22 October 2012

Book Review: Married by Christmas by Scarlett Bailey

"All she wants is perfect Christmas Eve wedding...

It's been on Anna's wish-list since she was a little girl, dreaming of a far happier family life than she'd ever experienced.

But now - only two weeks before her big day - her perfect husband-to-be drops a bombshell...

Only nothing's going to stop Anna's plans - not even the pesky inconvenience of discovering her groom already has a wife!"

Rating: 4.5/5

I know it's only October, but the festive reads are now coming in thick and fast, and for me, this is permission enough to start reading and enjoying them! One such read I've really been looking forward to is Scarlett Bailey's second novel, and second festive novel, Married by Christmas. I loved the red and gold themed cover as soon as I saw it, and I was hopeful that it would be just as good as her first novel, The Night Before Christmas which was a fantastic read. The synopsis didn't give away a lot to me so I wasn't sure what to expect from it in terms of story, but I really loved what Bailey did with it!

Anna has wanted a Christmas Eve wedding ever since she was a little girl, and is thrilled to be marrying Tom and getting the wedding of her dreams at long last. Best friend Liv is helping her to prepare the wedding, and with Anna being the queen of lists and organisation, everything is dead on schedule and seemingly going to plan. However, when a few weeks before the wedding Tom drops a huge bombshell that throws the whole wedding into jeopardy, Anna goes into overdrive and decides she has to make things work, whatever it takes. Anna finds herself hopping on a plane to get across the other side of world to make everything right again, but doesn't plan on reuniting with an old acquaintance..

Straight away, I fell in love with the character of Anna. She's a damaged woman, destroyed by the action's of her mother in her early life, despite a then solid upbringing with best friend Liv and her family, who have treated her like their own since day one. I love her organisation and how committed she is to making the wedding run smoothly, and it makes it all the worse for her when things go wrong. While the synopsis tells us that Tom already has a wife, it doesn't tell us what happens after that, and it's certainly an adventure! Anna finds herself on a plane and halfway across the world, and I love things set in New York so this book was a joy for me to read, especially as it's near Christmas and it's somewhere I've been myself at that magical time of year. Tom was a character I just couldn't warm to - he seemed a bit too good to be true really and I wanted Anna to see through him a little bit before her big day!

I loved Bailey's writing of this book and find her narrative very easy to get into and enjoy reading. She writes in the third person which allows the book to flit between the main story, which is Anna in New York, and then Liv and Tom back in the UK, keeping going with the wedding plans. Although I could sense how the book was going to end up after a short while, I didn't mind because I wanted to find out what was going to happen to these characters and when, because I wasn't sure when things would start really happening for them all, especially Anna and Tom! Bailey writes about New York really well, you can picture it clearly in your mind, especially the luxurious suite in a posh hotel... lovely! I liked the message of this story too - that your past doesn't have to affect your future, and that genetics don't necessarily mean you are going to follow in past footsteps. Anna's constant fear of becoming her mother was very sad, but quite true I'm sure, and it certainly makes you grateful for having a far more stable upbringing.

My only little quibble in this book is that it wasn't as festive as I was hoping for it to be! Yes, it's set near Christmas and it's set in New York, but I would have liked a little more of the festiveness in my festive read, I'm a bit terrible like that! However, it's a wonderfully written and very enjoyable book that I devoured in a couple of days and always looked forward to picking up whenever I could! The cast of characters is fantastic, and I particularly loved Anna and Miles, they were so likeable, and I was really rooting for Miles to make his musical dream come true throughout the book! It's a lovely read that you'll want to put on your shelf and come back to year after year at the festive time of year, and Scarlett Bailey is quickly cementing herself as one of my new favourite authors! I loved Married by Christmas, it's certainly one to be reading this Christmas!

You can buy Married by Christmas as a paperback or an eBook - it's out on October 25th.

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