24 December 2016
Book Review: The Christmas Promise by Sue Moorcroft
On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones.
Times are tough for Ava – she’s struggling to make ends meet, her ex-boyfriend is a bully, and worst of all, it’s nearly Christmas.
So when Sam commissions Ava to make a hat for someone special, she makes a promise that will change her life. She just doesn’t know it yet…"
This is the first book I have read from author Sue Moorcroft, and I loved the fact it was a Christmas story! The cover for this book is beautiful, really festive, and made me excited to dive in and start reading This story is about Ava Bliss, who works as a milliner, or hatmaker to you and me. Her business has been a bit slow, so when her friends boss Sam comes into her life and commissions a special hat for Christmas, the pair strike up a friendship. When Sam asks her to do him a favour in the run-up to Christmas, Ava agrees, but doesn't quite realise what she's letting herself in for...
I have to admit, the art of hat making is something I know nothing about (unsurprisingly), so it was fascinating to read more about this particular skill throughout the book. I loved Ava's passion for her work, you could tell she was really proud of her skills of making beautiful hats, and Moorcroft does go into some detail about the work which was great to read. I liked the process too of Ava making the special hat for a present - it was fun to read how it all comes about, especially for the very deserving character who would be receiving the gift.
I will be honest and say that I did find the book a bit slow going at first, and I did get a little bit confused about the many characters thrown at me in the first few chapters. I lost track a bit, and it took me a little while to get into it and really get the characters down. Once I had done though, it was fun reading, and the characters all pop up regularly throughout the book, as they move through Ava's life. Her friendships are obviously very dear to her, as she doesn't appear to have much of a relationship with her parents who live in France. So when Sam comes on the scene, Ava is happy to make a new friend, but nothing more.
Sam was a fantastic character to read about - a perfect gentleman towards Ava, and the special relationship he has with his mother was so beautiful to read. There were scenes in here that moved me to tears, because the emotion of it all became so much, Moorcroft writes these parts so realistically. It's a harsh reality that illness can strike anyone at any time, but the way this was tackled throughout the book was beautifully done. There is another very important issue woven throughout this book involving Ava and her awful ex-boyfriend. He is holding something over her, and threatening to ruin her life with it, and I hated him for that. It's the lowest of the low, and while it was a horrible storyline to read, it highlights a very important and current issue.
I really enjoyed the festive feeling in this book, especially as Ava and Sam prepare to spend Christmas together to help honour their promise to someone special. Although it is a festive read, it isn't a hugely light and fluffy read. There's some serious stuff going on in this book, but I was completely absorbed by it, hoping for a good outcome for Ava and Sam, they both deserved it. I loved the different friendships within the book, although I did find one of Ava's friends a bit odd (Izz), and the importance of surrounding yourself by people who love you, especially at Christmas. This was a really well written and enjoyable book, and I am pleased that I persevered after the slow and confusing start! A lovely novel I can definitely recommend.