“Why has that shop got its Christmas tree up when its barely October?” I raged to Mark last week.
That was before I read Jessica Redland’s new festive treat (one of two she has released this month!), Charlee And The Chocolate Shop.
Afterwards, I was tempted to head into the loft and get all our decorations down. The only thing stopping me was the thought of (continuously) explaining to Freya that we still have MONTHS until the Big Day.
This book is full of Christmas magic, though, and you’d have to be pretty hardhearted not to be moved by it.
I’m a big fan of Jessica’s work and, as always, it’s beautifully written with a natural warmth and good humour that just seems part of her style.
Her heroine, Charlee, is both strong and at times vulnerable while her hero, Matt, is absolutely perfect – apart from having a fiancee, of course. Oh wait, you didn’t know that last bit.
Here’s the blurb:
Master chocolatier, Charlee Chambers, has plenty to be excited about as Christmas approaches. She’s moved in with her boyfriend, Darren, and she’s about to open a chocolate shop, following in her late granddad’s footsteps. If only Darren would show more interest in helping her refurbish Charlee’s Chocolates ready for a December opening.
When water starts pouring through the shop ceiling, and Darren can’t be contacted to help, emergency plumber Matt comes to the rescue. From that moment on, Matt does more to support Charlee in achieving her dreams than Darren ever has, and she finds herself drawn to him. But Matt’s engaged and Charlee loves Darren … doesn’t she? And Darren loves her … or at least, she thinks he does, but he’s been behaving a little strangely recently.
Then Charlee discovers that Darren has a secret. But so does Matt. And so, it seems, does the woman who abandoned her at birth …
Not only are her main characters always really well developed but the supporting cast also add colour and excitement. If you’ve read any of her other books you’ll be pleased to see some familiar faces pop up.
There are some wonderful, really did not see that coming, surprises in this book, which must have taken a lot of planning but it all comes together like a perfect jigsaw.
There are also some truly gorgeous scenes, including one involving a Christmas light switch on (I won’t spoil anything) that had me swooning. Her fictional creation of Whitsborough Bay sounds like a fabulous place to live at any time of year but at Christmas it truly transforms into a winter wonderland.
A warning though; I wanted to eat a bit of chocolate – specifically Christmas chocolate – approximately every other page. If you have no will power, like me, I’d stock up before you start so you don’t have to interrupt the story to pop to the shops.
My rating: Five stars.
I was lucky enough to interview Jessica for my Behind The Book series, which you can read here. Don’t forget to check out her other new book, Christmas At Carly’s Cupcakes, which I have waiting for me next.