“‘Your heart just exploded,’ Flora announced taking the stethoscope off his chest. ‘You’re dead now.’“
Kate Forster ~ Christmas at Cranberry Cross
No one loves Christmas more than editorial assistant Eve Pilkins.
But when her boss hits her with a huge deadline on Christmas Day, it looks like Eve’s favourite time of the year might be cancelled. Armed with as much enthusiasm as she can muster, she travels to the coldest part of England, tasked with ensuring brooding author Edward Priest finishes his latest novel on time.
The festive spirit is at Cranberry Cross is as dark as the house itself, without a fairy light in sight looks like only a Christmas miracle can save this one, will Eve be up to the task?
Cute, cosy and super depressing. In fact this book isn’t very Christmassy at all, apart from taking place in December.
It’s a quick read and in general I liked the story, which covered some important topics – not least that Christmas can be tough for families – but as it’s pitched as a fuzzy romance that’s what I expected. Instead, the book deals with alcoholism, child neglect, bullying, toxic workplaces and depression.
Personally I prefer a book with more depth and drama, but the writing was pretty poor and there were a fair few spelling mistakes. The author prefers to use the word ‘also’ at the end of a sentence, which is one of my pet hates.
The children were great characters and the way Eve was with them was heart-warming, although quite unrealistic. Her initial behaviour with Edward was appalling; even if he was acting like a selfish, arrogant person, she had no right to speak to him as she did. Eve’s mother Donna was excellent – perhaps a bit too ‘nice’ – but her attitude and approach to parenting made a good contrast to Edward and Amber.
The author is clearly a big reader, using elements from The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre to tell her story, but it didn’t quite work, especially the dramatic Edward v Bertha (Amber) showdown. The last chapter was unnecessary and felt forced, especially as it covered several years in a few pages, whereas the ‘found family’ ending was much stronger.
It’s not entirely awful – and almost tugs on the heartstring – but isn’t quite the cosy, Christmas read I was expecting from the synopsis.
Thanks to Head of Zeus for my copy. Opinions my own.