21 January 2017

Book Review: Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market by Heidi Swain

"Christmas has arrived in the town of Wynbridge and it promises mince pies, mistletoe and a whole host of seasonal joy.

Ruby has finished with university and is heading home for the holidays to save up for her trip around the world in January. Against her father’s wishes, she takes on a stall at the local market, and sets about making it the best Christmas market stall ever. There’ll be bunting and mistletoe and maybe even a bit of mulled wine.

But with a new retail park just opened on their doorstep, the market is under threat. So together with all the other stallholders, Ruby devises a plan to make sure that Wynbridge is the first port of call for everyone’s Christmas shopping needs.

The only thing standing in her way is Ruby’s ex, Steve. It’s pretty hard to concentrate on saving the world when he works on the stall opposite, especially when she realises that her feelings for him are still there…"

Rating: 5/5

Another book I really enjoyed reading this Christmas was Heidi Swain's latest book, with one of the longest book titles I've seen in a while, Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market. The book sees the return of some characters from Heidi's previous books, both of which I have read, 'The Cherry Tree Café' and 'Summer at Skylark Farm'. However, you don't need to have read these books to enjoy this one, and I certainly do recommend you do read this if you get the chance!

Ruby has finished her course at University, and is heading back home to Wynbridge, and her parents home. She's determined to save some money so she can go and travel the world in the New Year, and so takes a job working at the local market in the run-up to Christmas, even though her father really doesn't want her to. She thinks the job will be quite easy, so when it turns out she has to help save the market from certain closure, Ruby finds herself working harder than she ever dreamt of. Put that together with running into a blast from her past, Ruby's Christmas is certainly going to be one to remember...

What I really loved about this book was how the town pulls together in a time of need, to pool their ideas, to turn up to the events created to help save their community, and the fact that everyone works together, from the young children through to the town's OAPs. It was really heart-warming and I really enjoyed reading it from beginning to end.The market in Wynbridge sounded charming, especially with all the special things put on by the market stall holders, and it sounds exactly the sort of place I would love to go and do my Christmas shopping, especially from Ruby's stall!

Throughout the book, there was a bit of a mystery involving Ruby's father. I really had no idea what was going on up until the big reveal near the end of the book, and I loved that Swain was able to keep me guessing up until the end, and that I hadn't guessed it! It did leave me with a big smile on my face, but I wish it could have resolved sooner and helped Ruby with her relationship with her father after many years away from home! However, you get the impression the family are very close, and I liked that very much.

Swain's writing throughout was great to read. The pace of the book is slow but steady, and there's always something going on to make you want to keep reading. Ruby's newfound friendship with her ex boyfriend and fellow marketstall holder was definitely interesting reading, and I couldn't fathom until the end if the pair would ever put their stubbornness aside and admit their true feelings! I also loved how the characters from Swain's other books popped up too, Lizzie and Jemma from the café, and Amber from Skylark Farm. It really makes the world she writes of feel real as you're reading, and was a really enjoyable story from start to finish. Ruby was a brilliant character - full of life, determination, and hope, something we should all have inside us! A wonderful read and highly recommended!

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