Release: 24th October 2013
Genre: Chick-lit, Christmas, Fiction
Source: Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
"Cassie Smith has been out of work for a while but she has an idea. Drawing on her love of Christmas, she begins charging for small things: wrapping presents; writing cards; tree-decorating. She's soon in huge demand and Cassie's business, Calling Mrs Christmas, is born.
Carter Randall wants to make Christmas special for his children so he enlists Cassie's help, and his lavish requests start taking up all her time. Thank goodness she can rely on her partner Jim to handle the rest of her clients.
When Carter asks Cassie to join them on a trip to Lapland, she knows she shouldn't go. As much as tries, Cassie can't deny how drawn she is to Carter and everything he has to offer, but she still loves her warm-hearted Jim. Suddenly Cassie finds herself facing a heart-breaking choice that could change her entire life."
After enjoying my first Carole Matthews books A Cottage by the Sea this summer I was eager to read more from this author. Thanks to the snippet shared at the back of A Cottage by the Sea I got to read a sneak peak of Calling Mrs Christmas the latest festive offering from Carole – I loved the sound of it and was looking forward to snuggling up with a copy during the build up to Christmas. I’m going to say straight off the bat that this is one of the best Christmas books that I’ve ever read. I read the whole thing straight through in a day because I was so caught up in this story!
Calling Mrs Christmas is brimming with festivity and is perfect for getting excited for Christmas. The book follows Cassie – unemployed and struggling to stay afloat Cassie is not looking forward to Christmas this year (a time that she usually loves) because of the expense that comes along with it. Then Cassie gets the wonderful idea of turning her love for Christmas into a business and so Calling Mrs Christmas is born. Tree decorating; gift buying, organising Christmas parties, baking - it’s all in a day’s work for Cassie. As Cassie starts to really enjoy herself you can’t help but get caught up in the Christmas excitement along with her!
Unexpectedly my favourite thing about this book was Cassie’s partner Jim’s chapters. Jim is a kind and gentle soul whose meagre wage as a prison officer at a young offenders unit stretches to support both him and Cassie. Although their financial situation means that they live in a small flat and haven’t been able to get married or have children yet Jim would do anything in his power for Cassie and you see that time and time again through his actions. Jim was such a lovely bloke and he quickly became my favourite character.
Jim’s warmth and kindness also extends to two of the teenage boys in his care Rozzer and Smudge. The boys haven’t had the best start in life and Jim provides them with the chance to prove themselves as well as being a role model for the lads to look up to. Whilst Cassie’s chapters deal with the food and decorations and gifts, Jim’s chapters deal with the true meaning of Christmas tackling themes of taking care of those less fortunate than ourselves and appreciating our lot in life.
The only thing that stopped this book from being a perfect five star read for me was Cassie! She really started to annoy me towards the middle of the book, I felt like she became very selfish and ungrateful. It all went towards her character development though and so although at times I wanted to shake some sense into her I did make my peace with her by the end of the book.
I closed Calling Mrs Christmas with a big smile on my face, a tear in my eye, and that lovely heart-warming Christmassy feeling. Although everything was wrapped up nicely by the end of the book I feel like there is definitely room for a sequel – I’d love more from these characters and to find out what happens to them next! This year I have fast become a new Carole Matthews fan and I absolutely cannot wait for her next novel A Place to Call Home to be released next year!