"A Christmas fling, or has Janie found the real thing? Thirty-something hairdresser Janie Johnson's single status is a constant source of gossip for her friends and clients. So after too many nights in with her cat, a blind date disaster and news that her ex is getting married, Janie realises it's time to do something dramatic with her life. It's time for an adventure! Leaving winter behind, Janie takes the plunge and books an exotic trip to Africa. Her friends think she's mad and Janie thinks they may very well be right ...but then she falls head over heels for her tour guide - and fully fledged Maasai Warrior - Dominic. But can Janie now face spending a snowy Christmas back home without him?"This is my first Carole Matthews read in a while, and I have to say I was very impressed when it came through my door! I opened up the parcel and it was wrapped in a beautiful red christmas ribbon, and it really gave the book a special feel. I love the cover of the book, with the lovely wintery scene, red writing and silver theme, and think that will certainly make it a successful festive read. What I found inside was a complete surprise - instead of a sweet wintery tale set in a twee English village, our heroin ends up travelling halfway across the world to African plains, not something I have ever encountered in chick lit before but was quite excited to give it a go and see where the story would take me.
I have to say that while I initially liked the character of Janie, I felt she lost the plot a bit once she met the sudden love of her life, Dominic, a Maasai warrior. Despite feeling at home that she was never going to love anyone ever again, she suddenly fell head over heels for this man that she didn't know, and more importantly lived halfway across the world from. I felt that part of the story was a bit too over the top for me,Janie went completely obsessive about this man, and the numerous references to "my Maasai warrior" started to really grate after a while. I also really didn't like some of her actions in trying to get out to Africa for Christmas, and it made for uncomfortable reading at times because I really couldn't believe she would go through with things just to see a man she's known for a few days before.
I do have to commend Matthews for her writing of the African plains. You can tell she has been out to the country and really researched it enough to write about it in a believable way. Everything she wrote on the page, from the scenery to the animals to Dominic and his Maasai ways was incredibly real, and I had no problem picturing these things in my mind, so it was really a nice read in that respect. It's a shame that the main character had to be a bit too mad for my liking. However, I will say that I loved Dominic and how he was written by Matthews - a very sweet, kind-hearted man who was literally like a fish out of water for most of the book. He was my favourite character, and Janie's best friend Nina was my leat favourite, a bitter and not nice woman determined to ruin her friend's new relationship with Dominic because of her distrust with men. I really didn't like this part, and wondered why Janie couldn't be honest with Nina about her feelings towards her and her hideous husband Gerry.
Overall, this was a pleasant enough read but I just felt the story between Janie and Dominic was a little bit contrived and Janie's obsession with him just felt really childish as I was reading, and I was struggling to read on at times because I wanted to give Janie a bit of a slap! However, I felt the parts set in Africa were a joy to read and I thoroughly enjoyed all of those. There wasn't actually that much about Christmas in the book really, it was more of a side story but that didn't seem to matter as it wasn't the focus of the story anyway. Overall though, it was a pleasant read and nice way to spend the cold evenings, although I hope Matthews' heroines in future won't be quite so childish and obsessive, as I really found Janie grated right on my nerves!
You can buy Wrapped Up In You in paperback and on eBook/Kindle