Everyone adores Christmas . . .
Especially Lizzy Kingham. But this year, she is feeling unloved and under-appreciated by her family. The present-buying, decorating and food shopping have all been left to her. So she wonders … what would happen if she ran away and left them to it?
Lizzy heads to her favourite place: a beach hut on the golden sands of Everdene. There she meets an unlikely collection of new friends, all running away from something. But the spirit of Christmas gets under Lizzy’s skin: soon the fairy lights are twinkling and the scent of mulled wine mingles with the sea air.
Back at Pepperpot Cottage, her family are desperate to find her. For Christmas isn’t Christmas without Lizzy. Can they track her down in time and convince her she means the world to them, every day of the year?
I really enjoyed this book and I think I will give it to my mum to read as I think that she’ll enjoy it too. This book was a 3.5 star read for me which I rounded to a 3 star rating. This book reminded me so much of Christmas episodes of soaps or dramas where there’s a stressed mum who threatens to leave their ungrateful family, and let them sort out themselves for Christmas, but never does. Well, Lizzy did just that.
I live in Aberdeen and it’s been really cold, I cannot imagine going to the beach at this time of year. This book made staying at a beach hut in December sound pleasant! The bits with the beach walks sounded so lovely, despite knowing it would be so cold and windy that it would burn. This gave me a fun beach experience but I have no plans to go to the beach myself for a few months.
I completely supported Lizzy and her decision to leave her family to put up their own tree and make their meal-with the food she’d ordered. The poor woman asked for just one ritual to be upheld but was let down by every member of her immediate family. This was so sad, especially since she’d been having a very tough time which her family knew about.
Lizzy’s family were really ungrateful and inept. Her children were 17 yet incapable of setting an alarm…didn’t we all master the art of getting up back in primary school? Lizzy was obsessed with having the perfect Christmas yet seemed to be dealing with this all by herself. Her husband failed to tell her that his mother would be joining them on Christmas Day. Lizzy very fairly pointed out that this was a lot of work as she’d need to ensure that the mother in law had a Christmas stocking, the guest room made up, other food may be required…this was pretty rubbish of her husband who probably should have a. Told his wife and b. Sorted everything out for his mum because it was last minute.
I thought Lizzy’s character development was really enjoyable. At the start of the book she was just. Little downtrodden while pleasant, by the end she was so strong and determined. It was delightful to read about her taking time for herself and growing during this time. Despite taking time for herself, she used this time to help two other families by just being a good friend. I thought the Harley was a sweet kid, forced to grow up too soon though. I really enjoyed his relationship with his mum and brother. Jack and Nat seemed to just come out of nowhere but this tied into my whole ‘I like Christmas books that are basically Hallmark films’ thing.
This book gave me found family vibes which I love in a book. I actually really wanted this found family to just go on together and forget about the husband and kids…but this would have probably made for a rubbish Christmassy book.
This book threw in some totally unrealistic romances but this was ok because this was a festive book. Unrealistic romances don’t annoy me in a festive read as they feel right. I think I’d have been disappointed had this book not included any festive romance.
If you want a story about a mum who tells her family to do it themselves, then goes off to have an absolutely lovely Christmas time, then i recommend this book. It was sweet and fun and very quick to read. I probably won’t read it again but I will drop it off at the charity shop and pick up another festive read for next year.