22 January 2014

Book Review: Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop by Jenny Colgan

"Curl up with Rosie, her friends and her family as they prepare for a very special Christmas . . .

Rosie Hopkins is looking forward to Christmas in the little Derbyshire village of Lipton, buried under a thick blanket of snow. Her sweetshop is festooned with striped candy canes, large tempting piles of Turkish Delight, crinkling selection boxes and happy, sticky children. She's going to be spending it with her boyfriend, Stephen, and her family, flying in from Australia. She can't wait.

But when a tragedy strikes at the heart of their little community, all of Rosie's plans for the future seem to be blown apart. Can she build a life in Lipton? And is what's best for the sweetshop also what's best for Rosie?"

Rating: 5/5

You can buy Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop as a hardback or an eBook now.

I have become a huge fan of Jenny Colgan's novels, and the past few books that she has written have been absolutely brilliant, and definitely must-reads in my opinion. I was thrilled to receive a review copy of her latest novel Christmas at Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop for review, since I loved the first one in that series, Rosie Hopkins' Sweet Shop of Dreams. I actually read the book before Christmas, devoured it in just a few days and am finally getting around to reviewing it... doing so has certainly made me want to read it again, it was that good!

Rosie Hopkins loves working in sweet shop in the village Lipton, even more so now the festive season is well and truly on its way. Rosie is looking forward to the first one in her new home, with new boyfriend Stephen and her aunt too. As an extra treat, Rosie's mum and other family is flying in from Australia to spend the season with her... she's just got to break it to Stephen first! As the village is gearing up for Christmas, a tragedy strikes and the residents are forced to pull together to help each other through the hard times. Rosie is worried that it might mean the end for the plans she had made for the future - is her happy ending definitely in Lipton??

You don't need to have read the first book in this series to enjoy this book, although it of course helps knowing the back story, especially of Rosie getting the shop and her relationship with Stephen too. However, everything is quite well explained so its easy to enjoy this as a stand alone novel too, especially as a festive treat. Things have moved along slightly since the previous book, Stephen is now starting work as a school teacher at the local school, Rosie's shop is becoming a roaring success, and they are living together, quite happily plodding along in their relationship, taking things slowly. I enjoyed the twists and turns that their relationship took as this book progressed, the things they came up against felt very realistic, and it was emotional to read at times, with Rosie desperately trying to work out the right thing to do.

For me, the setting of Lipton was perfect. With it's wintery snowy setting and festive feel, it seems perfect and exactly the sort of place you want to be as Christmas approaches. It's a quaint, small village with close friends and neighbours and I really enjoyed this aspect of the book. Rosie was a great main character again, and it was lovely getting back into step with her narrative, and I loved Stephen as much as I had last time. They make such a good couple, I was really hoping that they would end up with a happy ending! I really enjoyed Rosie's aunt Lilian's story in this book though, it was very emotional and totally unexpected, it was so beautifully written and touching to read, it was very compulsive once I got reading!

Rosie's family make an amusing addition to the book, and it was fun seeing Rosie with her own family for a change, rather than just making new friends in the village. The tragedy that happens shocked me quite a lot, I hadn't expected it at all and Colgan really did the scenes justice. It felt so real as I was reading, I couldn't put the book down and was desperate to find out what was going to happen next. It was totally gripping! Everything about this novel was absolutely brilliant. While the sweet shop took a little more a back seat in this book, the other stories going on around it in Lipton were amazingly written - Colgan puts across the emotion and tension in these scenes so well. I loved everything about this book, it was a complete joy to read and I hope it isn't the last we see of Rosie and her beautiful sweetshop!!

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