I love everything about Christmas ; Food, presents, music, events, movies etc. I am normally a big reader, but this year I have decided to 'read' lots of Christmas chick-lit books during the countdown. Today, I will be reviewing one of my latest reads.
The Xmas Factor is a chick lit book by Annie Sanders. The book was released in the United Kingdom in 2007, although I had never heard of it until recently. This book is currently available to buy from Amazon for a price of £4.50 which I think is good value for money.
In this book : It's only September and Beth is already stressing about Christmas, especially as she has agreed to organise the annual village ball. Beth is soon so busy that she is fed up of the whole 'xmas' things. Carol, on the other hand, is an editor for a glamorous magazine. She wants this year to be perfect and so she rents a cottage in a village for her and her little boy. What will happen when the two women meet? Read The Xmas Factor to find out!
I enjoyed this book, mainly because it has a Christmassy theme. but also because it was an exceptionally enjoyable read. The plot was quite simple, yet so effective, and kept me on the 'edge of my seat'. This book is a real page turner, and I could not put it down. I enjoyed the book so much, that I was really disappointed when it ended, as I wanted to keep reading. It is the kind of book which you could keep on reading forever.
I liked the two main characters in this book ; Carol and Beth, yet I couldnt' choose a favourite as I thought that they were both interesting individuals who each added something different to the story. They are the type of characters which everyone can relate to. Everyone can relate to Carol, with that feeling of wanting the perfect Christmas, and everyone can relate to Beth who is stressing like mad about it. I also liked Carol's seven year old son as he 'came out with the funniest things', and also I thought that the nativity play scene was so comical!
I felt sorry for Beth because she was all stressed out, and was feeling under pressure of having to 'fill' her husband's dead first wife's 'boots', by organising the annual Christmas Eve dance, which she used to do.
This book is light-hearted and fun, yet it is also quite emotional at times. There are so many feelings that the reader will feel in this book ; happiness, sadness, laughter, tears, jolly-ness. The reader will really feel for the characters. I felt as though I had really got to know the characters, and so was sad when the book ended as I felt as though I was saying goodbye to some friends.
If you are looking for a great Christmas read, I would definately recommend this book!
Thanks for reading!
December 13th 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx)
I'll be honest and say that I don't normally buy new books purely because of the price of them. As a young mum, I don't often have £7 or £8 hanging around to treat myself to a new book, which is why I love my library and the website ReadItSwapIt which I use a lot. But I made an exception when I saw this one in Tesco for just £4. I have loved Annie Sanders' other novels so being November and the fact I love her books, I actually bought this one!
The Xmas Factor was a great book to read during December because it is of course based around the magical time of Christmas. It tells us the tale of two mothers getting ready for Christmas and all the stress, trials and tribulations which come with it. Carol is a well-respected magazine editor, who has recently been taken off her incredibly magazine Style and told to edit the failing Women's Monthly. Carol has a young son called Tim, a lively 8 year old who misses his mum terribly when she has to work all hours to get her magazines to press.
Beth is spending her first proper Christmas with her new husband Jacob. However Beth is living in the shadow of Jacob's deceased wife Becca, whose stamp is still all over the house. Jacob's children Noel and the prickly Holly are coming to stay for Christmas with their respective partners. But she has been talked into hosting her village's Mistletoe Meet. So she has an entire village to impress, two step-children to befriend, not to mention keeping up with her job.
Although I think part of the reason I really enjoyed this book was because I was reading it at Christmas, the other major reason was that it was just brilliant. It is very grown-up Chick Lit, no fluffy stories or Cinderella type endings here. The characters are written as grown up women who are dealing with two lifestyles neither of them really saw themselves growing up with and learning to cope with the changes they are going through.
Carol was incredibly likeable because she was just a normal woman with a great talent for her job. You could see how the author have written her anguish at leaving her little boy all the time, and the guilt that comes with being a single parent when you have to work. I found that her little boy's character Tim was incredibly well-written and really brought across how much he missed his mum, yet not in too much of a guilt-trippy way! I think all mums out there wish their son would be like Tim, sheerly for how much he wanted his mum to be happy!
I didn't really warm to Beth's character at first, I found her a bit moany and a little hard to like. But as the story unravelled and Beth came out of her shell a bit more, she was a very normal and likeable person. You could see how hard she was trying with her step-children and her difficulty in communicating with them because she has no children of her own. The relationship between Holly and Beth was particualrly interesting to read and had me gripped to the end, just to see if they would ever put aside their differences and get on. The rest of Beth's family were nice characters too.
I especially liked how all of the characters were brought together in the end and showed a solidarity for each other in their hours of need. This book really is a heart-warming tale of how people get the wrong impressions of people but when they are willing to let people in, great friendships can flourish. The book is so wonderfully written, you can really get into this book and find yourself in the countryside with thick snow in Beth's huge house one minute, and in the bustling streets of London fighting your way to Hamley's with a harassed Carol. That is all due to the great writing by this author, and what encourages me to always pick up an Annie Sanders novel. A great novel to read, especially at Christmas!
ISBN:978-0752881775. Published by Orion in November 2007. The book has 320 pages, I could have easily read double that! RRP is £6.99 although Amazon is selling it for £3.49, but I picked up my copy in Tesco for £4. The author Annie Sanders is actually a writing duo made up of 2 women, Annie Ashworth and Meg Sanders. For more information on them, and their books, see their website www.anniesanders.co.uk.
Thank you for reading!