‘It Must Have Been The Mistletoe’ is the latest book by Judy Astley.
Thea’s parents decide to host a big family Christmas in a house by the sea… even though they are, in fact, about to split up. Thea herself is newly single – her sister and brother are both settled, with children, homes and a future. But Thea’s boyfriend has ditched her in favour of his pedigree dogs, and Thea can’t decide whether or not she minds. There will be copious food and drink, holly and mistletoe, lots of bracing walks and a wintry barbecue on the beach. If it seems an odd way to celebrate the final break-up of a marriage and the Moving On to new partners, no- one is saying so. But then no-one had anticipated that the new partners might actually turn up to complicate the sleeping arrangements. As Cornwall experiences the biggest snowstorm in living memory, the festive atmosphere comes under some strain. Will Thea manage to find some happiness for herself? Will the mistletoe work its magic on them all?
I was once a big fan of Judy’s books but life and time got in the way and I lost track with her novels so, ‘It Must Have Been The Mistletoe’ is the first book that I’ve read by her in a while.
I will be honest, when I initially started this book, I found it a bit slow to get into but once the family had gone off on their Cornwall adventure, I thought the pace sped up and I began to enjoy the festive story.
The story is seen from the perspective of the family members as they deal with the sudden news that this will be their last family Christmas together as their parents, Anna and Mike intend to divorce. This announcement has taken Thea, her sister Emily and brother Jimi completely off guard as their parents seem as close as ever and they are both quite amicable about the news.
The story is primarily seen through the eyes of Thea, the youngest daughter of the family as she deals with her first Christmas as a single lady and becoming affectionately known as the ‘maiden aunt’, when her fiancée broke up with her and was more focused on his pet poodle than the relationship. It is also seen from Anna’s perspective, the mother who wants their last family Christmas together to be perfect and her daughter Emily, a constant worrier who is looking for the worst to happen.
Bemused by how her life has turned out, Thea uses the break to reflect on her life, enjoy the family time and the new company from Sean, who owns cottage that Thea’s family have rented with his partner Paul. A handsome surfer who befriends Thea and becomes her escape when family life gets a bit chaotic, sweet with a kind heart and a friendly cat called Woody, Sean is a welcome distraction in Thea’s life.
Cleverly written and packed within the confines of the cottage, there is a host of interesting people and situations that makes the story quite captivating in parts, from the busy run-up to christmas, unexpected guests and a heavy snowfall, this book had me entertained throughout.
A warmhearted story about the importance of family and moving on, ‘It Must Have a Been The Mistletoe’ is a magical Christmas tale.
You can buy It Must Have Been the Mistletoe from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.