24 January 2015

Book Review: Christmas for One by Amanda Prowse

"As a child, Meg always dreamed of the perfect Christmas...

This year, she can make it come true for her own little boy. There will be turkey and all the trimmings, a glittering tree, and a stocking hung up by a roaring fire. Who cares if there's no devoted husband in the picture? She and Lucas will be just fine on their own.

But then a chance meeting with a stranger in New York unravels everything she's planned. Will Meg finally get everything she wished for? Or will she be alone this Christmas after all?"

Rating: 4/5

You can buy Christmas for One as a paperback or an eBook now.

This is the first of Amanda Prowse's novels that I have ever read, and now I have finished reading her latest festive offering, I know it won't be the last. Complete with a stunningly beautiful Christmassy book cover, Christmas for One was a wonderful read from start to finish, with characters to care about, a sweet love story and also the magic of Christmas thrown in there too. Meg has resigned herself to being a single parent after the death of her fiancĂ© Bill, and works hard at Plums Patisserie, a bakery where she is working her way up the career ladder. When her job sends her to New York City to sort out the new bakery there, she bumps into New Yorker Ed, and the pair strike up a quick friendship. But is that all that New York has to offer Meg, or will she finally spend a Christmas with someone she loves?

New York is certainly a popular setting for books these days, I have read a few this year alone but it doesn't stop me loving the city any less. Meg is visiting at Christmas, and I love the magic of New York at this time of year having visited myself - there's nothing like seeing the Rockefeller Centre tree up close for yourself! Meg is captivated by the city, and she loves exploring, as much as she loves trying to get the New York branch of Plums Patisserie up and running. I really liked how Meg struggled with her work/life balance, feeling very guilty at leaving her young son Lucas behind when she was travelling, but knowing it needed to be done for the business - a lot of mums feel like this, and there's nothing like coming home to your child when you've been away from them! I loved the relationship Meg and Lucas had, so very close and it was heartwarming to read about.

The relationship between Meg and Ed happened very quickly in the book, and I had hoped that nothing would go wrong for the pair because Meg deserved some happiness at last after being so unlucky in her life so far - growing up in care with a mother who didn't really want her, having a baby then losing her fiancé, and although she's finally settled she still would like someone to really love. I kept hoping that Ed wasn't too good to be true, and found myself sprinting through the book to find out how it was all going to end up for the pair. It didn't seem like it could possibly work long-term, with the pair living on either side of the Atlantic, and this really was a sweet love story that I was fully behind.

Amanda Prowse's writing was really enjoyable to read, and I found she got the emotion of the book just right. She tapped into Meg's guilt, love and hope so well that you were really feeling it along with her as you read, and as things took a bit of a turn about 3/4 of the way through the book, you realise Christmas isn't all happiness and jollity, and that for some it is a tough, lonely time. Yes, Ed and Meg's relationship happened very quickly, and almost a tad unrealistically but for me it didn't matter - it just added to the overall magic of the story. I loved this book from start to finish, and really didn't want to put it down until I had got to the last page. A charming festive love story - this most certainly won't be my last book from Amanda Prowse.

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