24 November 2010

Book Review: All I Want For Christmas by Amy Silver

Bea is about to spend her first Christmas with her baby son Luca, but it's going be a bittersweet Christmas for the pair of them. Bea's Italian café The Honey Pot and is as usual doing a booming business, and she loves the characters she meets along the way. Outside, with just 12 days to go until Christmas, Olivia ends up on the pavement after nearly being run over. She's taken inside The Honey Pot by Bea and is taken care of, but is she running away from the pressure of hosting her fiancé's entire family for Christmas? Then there's Chloe whose relationship with Michael seems to be falling apart at the special time of year. She's lonely, she wants to enjoy her man but hates that he has to go back to his family every night instead of being with her.With just 12 days to go until Christmas, will the lives of Bea, Olivia and Chloe be sorted out and will they all get their Merry Christmas?

I read and adored Amy Silver's debut novel Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista last winter, so when I heard Amy was back this winter, this time with a festive themed book, I was really excited to get my hands on a copy as soon as possible! I think the cover is absolutely gorgeous, the publishers have really hit the nail on the head with this one! It suits the book perfectly, it matches the story, it looks festive, and it's just gorgeous to look at! It did seem that this book was going to be totally different from her first, but I love when authors do something different, so I excitedly began this book, and just couldn't put it down, it's fabulous.

The book is centred around the character of Bea, a single woman who owns The Honey Pot cafe, a small cafe in London. Bea is very lonely - she has her young son to keep her company, but she really finds solace in her workplace, making new recipes and cooking for everyone else whilst letting her social life fall apart around her. After a chance meeting with customers Chloe and Olivia, she begins to realise that the cafe isn't everything, and she needs company around her too. Bea is the perfect lead character, she is so warm, you can't help but love her. We know there is something traumatic in her past, but Silver chooses to unravel this slowly throughout the book instead of divulging it straight away at the beginning, and I think this was a great idea because it really kept my interest and I was desperate to know what happened in Bea's past to make her so sad, especially at Christmas.

The other 2 main characters of the book were extremely well written as well, and enjoyable to read about. Chloe is a very successful banker, but her personal life is a mess. She is having an affair with a married man, unashamedly so but hates having to lose him to his family. After finding out she has to spend Christmas alone once more, Chloe begins to question everything about her life from her relationship to her job, and the fact she doesn't have friends. When Olivia and Bea start to talk to Chloe, is she going to let the women in or is she going to push them away again? Olivia is the other lady in the book, and one I found slightly harder to warm to. Olivia is happily settled with her boyfriend, but seems to be getting cold feet about everything. Olivia had a really negative attitude about everything, I only liked her when she was around Bea because she seemed to come out of herself then.

This book is a great book, and being set around Christmas time makes it all the more special. The fact Bea works at a cafe allows for plenty of interaction between the characters who otherwise wouldn't know each other, and it shows us how we can meet someone special when we least expect it if we are nice to people. The Christmas feel runs right through the book, with each of the characters preparing for it in a 12 day run up to Christmas which is how the book is divided up - each chapter is part of the countdown i.e. Chapter 1 is 12 days to go. I really loved how Bea's story is revealed slowly through the book, I thought I had guessed it but when it was revealed, it was very emotional and definitely choked me up, probably because  I felt so much for Bea reading her story. The stories are very emotional for all 3 characters, but especially Bea.

I really cannot recommend this book enough to fans of Christmas themed books because you will absolutely love it! The writing is so easy to read, and the first person narrative for Bea, and third person narrative for Olivia and Chloe allow the reader to really get involved with Bea yet observe Chloe and Olivia enough to know their stories and care about them. I found the switch in narration very easy to read and I loved the different viewpoints it therefore offered. You feel the spirit of Christmas coming through, and there is a sweet message at the heart of this about being kind to strangers and finding friends where you least expect them, and Bea's story is the most touching of all, and very, very heart-warming. Adorable, and a wonderful read. I loved it!

Rating: 5/5


  1. Ooh, so wanna read it

  2. Omg Chole! You've made me want to read this so much more, I'm getting exited at the prospect of reading it. I'm exited thank you soooo much!

  3. Loved this book, just trying to decide what to read next!

  4. I also read that book and finished it in just a couple of days.

    I agree it was a great read but did no-one notice the TERRIBLE writing?! There were mistakes everywhere with wrong spelling, punctuation and grammar (and I am not the best at english)

    Also, at the beginning of the book, Amy refers to Martin's wife as Becky and at the end her name is Harriet....

    Awful- I can't believe it was published.