I'm pleased to report that Robin and I enjoyed a tremendous Christmas and New Year break; we spent a week with his family in Devon, and a week back here in the North East with mine. We've been utterly spoiled in terms of Christmas gifts - we now have an amazing set of cerise Le Creuset cookware, and some lovely fluffy towels for our bathroom.
Anyhow, I'm going to break with blogging tradition here and post something not strictly about the new year (I will be posting resolutions etc, I'm just working with a backlog!). Instead I'm going to post a review of sorts; one which covers our break, and a lovely book sent to me by the folks at Mills & Boon.
Read about it after the jump!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -I mentioned in my last post that Robin and I were travelling to the West Country for Christmas, just before we embarked upon our journey I received a lovely parcel in the post containing a new title from Mills & Boon; Kiss Me Under the Mistletoe by Fiona Harper. It arrived at the right time, because I didn't have any reading planned for the lengthy journey ahead, and I was itching for something to get me in that Christmassy mood.
Be warned, this is where I do a little bit of ranting -- Anyone who lives in the UK and watches the news will have seen pictures of the horrific flooding which hit the country over the winter break, so with this in mind we were aware the journey would be a difficult one before we even left our flat. Bear with me and try to picture the scene; we ended up crammed onto a train (which had a seating capacity of 250) with 500 people and no seat reservations, luggage lined the aisles and destroyed all hope of reaching the toilets or food trolley, the train stood still (in the dark and pouring rain) between stations for hours with no announcements or explanations from staff... it was stuffy, uncomfortable and stressful. Unfortunately it didn't get any better when we finally managed to disembark after seven hours (not even at our final destination, I might add); think that scene in War of the Worlds where a crowd of angry people is trying to get on a ferry... yeah, that. We were lucky to have family living close enough to rescue us from the random train station we ended up at. It certainly wasn't the way we wanted to start our holiday, and it certainly wasn't very Christmassy.
Imagine my delight then, at opening this book on the train, and finding that it was not only about Christmas, but about Devon. It could not have been more perfect. The team at Mills & Boon weren't aware of my holiday plans, so it was just happy coincidence that the story was so apt. This novel turned out to be somewhat of a savouir throughout an otherwise unbearable journey; I was so absorbed that I didn't fret at all about where we would end up or how we would spend the night should we get stranded (I left the worrying up to Bob, poor chap). I was - on the whole - quite pleasantly oblivious to the chaos unfolding around me. That's the great thing about a good book though; it's a sanctuary. Nothing could have eliminated the annoyance we both felt when we finally arrived at our destination, but having devoured this book on the way I also felt incredibly excited about the festive days ahead. The novel was perfect in tone, striking a great balance between being well written, exciting and easy reading. A wonderful combination for something to read whilst travelling.
Books that remain in your mind are often ones read in specific, memorable circumstances; it's not just about the book itself, but about where you are, who you're with, how you feel when you're reading it. There are hundreds of books that I love, but few stick inside my head in this way (one I can recall right now is Robert Heinlein's The Puppet Masters: read in one sitting, laying in the grass with my dog, in the park down the street from my house. It was the most beautiful and relaxing day, and I'll think of it every time I come across that book). Kiss Me Under the Mistletoe will certainly become one of these memorable books for me, and I'm sure I will return to it next Christmas when searching for my festive fix, and remember how comforting it was when I first read it.
Thank you to Mills & Boon for sending me this novel; very much enjoyed, as you can tell!
What books and/or films do you come back to every Christmas to 'get you in the mood'? Could you recommend something for me to read now that the festive period is pretty much over? I'd like to try and avoid the January blues...
Click here to buy Kiss Me Under the Mistletoe by Fiona Harper on the Mills & Boon website.