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I am a big fan of Trisha Ashely so when I borrowed this just before Christmas I was pleased. I was actually halfway through another Christmas book by the same author at the time (The Magic of Christmas) so I ended up reading this over Christmas and New Year. Initially I was worried that I might not enjoy it fully as it wasn't actually the run up to Christmas but although it is set over the Christmas period it is not purely focused on Christmas and also includes family rifes, discoveries and new found friendships.
Holly Brown isn't looking forward to Christmas, her husband died over the Christmas period and as he was the only person she ever really celebrated Christmas with as she was raised by her Gran as a Strange Baptist. Therefore Christmas brings many painful memories, to make matters worse her Gran has recently passed away leaving her with no family of her own.
Holly is close to her husbands sister, Laura and had been invited to go there for Christmas but when a last minute working opportunity comes up from her housesitting firm she sets off to rural Lancashire. Holly is secretly quite relieved as she likes to spend Christmas alone as it means she can ignore the festivities as much as possible. However, the extended family of the homeowner have other ideas...
I had high expectations for this book because as I said previously I am a huge fan of Trisha Ashley's work. I loved this book and it fulfilled all of my expectations. The book is true to the authors writing style, the language used is informal and the book feels very laid back and is an easy read.
The main body of the plot focuses on a few weeks over the Christmas period but I found it interesting and enjoyable, the book isn't 'action-filled' but there is always plenty going on to keep the readers attention.
I immediately loved the character of Holly, as I find with all of Ashley's main characters. Holly is very likeable, down to earth and I did feel sympathy for her because to Holly, Christmas is now a sad time filled with memories and grief.
I found the plot of the book flowed very well and there were lots of different aspects within the plot to entice and hold onto the reader. There was a sub-plot of Holly's Gran's Journals which Holly was currently working her way through. This was important to the plot of the story but it was also nice to have a small section each chapter that is away from the present day. The chapters were usually around ten pages long and I thought this was perfect as it meant I could always pick up the book even if I only had a spare ten minutes, it also made it easy to finish at the end of a chapter rather than midway through which I prefer.
The plot of the book was focused around a situation that I found fresh and new and although some aspects became a bit more predictable during the middle and end of the book there were also a few twists and turns which were unexpected. I did enjoy the story and thought the ending was done very well, wrapping up everything. I would like to see a sequel to see what Holly did next!
The book is similar to Ashley's other publications in that it is an easy read, with a loveable main character and an easy to follow and interesting plot. However, I thought the plot was different enough from her other books to allow it to be distinct and original.
The book was published in 2010 by Harper Collins.
It has 402 pages which consist of 40 chapters.
There is a small section at the end of the book containing Christmas recipes.
The cover price of the book is £6.99, however the Kindle version is for £2.99.
Another very strong book from Trisha Ashley, well worth a read even if it's not nearly Christmas!
Why I bought the book
I was looking for a book in the first few weeks of December that would get me in the festive spirit. I had just bought an iPad so decided to download the Kindle app and perused the Kindle store until I found this book. The reviews were quite good and it seemed festive in a positive way i.e. not too much negativity which is definitely something we don't want at this time of year!
The plot surrounds a female protagonist who housesits for various people and is an excellent cook. She is called at the last minute to look after an old manor house over Christmas. She, herself does not like Christmas for a number of reasons and was glad to go to the manor house on her own so she could have a quiet Christmas by herself. Other people had other plans for her however! Throughout the book she interacts with more dogs, people, horses and "Lord of the Manor's" than she could possibly ever want to. An underlying plot sees her find her Grandma's old diaries from the war, and we follow her Grandma' and her old flame throughout the book with some interesting outcomes.
Overall I felt the plot was quite festive and I did feel Christmassy reading it. The characters were quite endearing and the description of the building and the snowy scenes did exactly what I wanted them to do (i.e. make me feel festive). I thought the plot would have more twists in it, but I felt it was quite predictable overall. My biggest bug bear with the plot was that it ended far too predictably and really the characters hadn't overcome their differences enough for that particular outcome. I felt as though the author had a deadline to meet and the final few chapters were rushed.
I would read this book again and would read something similar by the authors. I like an easy to follow plot with some twists and this doesn't really do twists very well. It does 'Christmas' extremely well though so a good bit of festive reading.
A few weeks before Christmas I was looking for a festive book to read that would get me in the mood for the occasion, when I stumbled over 'Twelve days of Christmas', by Trisha Ashley. I had never heard of this author before but when I read the back it sounded just what I was looking for.
When it arrived I was very impressed with the cover as it was all glittery - something I am a big fan of and I thought it was unusual to find glitter on a book cover. It made it more festive and if I was looking at it in a book shop then I would certainly pick it up.
The book tells the story of Holly (a very apt name) who doesn't like Christmas one bit. Her husband died several years previously at Christmas due to an accident and since his death she tended to hide away in her house sitting jobs, spending time on her own and forgetting about the time of year. However this year she was just about to face her fear and spend Christmas at her best friends house, when a house sitting job comes up in a remote village. She jumps at the chance and heads on up there.
This book has everything in it that you associate with a traditional family Christmas. There is a large old house with open log fires and an aga, a large family that comprises of people of all ages, lots of food and don't forget the snow.
To start with it didn't feel at all festive and it did feel slightly predictable. After reading the back of the book the reader knew that Jude Martland - who was not present at the start of the story, would be coming back to the house from his trip away. I think that spoilt it slightly because I kept reading the words with this in mind. Everything I read I kept thinking 'ah but he's going to appear soon.' The only thing I didn't know was when.
Just before the holiday Holly's gran passed away and the last words she uttered were those of 'Ned Martland'. It doesn't take a genius to work out that it's the same name as the family whose house Holly is looking after and she spends her time there reading her Gran's journals to try and find some clues as to who the elusive Ned is. I thought it became apparent what was going to happen with this part of the story quite early on and it isn't just a coincidence that she ends up here - the author has done it on purpose. I do like the fact that at the beginning of every chapter there is a diary entry from Holly's Gran's diary which tells a story in itself. The story is then carried on by Holly calling her best friend Laura for updates.
I did find the book quite repetitive as well. It kept going on about Twelfth Night celebrations in the village and everyone Holly spoke to mentioned it. I'm not sure about other people but I am not really sure when twelfth night is and it never gave a date to help those readers who weren't sure. There was certainly a routine to the book as well as it went through each day that led up to Christmas and each day afterwards. All the meals were explained, which were a large part of the book, probably because food features very heavily in Christmas celebrations and even the things Holly did each morning were mentioned.
I also got very confused about the time frame. I know it was before Christmas but it didn't say how long it was until the big day. Because of this the book felt slightly tedious as I wasn't sure how much longer I had to read until Christmas day actually arrived. Maybe I missed something but I don't think so and if I did it meant there was only one mention of the time in the several chapters before Christmas.
By the time it got to the end there was a big surprise but the end felt a bit rushed. It had taken so long to get to this point and then suddenly it was over.
I did enjoy it and I think I would read it again next Christmas. It's not one of those books you can read at any time of the year and I don't think I will be recommending it. It had the Christmas feel to it and it sort of got me in the mood, but it was too predictable for my liking.
Twelve Days Of Christmas is a book by Trisha Ashley. It was released in the United Kingdom in October 2010, and so is brand new, just in time for Christmas. The book is currently available to buy from play.com for a price of £4.49 which I think is excellent value considering that the book is brand new!
In this book : After losing her husband, young widow Holly always finds Christmas a sad and lonely time, and so when she is offered to look after a remote house in Lancashire over the Christmas holidays, she jumps at the chance. On the other hand, in the same village Jude is down in the dumps after his brother runs off with his fiance. What will happen when the whole village gets snowed in? Read Twelve Days of Christmas to find out!
The minute I saw this book in the reviews section of a magazine, I knew it was the kind of read that I would love! The beautiful Christmassy cover instantly gets you in the festive mood. It's so great to have a Christmas fictional book, as I absolutely love Christmas, and I absolutely love chick-lit books, so to have a Christmas book which comes under my favourite genre, rather than a cookery or Children's book is great!!
I really enjoyed the story! It's a real heartwarming story, which a lot of people will be able to relate to. It is a wonderful Christmas story, and I like how what starts out seeming like a sad occasion turns into a happy and romantic one! I thought that plot was really good, with lots of unexpected twists and turns which keep the reader interested. I like that the book provides easy reading, as it means that you don't have to think to much, which means that it is perfect for reading whilst chilling out.
I really liked the characters in the book. I felt really sorry for the two main characters, Holly and Jude and so I was happy when things improved for them. I felt as though I really got to know the characters, and they were easy to connect with, with meant that whatever the character was feeling, I was feeling to.
This book is a such a cosy read! It is such a charming and enjoyable read which will instantly cheer you up. It is the kind of book which makes you feel all safe and warm especially if you are sitting by the fire whilst reading it. It is the perfect magical read for grown ups! I was so sad when the book finished, but I can always pull it out again next year!
I had never heard of the author Trisha Ashley before, and so this is the first book I have read by her! After this great read, I will definately be looking out for her other books!
If you love a bit of romance, as well as Christmas, you will absolutely love this book.
Thanks for reading!
December 2nd 2010
xd-o-n-z-x (also posted on ciao under xdonzx