24 December 2014

Book Review: The Great Christmas Knit-Off by Alexandra Brown

"Heartbroken after being jilted at the altar, Sybil has been saved from despair by her knitting obsession and now her home is filled to bursting with tea cosies, bobble hats, and jumpers. But, after discovering that she may have perpetrated the cock-up of the century at work, Sybil decides to make a hasty exit and, just weeks before Christmas, runs away to the picturesque village of Tindledale.

There, Sybil discovers Hettie’s House of Haberdashery, an emporium dedicated to the world of knitting and needle craft. But Hettie, the outspoken octogenarian owner, is struggling and now the shop is due for closure. And when Hettie decides that Sybil’s wonderfully wacky Christmas jumpers are just the thing to add a bit of excitement to her window display, something miraculous starts to happen…"


Festive Feeling Rating:

You can buy The Great Christmas Knit Off as a paperback or an eBook now.

There's something really exciting about starting a new book series, and the new one from author Alexandra Brown is one I have been looking forward to for ages now! I loved her 'Carringtons' series, and therefore hoped that this one would live up to my expectations as well. This book is set in the fictional village of Tindledale (which sounds utterl beautiful by the way). After being abandoned at the altar, Sybil throws herself into her knitting and her job to try and keep her mind off of the bad things in her life. However, when a big mistake occurs at work, Sybil decides she needs to get away and flees to see her best friend who runs the pub in Tindledale. Sybil is able to get into her hobby of knitting even more thanks to the local shop Hettie's House of Haberdashery, and she quickly makes some new friends too, including hotel owner Laurence, boutique owner Ruby and of course Hettie herself. Sybil quickly finds herself more at home in Tindledale than in her actual home, so when a knitting emergency arises, Sybil is more than happy to take charge...

I have to confess that from the very first page of this book, I was totally absorbed into the story and just did not want to put it down or stop reading. I immediately loved Sybil, or Sybs as she is more commonly referred to in the book, and you can't help but feel sorry for her current state of affairs. She's heartbroken, getting over the fact her ex-fiancé jilted her at the aisle, but has also run off with her twin sister. You can understand why she eventually flees to Tindledale, and how she so quickly comes to feel at home in the small, picturesque village. I could imagine myself the pub, walking down the main street, Hettie's shop and everything about Tindledale, it sounds perfect.

The characters in this book are what make it so great. While Sybs originally goes to Tindledale to see her best friend Cheryl and her boyfriend, Cheryl isn't there so Sybs is left to her own devices. She ends up staying at the local guest house, run by the lovely Laurence. Laurence was a fabulous character, so kind-hearted and keen on helping out Sybil, you can't help but fall in love with him! Then there's the local boutique owner Ruby, someone who seems a little stand-offish but once you  get to know her, you can see the warm heart behind that bravado. I also loved the delightful Hettie, the woman who owns the local haberdashery shop. Hettie is hiding her own problems and secrets, and afraid to ask for help, she ends up over her head. Sybil is determined to help her out, and the ensuing storyline is so touching, it made me feel all warm inside!

The village of Tindledale is the perfect setting for the book. It's quaint, old-fashioned and a really close knit community, and this just adds to the charm of the book. I loved that the residents can't get mobile signal there, internet usage is sporadic so the residents live in a world a million miles away from ours. Knitting is obviously a big thing in this book, and I was a little worried as although I can knit a basic scarf, that's about all I can do! However, I needn't have worried because Alexandra Brown makes it easy to read, with not too much techincal jargon in there - instead it is Sybil's love of knitting that really comes through, and the things that she creates sound just brilliant! The knit off at the end with the residents of Tindledale and Sybil was hilarious and so brilliantly done, such a perfect ending to this first installment in a series!

Hopefully I have conveyed in this review exactly how much I loved this book because it is definitely my favourite of all of Alexandra's books I have read so far! There was just something magical about the village of Tindledale, the wonderful warm Christmas feeling and all these brilliant characters that made this book completely and utterly readable - I devoured the book as quickly as I could, while at the same time not wanting it to end! I am so pleased there is going to be more in the Tindledale series, and I'm hoping we will get to explore more of the characters in it for the next few stories. This is one of my must-reads this winter, I loved everything about it, just brilliant!

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