7 November 2011
Book Review: Home For Christmas by Cally Taylor
Beth Prince has always loved fairytales and now, aged twenty-four, she feels like she's finally on the verge of her own happily ever after. She lives by the seaside, works in the Picturebox - a charming but rundown independent cinema - and has a boyfriend who's so debonair and charming she can't believe her luck! There's just one problem - none of her boyfriends have ever told her they love her and it doesn't look like Aiden's going to say it any time soon. Desperate to hear 'I love you' for the first time Beth takes matters into her own hands - and instantly wishes she hadn't. Just when it seems like her luck can't get any worse, bad news arrives in the devilishly handsome shape of Matt Jones. Matt is the regional director of a multiplex cinema and he's determined to get his hands on the Picturebox by Christmas. Can Beth keep her job, her man and her home or is her romantic-comedy life about to turn into a disaster movie?
This is Cally Taylor's second novel, and I was really pleased to see that this time Cally is attempting a festive read. I think the cover is really stunning, and will certainly attract a lot of chick lit lovers to pick up the book, and possibly those who wouldn't usually go for this genre too! I adored Cally's debut novel Heaven Can Wait, and it was quite possibly by read of the year 2009, so I had high hopes for this one too. Luckily what I got was a heart-warming and touching tale of love, Christmas and what can happen when you really, really want something badly in your heart! Everything about this book was lovely, from the characters, to the descriptions of the wonderful old Picturebox cinema... I really wish I had one of those in my town instead of a big chain cinema! There isn't that much Christmas-related stuff in it but somehow it doesn't seem to matter, you're just swept up in the moment that when it does appear, it's lovely!
First of all, I have to say how much I love the name of the old-fashioned cinema within this book... Picturebox! It seems to fit the idea of it perfectly, and I thought it was just so charming I had to mention it! Beth Prince is the book's lead character, and I really, really loved Beth. Unlike a lot of female characters in chick lit I have read lately, there was nothing I didn't like about Beth whatsoever. She was hard-working, kind, passionate and just an all-round nice girl. It just happens her boyfriend is a bit of a pig, and she's not having much luck in her job at the moment either. However, I loved the way she handled carious situations, from showing her ex-boyfriend up in front of everyone who matters to trying her best to save her beloved cinema although she is sure it's a fruitless challenge. I also love how Taylor wrote the relationship between Beth and Matt, the main male character of the book - it's so sweet and touching and I really enjoying reading how things slowly develop between the pair. However, I must mention Beth's awful mother... god what a woman! She did make for some good reading though I have to say!
I also really liked the character Matt, a man who works for the big chain company trying to take over the lovely little Picturebox despite his heart telling him not to do it. Cally Taylor actually took an unusual step and chose to write alternating chapters with different narratives, so we had one or two with Beth, and following that was a chapter or two by Matt. It really enabled us to see another side to Matt, one that Beth couldn't properly see and so it was a joy to read because I kept wondering how long it would take Beth to realise what was really going on with Matt. He was a great male character and I highly enjoyed his chapters - he was a really caring guy and the scenes between he and his grandfather were so touching. There weren't that many characters in the book really, but they weren't need because the story revolved so much around Beth and Matt that anyone else really just fell by the wayside.
I really liked how Cally Taylor really got behind her characters in this book. They felt very real, and as I was reading about them, I found myself really caring about them because they such nice people. I found the story surrounding the Picturebox and it's impending take-over was very well written as well, it seemed like Beth's fight was going to be in vain then suddenly you're thrown off in another direction with the story and it was constantly moving, which was great as it really kept my interest throughout. Although the magical element that was present within Heaven Can Wait wasn't to be found in this book, I didn't find it lacking without it at all, and I don't know how the book would have been improved with it being added in either. Cally Taylor's writing is great, very readable and totally draws you into the book, and I was hooked from the first page to the last - I found myself ploughing through it relatively quickly because I wanted to find out how things would end up for Beth and for the Picturebox! If you want a cosy and enjoyable festive read, then you can't go far wrong with Home for Christmas. It's a wonderful read that warmed my heart, and kept me wanting to read more. Fantastic!
You can buy Home For Christmas in paperback and on Kindle (links go to Amazon)