"All Lydia's ever wanted is a perfect Christmas...
So when her oldest friends invite her to spend the holidays with them, it seems like a dream come true. She's been promised log fires, roasted chestnuts, her own weight in mince pies - all in a setting that looks like something out of a Christmas card.
But her winter wonderland is ruined when she finds herself snowed in with her current boyfriend, her old flame and a hunky stranger. Well, three (wise) men is traditional at this time of year..."
I am a huge fan of Christmas novels, I love the cheesiness of them, the stories, the settings, they're fab. In fact, Christmas novels are some of the only ones I keep on my bookshelves as I like to come back to them again and again. It's even better when you get a debut author as you don't know what you're going to get, and when I received a copy of Scarlett Bailey's debut book As I said, I was really pleased when it arrived on my doorstep, and despite the fact Christmas is still a few months away, I couldn't resist getting stuck in! It was a fantastic read, and if Bailey's book continue in this vein, then it is going to be a successful writing career because I for one loved it!
The best thing about this book is the fact that it is a Christmas book that is actually set at Christmas. I've read quite a few books in the past with Christmas covers and titles that are slightly mis-leading in that they aren't actually all that festive once you start reading, going back to the summer or being set over a whole year so just the beginning and/or end are the Christmassy part. But this one is set over the few days before Christmas, in a beautiful old country house with some great characters and it really was a joy to read - one I am sure I'll reread over the real festive season actually. Bailey hasn't gone too overboard with the Christmas feeling, but there is just enough description in there to make you know its a Christmassy book, and to give you a bit of a warm glow when you're reading!
The main character is Lydia, who seems to be happily in a relationship with her boyfriend. I really liked Lydia, she was a woman who was quite afraid of commitment despite having a loving boyfriend, but I really liked her anyway. Some of the things she does in the book are a little bit questionable and I wondered exactly what she thought she was doing to be honest!! However, in spite of these controversial choices, she's a nice character and I really enjoyed the way the book followed her. I really did want Lydia to have a happy ending, and although this seems unlikely throughout the book, I had my fingers crossed for her! There are quite a few other characters though, because of the fact it's a group of friends coming together at Christmas, but they were easy to follow and there was just enough of them to create some good stories without being many for the reader to handle.
I really enjoyed the fact that I actually liked the stories of the other characters as well as Lydia's. Quite often in a book with lots of characters, they can all blend into one and become a bit blurred, so that not only can you not keep up, but you consequently don't care about them either. This so wasn't the case for this book. I loved how she covered Alex's pregnancy and its pitfalls at Christmas (no drinking!!) and how her husband mollycoddles her, the disintegrating relationship between the hosts Katie and her husband, and the newly developing one between her other friends Janie and . There is a bit of a twist with Janie's new boyfriend, and I liked how this was done in the book, with its funny moments but also more serious things too. It just added up to making for a great read with lots going on at all times, and it really did keep me hooked.
If you love Christmas chick lit that actually takes place at Christmas, then look no further than picking up a copy of Scarlett Bailey's new novel The Night Before Christmas! For a debut book, it's really well written with a great cast, a wonderful setting and I really wasn't sure how things were going to pan out because of the multiple problems Lydia manages to create for herself! I really enjoyed every page of this book, and really didn't want to put it down, I was so keen to find out what was going to happen next. It's an extremely enjoyable book, and a fantastic debut that I am sure will do very well in the festive fiction market! I definitely recommend The Night Before Christmas, so look out for it now the cold winter nights are drawing in!
You can buy The Night Before Christmas in paperback or on eBook/Kindle