Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Review of The Magic of Christmas by Trisha Ashley

** What's it about **

In the pretty Lancashire village of Middlemoss, Lizzy is on the verge of leaving her cheating husband, Tom, when tragedy strikes. Luckily she has welcome distraction in the Christmas Pudding Circle, a group of friends swapping seasonal recipes – as well as a rivalry with local cookery writer Nick over who will win Best Mince Pie at the village show…

Meanwhile, the whole village is gearing up for the annual Boxing Day Mystery Play. But who will play Adam to Lizzy’s Eve? Could it be the handsome and charismatic soap actor Ritch, or could someone closer to home win her heart? Whatever happens, it promises to be a Christmas to remember!

Previously published as Sweet Nothings, Trisha has extensively reworked the original novel with fabulous new extra material.

** What I thought of it **

I'm sorry to say that I struggled with this book.  The cover is so festive and named 'The Magic of Christmas' I really thought this was going to be the ultimate festive read.  Most of the book isn't set a Christmas time, but reference is made to the Christmas Pudding Club.  It gets vaguely Christmassy towards the end, but for me it just wasn't all that festive.

I didn't love it, and I have to say that I struggled to concentrate (something that I don't usually have a problem with when it comes to reading for fun!).  I found it a bit too much like hard work, and having finished it, I just don't feel any love for the characters.  Throughout reading, I felt disconnected - I didn't love anyone, I wasn't rooting for anyone and I didn't really seem to care what happened. 

I also found parts of the storyline frustrating, as I felt the main character would have reacted far more than she actually did.  There are also quite a lot of characters to get your head around, and if you don't feel that connection, sometimes it is a little difficult to remember who is who.  There's a fair amount of background information too - I wasn't engrossed enough to feel this was necessary and often found my eyes flicking over it to get to the more interesting bits!

On the plus side, it isn't just your standard chick-lit.  This book does deal with domestic violence, unhappy marriages, death and empty-nest syndrome.  I certainly wouldn't say Trisha Ashley is a bad writer, I'd be interested in checking out her other books, which are highly praised, this one just wasn't for me - Sorry Trisha!

(I hadn't read Sweet Nothings so can't comment on how reworked it is - I suggest you take a look at Amazon where people have read both and can comment on this matter!)

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