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The Unwrapping Of Theodora Quirke By Caroline Smailes

The Unwrapping Of Theodora Quirke‘The Unwrapping Of Theodora Quirke’ is the latest book by Theodora Quirke.

Theodora Quirke has no reason to be merry. It’s bad enough that she has to work on Christmas Eve but now there’s a drunk bloke dressed as Santa and claiming to be St Nick hanging around outside her flat. Given he’s professing to be the giver of Christmas miracles and nearly 2000 years old, she’s wary. Things get even more weird when St Nick insists he’s there to save Theo. And with the next St Nicholas Day somehow fast approaching, he’s even got a plan that’ll change her life forever. It all seems pretty straightforward, apart for one awkward fact: Theodora Quirke doesn’t actually need saving.

Just before Christmas I read this book and it gave me a warm feeling and get into the festive spirit.

The story is about Theodora Quirke who’s at a crossroads in her life, after her boyfriend and best friend suddenly died leaving her completely alone. Disheartened and full of despair, she’s at a low when St. Nick turns up at her doorstep. Even though, he looks like Santa Claus, he’s not and he’s there to save her life and bring her on a journey of her life and the significant moments that made lasting effects on her life. Meanwhile, Dottie Smith who is the founding member of Spitfire Saint Nicholas Umbrella Collective, who is convinced that Saint Nick performs miracles on 6th December and she’s one of the miracle receivers.

This ie a heartwarming story that is both inventive and creative and pulls the reader in from the start with the dysfunctional character. It’s hard not to connect with Theodore, she’s fiery and fun who’s lost without her boyfriend in her life. Having lost her mother and lived her life in uncertainty, Gabriel was the only constant in her life and when he’s taken away from her, her life falls apart and she questions her place in the world. St Nick is a great character, he’s witty and flamboyant but is also at a crossroad in his life and wants an opportunity to live his life for himself.

A story of magic and hope, this book was a joy to settle into and was filled with Christmas cheer. But as well as being as being witty with sweet and nostalgic references to ‘A Christmas Carol’, this book was a tender story that explored the ugly hardships of the world with a fierce protagonist who’s determined to save Christmas.

You can buy ‘The Unwrapping Of Theodora Quirke’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Finding Love At The Christmas Market By Jo Thomas

Finding Love at the Christmas Market‘Finding Love At The Christmas Market’ is the latest book by Jo Thomas.

Residential-home caterer Connie has had one online-dating disaster too many. Hurt in the past and with her son to consider, now she’s feeling hesitant. Then one of Connie’s residents sets her up on a date at a beautiful German Christmas market – with the promise she’ll take a mini-bus full of pensioners with her.Amongst the twinkling lights and smell of warm gingerbread in the old market square, Connie heads off on her date with a check-list of potential partner must-haves. Baker Henrich ticks all the boxes, but when Connie meets Henrich’s rival William, she starts to wonder if ticking boxes is the answer.

Having consumed Jo’s previous book called ‘Escape to the French Farmhouse’ in one sitting, I was delighted to be offered the chance to read her new Christmas book about love, friendship and food.

The story is mostly seen through the narrative of Connie, a single mum who works for a local catering company that delivers food to a care home called Lavender Hill. It’s in this job, that has made friends with the residents of the care home, especially Pearl and has decided to help them with a task of bringing the ashes of their friend called Elsie back to her home country in Germany and be scattered at the Christmas markets. It just so happens that Connie is going to Germany to meet Heinrich, her last hope at online dating. With a minibus full of elderly people who have far from lost their lust for life. They begin a 5 day adventure in Germany, embracing life and new friendships.

I loved this book, it warm, full of heart and is the perfect distraction during a pandemic. I loved Connie, she’s a kind woman, who puts other people’s happiness before her own. When she meets Heinrich, he ticks all the boxes that she’s looking for in a man. Now that her grown up son has Sam has left the nest and got himself a girlfriend, Connie is looking for company but is wary of the deception that is involved with online dating. Even though Connie wants her heart to belong to Heinrich, she finds herself drawn to William, who just so happens to be Heinrich’s enemy. Their family have been at loggerheads for years and come from bakeries in the opposing parts of the town. William is hoping that this year will be the year that his bakery will win the Christmas cake of the year and help bring in some funds to the Old Town and help mend his relationship with his wife and son. I loved William, he’s kind with a huge heart. I loved the interaction between Connie and William, from their awkward first meeting to her helping him with the baking.

This book is the perfect festive book to read. Filled with graphic scenes of the Christmas markets to the heady scents from the Christmas baked goods that seemed to leap from the pages. The story is beautifully written with wonderful characters and really highlights how people can easily be forgotten when they get older and are put into homes and out of the way. It made for sad reading in parts, as the characters reflected on how they were made to feel when family only wanted them for Boxing Day or for expensive gifts.

The humans weren’t the only great characters in this book, there was the inclusion of a sweet and deaf dog called Fritz who was able to put people at ease with his gentle nature. Like Jo’s previous books, this book is heavily food based with traditional German sweets and baked goods and Jo has included the recipes should the reader decide to create their own.

A story of new beginnings and new memories, this festive story is filled with love and heart, ‘Finding Love at the Christmas Market’ is a fun and captivating story that is packed with Christmas cheer and love.

You can buy ‘Finding Love At The Christmas Market’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Book News – The Mother Of All Christmases By Milly Johnson

The Mother Of All ChristmasesI’m delighted to see that Milly Johnson is back in 2018 with a delicious new Christmas book called ‘The Mother Of All Christmases’ and it’s a lovely return to some of her old characters from ‘A Winter Flame’.

What the back cover says –

Eve Glace – co-owner of the theme park Winterworld – is having a baby and her due date is a perfectly timed 25th December. And she’s decided that she and her husband Jacques should renew their wedding vows with all the pomp that was missing the first time. But growing problems at Winterworld keep distracting them …

Annie Pandoro and her husband Joe own a small Christmas cracker factory, are well set up and happy together despite life never blessing them with a much-wanted child. But when Annie finds that the changes happening to her body aren’t typical of the menopause but pregnancy, her joy is uncontainable.

Palma Collins has agreed to act as a surrogate, hoping the money will get her out of the gutter in which she finds herself. But when the couple she is helping split up, is she going to be left carrying a baby she never intended to keep?

Annie, Palma and Eve all meet at the ‘Christmas Pudding Club’, a new directive started by a forward-thinking young doctor to help mums-to-be mingle and share their pregnancy journeys. Will this group help each other to find love, contentment and peace as Christmas approaches?

The brand new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Perfectly Imperfect Woman; a gorgeous read full of love, life, laughter – and crackers!

You can pre-order The Mother of All Christmases from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 15th November 2018.

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Time By Joanna Bolouri

The Most Wonderful Time Of The Time‘The Most Wonderful Time Of The Time’ is the third book by Joanna Bolouri.

Thirty-eight year old Emily has a satisfying job, fab friends and, most importantly, a wonderful flat, exactly 411 miles away from the judgemental, crazy, interfering family she reluctantly sees twice a year. In fact, the only minor stress in her life is her twenty-something neighbour Evan and his penchant for flirting, loud music and even louder sex, but he’s nothing she can’t handle. Emily also has a boyfriend called Robert and it’s going really well. So well, in fact, that this year Emily is hoping to take him home for Christmas to meet her family. Finally she won’t be subject to five days of nosy questions from her parents and pity looks from her younger married siblings. But when Robert breaks up with her a week before Christmas, Emily is gutted. How on earth is she going to face her family now? Enlisting the help of party boy Evan (in exchange for one month’s rent and the use of her convertible) Emily is determined to take Robert home for Christmas come hell or high water, even if it isn’t the real Robert.

When it comes to a brash and fun tale of love and disaster, Joanna is the one author who writes it perfectly, even though she is a relatively new author for me, having only read one author book by her, I have come to the conclusion, that she has quickly become one of my favourite authors.

In her latest story, we meet Emily, a woman who is content in her life, she’s happy in her teaching job, only is minimally annoyed by her temperamental housemates and has met the perfect gentleman called Robert, a man that she can bring home for Christmas and finally get a break from her braying family about why she isn’t married with children. But when her relationship falls apart and to save face, Emily employs the help of her annoyingly handsome neighbour, Evan to pretend to be her Robert. Packed with post-its of research, the duo head home to Scotland where they prepare to put on the performance of their lifetimes, as they pretend to be the most loved up couple in the world.

Right from the very beginning, we are introduced to Emily, a fun loving, outspoken Scottish woman who is loving life, the only thing that is annoying her, is her neighbour Evan, who’s sexy times are literally keeping her awake. He’s charming and handsome and really knows what buttons to push to get a reaction from her. So when she drunkenly asks him to pretend to her boyfriend, I knew this entertaining story was going to get a whole lot better. Evan is a sweetheart of a man, he’s kind and witty and it’s obivious that he likes Emily more than she realises.

A story is seen solely through the narrative of Emily and I loved it, her honesty and blunt nature had me laughing out loud on buses and in work. Joanna has a knack of writing such frank and enjoyable stories that makes it impossible for me to put the book down. The story flows at the fast pace, as the unlikely and reluctant friendship between Emily and Evan progresses and she begins to warm to him and see him less as a nuisance and more of a potential friend. Other supporting characters are as equally entertaining as Emily and Evan, Alice and Toby who are Emily’s housemates have a volatile relationship that rapidly changes from love and hate in a manner of seconds, whereas Emily’s family are an inquisitive and fun crowd who want nothing more than to see the oldest daughter happy but Iona, Emily’s youngest twin sister, is cynical towards the relationship and interactions between the two sisters do make for seriously fun reading.

A wittily written story that is packed with unfortunate disasters, reluctant heroines and hero’s, ’The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ is the most hilarious Christmas story that I’ve had the joy of reading this year, filled with witty one liners and raunchy moments, this book is the ideal distraction from life, the perfect book for fans of Mhairi MacFarlane.

You can buy The Most Wonderful Time of the Year from Amazon and ia available to buy from good bookshops.

Win A Copy Of A Fairy Tale For Christmas By Chrissie Manby

A Fairytale For ChristmasI’ve received a second copy of Chrissie Manby’s new book called ‘A Fairy Tale For Christmas’ and I would like to share the festive cheer and give the book away to one lucky person. I recently read and reviewed this book and it’s a lovely heartwarming story.

The story of ‘A Fairy Tale For Christmas’ is –

It’s the festive season and the members of the Newbay Theatre Society, more commonly known as the NEWTS, are preparing to put on a show. Being cast as Cinderella is the realization of a dream for newcomer Kirsty, not least because she hopes starring in a panto under the direction of her boyfriend Jon will bring them closer together.But Kirsty soon learns that it’s not all glitter and good cheer behind the scenes at the amateur theatre as bitter rivalries nurtured through decades, wardrobe mishaps and suspicious near-fatal accidents threaten to derail the production. And then there’s Prince Charming himself. Will working together with Jon bring Kirsty her happy ever after… or reveal their love to be nothing but a ‘showmance’?

To be in with a chance of winning this book, simply answer the following question by leaving your answer in the comment box below.

What is the name of Newbay Theatre Society?

The winner will be revealed on Monday 14th November. Good luck.