I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Christmas at Thornton Hall by Lynn Marie Hulsman
Published by Harper Impulse
Published on 12.12.2013
Genres: chick lit
Buy on amazon.co.uk or Buy on amazon.com
When Juliet Hill unwittingly discovers a most-definitely-not-hers-rhinestone-studded lace thong in her high-flying lawyer boyfriend’s apartment, this usually feisty chef is suddenly single and facing a very blue Christmas – with only a ready meal for one to keep her company!
So when she’s personally requested to cater for the family at Thornton Hall three days before Christmas, it’s not long before Juliet’s standing at the (back) door of the Earl of Gloucester’s impossibly grand ancestral pile.
The halls are decked, the guests are titled, those below the stairs are delightfully catty, and all-American Juliet sets to work cooking up a glorious British Christmas with all the trimmings.
But other flames are burning besides those on the stove… Sparks fly with Edward, the gorgeous ex-soldier turned resident chef, and are those sidelong looks Juliet’s getting from her boss, the American tycoon Jasper Roth?
As the snow starts to fall on the idyllic Cotswolds countryside, so does the veneer of genteel high society and there are more than a few ancient skeletons rattling out of the Hall’s numerous dark cupboards!
CHRISTMAS AT THORNTON HALL is a country house rom com for the modern age, a must-read for fans of the scandals and drama of Downton Abbey and the charm and wit of Helen Fielding.
Reviewing this book will not be easy. To be quite frank I really have no idea even where to start. I feel slightly disappointed because the start was very very promising.
Juliet Hill is a chef, a mighty good one actually. She’s been offered a fab last minute offer to work at Thornton Hall, but she thinks she needs to decline because she’s planning on spending Christmas with her wonderful boyfriend. The only thing is, her boyfriend is not wonderful, actually he’s a cheating son a bitch. Looks like she won’t be spending Christmas (or rest of the life) with him after all, so nothing is stopping her to accept the generous offer (big bonus included) from her agency and Jasper Roth and go to Thornton Hall to assist their permanent chef, Edward. But it’s not the first time she’s meeting that family and their staff, and she’s feeling lots of drama will happen. And she’s damn right.
Now I come to the part when I need to explain all the pro’s and con’s, and it’s not gonna be easy. Well, for a start, I really tried to understand the MC, but Juliet seems too indecisive for me. I loved her at the beginning, honestly she’s the classic chick lit character, with a fucked up life but willing to start again. I absolutely loved the first 15-20% of the book, and if I could rate solemnly on reading those pages, I’d say this book deserves 10 stars! I laughed, I found Juliet fun and funny, especially her reactions when she finds out her boyfriend is cheating. BUT then she goes to Thornton Hill and all of a sudden I felt like she stopped being so fun. Maybe the fact I was introduced to soooo many new characters at such a short time didn’t help either. I know the idea of the author was to show each of the staff working in Thornton Hall, but really guys, it all just seemed a bit too overwhelming for me. I admit, I had difficulties remembering their names, their characteristics, positions in the household etc. I’m pretty sure I would enjoy it more if I was given more time to get to know them, meaning if they were introduced in the book step by step, or if it weren’t so many of them. Or maybe the problem was the pacing. I do love fast paced books, but I think things were moving too fast for me to actually feel all these personalities (and there are so many of them).
Another thing which honestly is a big no-no for me in every book, are the triangles, and here we have couple of them. It all seemed too much for me and I think just burdened the story. They were unnecessary and just made the MC seem like a very lost character.
BUT on a lighter note, it’s a debut and I’m sure Lynn Marie’s other books will be better. Her writing style is fresh and she did intrigue me enough with this book (twists I didn’t expect), which is good obviously. I did laugh on few places and there were some very fun and interesting situations the MC gets into. If you’re a sucker for fun, festive read you should definitely give it a try. As for Lynn Marie’s future books, I will definitely be on a watch our for them. I have a feeling she’s putting all her heart in writing, and that’s certainly a thing I really appreciate the most.