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I've been reading a few Jill Mansell books on loan from a friend recently and have thoroughly enjoyed them, so when the same friend loaned me 'Wrapped In You' by Carole Matthews I was eagerly looking forward to it. I admit to not reading anything by Carole Matthews in the past but then again I had the same reservations about Jill Mansell and ended up loving her work so thought I would give this book a chance at least.
The story centres around main character hairdresser Janie, who seems unlucky in love. Having bought her dream cottage she lives alone after splitting with long term boyfriend of many years and lives next door to newly single all round nice guy Mike, who seems keen to be more than just friends with Janie.
When Janie bumps into her ex who informs her he has moved on with the woman he betrayed her for and is about to get married and become a father, Janie tells him that she has planned an african safari holiday over the upcoming Christmas holidays to impress him - which is in fact a complete lie.
Having been drawn into her own lie of an african safari holiday, suddenly it doesn't seem such a bad idea and Janie finds herself spending Christmas in the african plains where a certain Maasai warrior catches her eye. On returning home can Janie ever get on with life without her hunky african Maasai warrior, or will they find a way of being together...?
*~*My thoughts on the book*~*
I didn't know what to expect with this book as it's not the sort of chick lit I usually like to read, preferring more light hearted and less 'soppy' stories as a rule by the likes of Sophie Kinsella and now Jill Manesll. I liked the sound of this though as the blurb didn't make this sound too saccharine sweet and it had a Christmas theme throughout, which again very much appealed to me loving anything festive related. The story kicks off with us being introduced to Janie then subsequently we meet her best friends of Nina who she works at a salon with, and Mike the next door neighbour. I liked Janie instantly though she wasn't a character with much depth at first, but that could have just come down to the fact she was being portrayed as being the 'victim', which if that is was the case then I thought was unnecessary.
I liked Janie within moments of 'meeting' her though little can be said of the other other characters as I felt I only got to know them as the book was coming to an end. There were several characters that I found difficult to relate to and several I just felt 'unattached' to and didn't like, which to be honest made picking up the book on an evening a bit of an effort to read.
I liked the idea of the story and though it seemed a while to actually get going, proved to be quite readable as the story progressed. I didn't think it was anything overly exciting and I was quite satisfied reading only a few chapters an evening (which were only around 5/6 pages long by the way) unlike some books that have me literally taping my eyelids open reading into the early hours with. Though this was a slow burner throughout I did feel I wanted to finish the book and though the story seemed inevitably predictable I did actually enjoy reading it.
I don't want to sound too overly negative here as it is a pleasant enough story and though quite slow at first it does plod along in an easy to read manner once I had got to grips with the characters and their roles in the story. I just feel at times it was a bit of an effort to read and there just didn't seem to be too much happening. There were the odd humorous moments but these seemed few and far between and the actual plot seemed very ridiculous and not life like. This isn't the best book I've ever read but neither is it the worst and though I wouldn't read this particular one again I will definitely read some more of Carole Matthews books mainly to see how they compare.
At just 421 pages long this is an average length though it has to be said at times the book did feel like it was a lot longer. This does have a heartwarming feel to it though and you can't help but spur on Janie and even Mike in their quests for happiness. What is also in it's favour is the cover of the book with it's pretty Christmas scene and glittery snowflakes and fairy lights which as shallow as it sounds I was instantly drawn to and it has to be said it's very aesthetically pleasing.
Priced at £6.99 this is worth borrowing from the library or a friend in my opinion rather than forking out the cash for but maybe I have just not been fully won over by Matthews yet, I'll let you know when I've read some other of her work.
I am a huge Carole Matthews fan.. I cannot walk past new Carole Matthews book without picking it up. I was so excited when an advanced copy of Wrapped up in You arrived in my letter box to review, all wrapped up in a lovely little bow, my Christmas had come early!
A Christmas fling, or has Janie found the real thing? Thirty-something hairdresser Janie Johnson's single status is a constant source of gossip for her friends and clients. So after too many nights in with her cat, a blind date disaster and news that her ex is getting married, Janie realises it's time to do something dramatic with her life. It's time for an adventure! Leaving winter behind, Janie takes the plunge and books an exotic trip to Africa. Her friends think she's mad and Janie thinks they may very well be right ...but then she falls head over heels for her tour guide ? and fully fledged Maasai Warrior ? Dominic. But can Janie now face spending a snowy Christmas back home without him? Packed with unforgettable characters, romance and laughter, Wrapped Up In You is your very own perfect Christmas Carole!
Sighhhhhhhhhhhh! I Loved it....The End!
Carole Matthews has come back with a bang this year. From the first chapter of Wrapped Up in You I was hooked. I connected with the main character from the moment I met her. Janie works as a hairdresser which is a similar industry that I work in so when we first meet her at work with her chatty clients talking about love and holidays, I felt like I was reading about my working day! Janie's character comes over as very warm and caring if a little vulnerable. We only hope that she can soon find the love and happiness she deserves.
Carole teases us in this book with two gorgeous men, Dominic and Mike, who are two worlds apart and who are both perfect in every way and will have you looking at your partner wondering why he isn't more like these characters!
The descriptive method of writing Matthews uses in this book really gives this book an intriguing and exciting feel to it. I think this book should come with a warning on the festive front cover as once you have read this it will have you looking at holidays in Africa!
Now that Carole has moved over to Sphere she now has a fresh new look to her cover which in my opinion looks much more inviting. I was expecting more of a festive feel to the book judging by the cover so I was a little surprised by the storyline when Janie leaves the festive setting for a gorgeous setting in Africa.
We also get our little touches of humour in this book, my favourite involving a difficult escape route! The book starts at a great pace and continues the whole way through with no dull points to the book. I thought by the second chapter that I knew how the story was going to pan out but I was wrong. This novel is beautifully written and the ending is wrapped up in a lovely way not leaving us hanging and not feeling a rush to the close.
This is one of my favourite Carole Matthews books and I cannot recommend it enough, everyone needs this book sitting under their Christmas tree.
Review also on amazon and my blog www.reabookreview.blogspot.com
A Christmas fling, or has Janie found the real thing? Thirty-something hairdresser Janie Johnson's single status is a constant source of gossip for her friends and clients. So after too many nights in with her cat, a blind date disaster and news that her ex is getting married, Janie realises it's time to do something dramatic with her life. It's time for an adventure! Leaving winter behind, Janie takes the plunge and books an exotic trip to Africa. Her friends think she's mad and Janie thinks they may very well be right ...but then she falls head over heels for her tour guide - and fully fledged Maasai Warrior - Dominic. But can Janie now face spending a snowy Christmas back home without him?"
This is my first Carole Matthews read in a while, and I have to say I was very impressed when it came through my door! I opened up the parcel and it was wrapped in a beautiful red christmas ribbon, and it really gave the book a special feel. I love the cover of the book, with the lovely wintery scene, red writing and silver theme, and think that will certainly make it a successful festive read. What I found inside was a complete surprise - instead of a sweet wintery tale set in a twee English village, our heroin ends up travelling halfway across the world to African plains, not something I have ever encountered in chick lit before but was quite excited to give it a go and see where the story would take me.
I have to say that while I initially liked the character of Janie, I felt she lost the plot a bit once she met the sudden love of her life, Dominic, a Maasai warrior. Despite feeling at home that she was never going to love anyone ever again, she suddenly fell head over heels for this man that she didn't know, and more importantly lived halfway across the world from. I felt that part of the story was a bit too over the top for me,Janie went completely obsessive about this man, and the numerous references to "my Maasai warrior" started to really grate after a while. I also really didn't like some of her actions in trying to get out to Africa for Christmas, and it made for uncomfortable reading at times because I really couldn't believe she would go through with things just to see a man she's known for a few days before.
I do have to commend Matthews for her writing of the African plains. You can tell she has been out to the country and really researched it enough to write about it in a believable way. Everything she wrote on the page, from the scenery to the animals to Dominic and his Maasai ways was incredibly real, and I had no problem picturing these things in my mind, so it was really a nice read in that respect. It's a shame that the main character had to be a bit too mad for my liking. However, I will say that I loved Dominic and how he was written by Matthews - a very sweet, kind-hearted man who was literally like a fish out of water for most of the book. He was my favourite character, and Janie's best friend Nina was my leat favourite, a bitter and not nice woman determined to ruin her friend's new relationship with Dominic because of her distrust with men. I really didn't like this part, and wondered why Janie couldn't be honest with Nina about her feelings towards her and her hideous husband Gerry.
Overall, this was a pleasant enough read but I just felt the story between Janie and Dominic was a little bit contrived and Janie's obsession with him just felt really childish as I was reading, and I was struggling to read on at times because I wanted to give Janie a bit of a slap! However, I felt the parts set in Africa were a joy to read and I thoroughly enjoyed all of those. There wasn't actually that much about Christmas in the book really, it was more of a side story but that didn't seem to matter as it wasn't the focus of the story anyway. Overall though, it was a pleasant read and nice way to spend the cold evenings, although I hope Matthews' heroines in future won't be quite so childish and obsessive, as I really found Janie grated right on my nerves!