christmas. I have just been swept away on a tide of vintage clothes, soaps and old-school glamour.
Mirac...moreWhat a wonderful book to read in the run up to Christmas. I have just been swept away on a tide of vintage clothes, soaps and old-school glamour.
Miracle on Regent Street is about Evie Taylor, the stockroom girl at Hardy’s – a 100 year old department store in London – and despite feeling that her talents should lie on the shop floor, she is completely invisible to anyone else who works there (OK, she’s not exactly invisble as oposed to blending into the background so much that the entire staff still call her Sarah which is the name of her predecessor of two years before). One day, right at the beginning of December, Evie overhears a conversation between the owner of Hardy’s and her manager, and it horrified to realise that if Hardy’s fortunes don’t turn around before Boxing Day they will all be out of jobs. What follows is Evie’s secret attempt to turn the shop around before Christmas, with a little help from some rather unexpected corners – Sam the delivery boy, Lily from the tea-shop who still dresses as though she’s going to a tea dance from the good old days, Felix the security guard and a couple of eastern european cleaners. I loved the whole cast of characters in this book, and despite wanting to shout at Evie for not standing up for herself (I’m not one for keeping my mouth shut if something bugs me at work ), I still found her engaging and routed for her and her friends throughout.
One of the things I loved about this book was the wonderful nostalgic trip through a long-ago age where shop assistants spent time with customers, women were made to feel like women and a trip to the department store was a special treat. The transformation of the store through Evie and her secret elves made me long to be part of that world and I could see this wonderful place so clearly in my mind that I wanted to wander round the stalls and browse through the gold compacts, crystal perfume bottles and vintage peep-toe shoes (and this from someone who is not remotely a girly girl!); I wanted to glide down the huge wooden staircase and pick up the handbags, trilbys and corsets and then pop into the tearoom for tea and cake, red lipstick and stockings firmly in place.
I do love a chicklit book now and then, but I have to say that this is one of the most sophisticated that I have read; it didn’t have the cheesiness or sickliness of some and instead it had old fashioned glamour, romance, wit and warmth and it was a delight to read.
Verdict: If you are looking for a christmassy feel-good read then please, please look no further than this book. It is a real treat.
I absolutely adored this book. What a fun, heart-warming tale to warm the cockles at Christmas. I thought the cover was gorgeous too – snow and twinkl...moreI absolutely adored this book. What a fun, heart-warming tale to warm the cockles at Christmas. I thought the cover was gorgeous too – snow and twinkly lights and a cosy deli called The Honey Pot – I just wanted to step straight into the cover of the book.
All I Want for Christmas is about three women in their 30′s: Bea who owns The Honey Pot which is renowned for it’s scrumptious Italian food (she bought it with her Italian husband Mario, who is no longer on the scene) and she lives there with her toddler son, Luca, and is trying to rebuild her life. Olivia is a journalist and newly engaged to Kieran and appears to be getting cold feet about marriage, and Chloe is a high-flying lawyer who is having an affair with a married man and is very lonely on account of her rather sharp tongue. The three women fall into each others company accidentally and find theirselves involved in each others lives without realising it.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book; so much that I wanted to go on reading it when it was over. It was the perfect book for this time of year and has certainly helped get my December off to a festive start (less)