Without much doubt, Calling Mrs Christmas was the stand-out book of Winter 2013 for me. Previously, I hadn't read any books written by Carole Matthews...moreWithout much doubt, Calling Mrs Christmas was the stand-out book of Winter 2013 for me. Previously, I hadn't read any books written by Carole Matthews, but after reading this one, I was absolutely desperate to read more! It may no longer be the festive period, but I still believe that it's still a good time to pick up Calling Mrs Christmas if you haven't already. With scenes in dark and dreary England and the almost magical Lapland, this is the perfect book to cosy up with.
I'm still somewhat finding my footing with chick-lit authors, but it within a few chapters of this book, I knew that Matthews would become a firm go-to author within this genre. She managed to put everything that I wanted into this book - spectacular settings, strong characters and both heart wrenching and humorous moments. This is one of those books that would be lovely to sit and spend an evening reading, it's such a page turner and the writing flows so easily.
This book revolves around our protagonist, Cassie, who decides to start up her own business, Calling Mrs Christmas!, helping people to organise their festivities. Cassie lives in a flat with her long time partner, Jim, who works with young offenders at a prison. Cassie's business quickly becomes successful and she is hired by a rich and very charming client, Carter, who wants her to plan the perfect Christmas trip for his two children. Cassie plans a trip to Lapland, and is happily surprised when asked to attend the trip with them. Jim is left at home, continuing his work at the prison and specially taking two young lads, Smudge and Rozza, under his wing, helping them to adjust to leaving prison. Jim and the two boys both help out and do some of Cassie's work whilst away. During Cassie's trip to Lapland, she forms a strong bond with Carter's children and a complex relationship with Carter himself, leading her to question her relationship with Jim.
I had real affection for Cassie and Jim, so you can easily guess who I was rooting for. Jim and Cassie's relationship seemed very sincere and I could feel their chemistry. Both characters were easy to connect with and seemed very real, down-to-earth. Though he wasn't the main character, Jim was definitely a star of the book in his own right - I was just as interested in him as I was in Cassie and his bond with the two young offenders was really heartwarming to read about. I loved seeing how the four interacted together, even through the most testing of times.
Carter was a charming man, but mostly I appreciated his contribution of the trip to Lapland which provided us with exploration, education, fun and majestic settings. We got to experience sledging with huskies, the Ice Hotel and the Northern Lights amongst other atmospheric activities. I can understand why Cassie was swayed by him, but real moral, the question of the book was materialism vs love. To me, it was obvious who would 'win', but the questions and quandaries that were explored during Cassie's break were well handled and actually did have me seriously considering both options.
Overall, I absolutely loved Calling Mrs Christmas, and after finishing it, I immediately picked up and started reading another book by Carole Matthews (review to be posted soon!) who is definitely a new favourite author. A perfect winter page-turner, and something that I would definitely recommend to anyone who likes chick lit, or anybody who just wants to relax and get lost with an easy to read story. (less)