This Christmas is about to go off with a bang!
Things can’t possibly get worse for Tabby. Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, she suddenly finds herself without a job. Then to make matters worse, Tabby’s boyfriend dumps her and gives her cat away to a shelter.
But rescue comes in the form of kindly Mercy. A master of saving waifs and strays, Mercy wants Tabby to breathe new flair into her ailing cracker business. Together, they’ll save Marwood’s Magical Christmas Crackers.
But someone has other ideas. Mercy’s nephew Randal thinks Tabby’s a fraudster. Stubborn, difficult and very attractive, her future depends upon winning him round. But it’s that time of the year when miracles really can happen. Standing under the mistletoe, Tabby’s Christmas is set to be one that she will never forget . . .
* Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Holly-days are here again!’
Yup, it’s the season to be jolly! NO? Yes if you’re a book blogger, and honestly I wouldn’t want it any other way. If it’s up to me, I’d have no problem in reading Christmas books all year round and you know why? Because no matter how ugly things are in the story, they always turn out for the better, or there’s a wonderful happy ending you felt coming but are still having tears in your eyes when you read about it. Christmas books don’t just get you in the festive spirit, they show you there’s hope and magic, always sharing timeless precious pearls of wisdom.
This year, there are just so many wonderful Christmas books being released, I’m seriously contemplating not sleeping at all (Ok, 2 hours a day only) so I can manage to read them all. One of the most anticipated Christmas reads this year was Trisha Ashley’s ‘A Christmas Cracker’. Twitter’s already buzzing about it for weeks and everyone’s eager to grab a copy. Well, time has come, it’s its official release day and if you’re a sucker for a feel-good story, by all means head to amazon without waiting a minute further.
It’s been a while since I’ve read Ms Ashley book and boy, did it feel good to be back to her words. In a way, it feels rather different to what I’ve read so far, the heroine is not your typical women’s fiction heroine and there’s a Christmas cracker factory involved. I mean, how unique and awesome is this?
I was so surprised and really had no idea where the story might go, as the MC, Tabby is sent to prison at the very beginning of the book. I won’t lie, I started having second thoughts about the book… would it actually be my thing?
I didn’t need to worry as everything started to make perfect sense later and turned out to be an enjoyable read. Tabby is set up, she’s convicted for fraud, set up by her employer and stabbed in the back by someone she thought was her friend. Despite the crime she committed not being too severe, she ends up in prison to be ‘taught a lesson’. She spends 8 months, last couple of them in an open prison where she meets Mercy, who’s the kindest, sweetest old lady who’s willing to help her out. While being in prison, Tabby’s boyfriend leaves her, packs up all her stuff and even gets rid of Tabby’s cat she was so attached to. Tabby has no place to go, no job or money, and certainly being an ex prisoner convicted of fraud doesn’t make her the candidate of the year for any working position. But god does have Mercy (see what I did there?) and once she’s out of prison she’s off to work as Mercy’s PA helping her modernize her family’s business.
Mercy’s estate is very close to where her mother grew up, so in a way she’s so happy to be back. Despite being welcomed by other’s living on the farm and forgetting she ever was in prison, she meets Mercy’s nephew Randal who’s there to remind her of her past and who has plans so different from those of Mercy and Tabby.
As I said, I was rather surprised with the opening of the book, it even took me some while to realize Tabby’s sent to prison. It just happened so soon! Because I didn’t get to see more of her relationship with her fiance or with her friends prior to prison, I did have troubles with feeling her as a character. This did bother me slightly. But once Tabby meets Mercy, we really get to see so many sides of her, and by this I mean the wonderful human side, her generosity and wish to help others as well as her creativity. I was pretty impressed in how much she achieved in such a short time.
Randal was tough to connect to. I don’t think I totally warmed up to him, but maybe I just felt overprotective of Tabby. However, my favorite character is definitely Mercy! She’s the grandmother, aunt, mother everyone would be happy to have. She’s seen the world but values homely things and is the real Samaritan in the story. I wish there were more people like Mercy in real life, someone who’d give you a hand when you fall, someone who’d give you a second chance when no one else wants to do it. In my opinion, she’s the real star of the book! I got so attached to her, I was so so sad when I finished this book.
Overall, this was an enjoyable, feel-good read I read in one single sitting. The pace might be slower, especially at the beginning which definitely influenced my rating, but once Tabby’s at the farm things pick up and you get hooked. There’s many interesting characters, the workers from the farm and the members of the community, and the setting is just amazing. It might not be the typical festive read, but there’s a fair share of Christmas magic involved. Do I recommend it? Yes! Grab a cup of hot choc, or if you’re not into choc like me, grab a cup of nice, strong tea and enjoy this lovely tale of magic, friendship and romance.
My rating: 7/10