Everyone loves Christmas – don’t they?
Carrie Blake loves her job as a nanny but, while her friends are settling down, all of Carrie’s spare time is spent with other people’s families. Though it breaks her heart, her New Year’s resolution is to embark on a new career and fix her love life.
As Carrie starts her last job, she’s sure she’ll be going out on a high – the house is amazing , the kids are adorable, and she’s in charge of decorating the tree!
The only problem could be her boss… single-dad Adam Fletcher might be both handsome and successful, but he’s always working. Doesn’t he realise he’s missing out on precious moments with his son and daughter?
As Adam’s family arrive for Christmas including his sensitive sister, Sharon, and his fun-loving elderly Grandpa, Walter, Carrie realises that she might just have found the perfect allies in her quest to persuade Adam to loosen up. There’s still time for Carrie to make this the best Christmas ever… after all, Christmas is the time for miracles, isn’t it? Let the festivities begin!
Many of you may have read my recent review for Jenny Hale’s Love Me For Me, and know that I very swiftly became Jenny Hale’s number one fan. I therefore couldn’t wait to get stuck into her new Christmas book, but it also meant I was a little nervous, because I knew I was expecting so much from it, that it could easily be disappointing.
Luckily, within the first few pages, any worries and doubts I had melted away as the familiar warmth wrapped it’s arms up around me, and I sunk into the novel. She’s done it again. This book was everything a Christmas book should be. It’s a beautiful story about the importance of family, falling in love and the magic of childhood. It reminded a little of a sort-of modern day, Christmassy, Sound of Music – one of my favourite films. It had that familiar feel-good comfort and warmth to it, and is similarly something I’m sure I will re-read time and time again in Christmases to come.
Carrie has always loved her life as a live-in nanny, but it means she has put her own hopes of a family on hold. In her own life, therefore, she is a very insecure woman. When it comes to the children, however, she knows what’s right and she’ll do whatever it takes to stand up for their best interests. Having struggled with insecurities all my life, I really connected to Carrie, and that made me all the more proud of her in the moments she found courage. I really thought she blossomed as the book progressed, and I couldn’t help but glow with pride for her.
Then we meet the Fletcher family, and I fell in love with every member in turn. The twins are absolute darlings, you couldn’t help but fall for them just as Carrie does. They’re sweet, innocent and well-behaved, just crying out for love and affection, and it’s wonderful to see them interact with Carrie and the members of their family with the beautiful innocence of childhood. As you meet Adam’s mother Joyce, sister Sharon, and the rest of his family, you fall in love with each of them too. Each is a wonderfully created character, bringing their own beauty to the story, and making Adam’s behaviour seem all the more curious. Who wouldn’t want to spend every moment possible with this wonderful, loving family?
Adam himself was a great character. He’s successful, gorgeous and obviously kind, but mysterious and frustrating too. He confused me as much as he did Carrie! The moments when Carrie stands up to him about the children were some of my favourites; you knew how uncomfortable she would usually be in such a situation, so it really showed how passionate she was about what she does, and how important the children are to her – always coming before her own insecurities. It was a beautiful transition to see her slowly chipping away at the stone walls Adam had built around himself, but you couldn’t stop wondering if he’d ever let them fall down completely.
It’s a truly heart-warming story, full of lovely, touching moments. As before, Jenny keeps you guessing as to the outcome right until the end. I won’t lie, the last couple of chapters had me in bits, but the ending is perfect.
Another truly stunning book from Jenny Hale; perfect for a cozy evening in front of a fire, wrapped up in a blanket with a hot chocolate in one hand and this book in the other, that’ll I’ll be pulling off the shelves at Christmas for years to come.