It left me feeling a bit disappointed… (3 stars)
Source- review copy
Published by Head of Zeus- November 20th 2014
I read the paperback edition which is 352 pages.
I absolutely loved Amanda Prowses’ last novel. In fact, it is one of my favourite reads of 2014, with its perfect balance of humour, sorrow and romance. So, when I was asked if I would review her newest read, it’s safe to say that I jumped at the chance; particularly when I discovered it was a Christmas read. I’d been hoping for the opportunity to review a couple of festive books this year and didn’t think I’d get the chance.
Meg grew up in care and as a child always dreamed of the perfect Christmas. Now a hard-working single mum, she can make sure that her four-year-old son, Lucas, has the Christmas that she herself never had. With no man in the picture it is only the two of them and Meg is just fine with that.
When a meeting with a stranger in New York unexpectedly changes everything, Meg wonders if all of her dreams have come true. Is this real love and is she going to get her happy ending after all? Or will she end up being alone this Christmas…?
I’m sorry to say that my first festive read of 2014 feels like something of a disappointment, especially given how much I adored Amanda’s last book and by what this beautiful cover suggested to me. It’s stunningly designed, isn’t it? That’s not to say that Christmas for One is badly written- as it isn’t by any means- it’s just that I personally didn’t engage with it or the characters on any real level and I found the storyline itself to be somewhat predictable. If I don’t particularly connect with the characters then I always struggle to ‘get into’ a book and regrettably that was the case here. For escapist, non-taxing reading however I imagine this is the ideal festive book to curl up with.
I found Meg personally, to be a pretty weak character at the end of the day, which was all the more surprising given the tough situations she had found herself in, in the past. I was really interested in the details of her younger self and the author did a really admirable job in portraying the sadness of a little girl in care, coming from a broken home. It made such sense that Meg would want to give her own child everything that she never had- and she came across as a very good mother- at least at the start of the book.
Without giving away any spoilers, I unfortunately thought Meg’s actions towards her romantic interest were somewhat questionable and she seemed far too readily willing to believe what she wanted to. She came across as a person so wanting a relationship that she would accept unjustified behaviour just so she could have her happy ending- even to the extent of possibly spending Christmas without her own child just so she could chase after that dream. It just made me cringe a little bit and to be honest, I couldn’t get past that notion and how naive and gullible she was. The relationship itself also seemed to move so quickly that it just didn’t seem realistic. Then again, the book read like something of a fairytale, so I imagine that is deliberate.
Speaking of fairytales, the descriptions of New York were truly wonderful- gorgeously atmospheric actually. I’ve been fortunate enough to visit the city and I could clearly envisage the sights, sounds and smells that the author describes so vividly. Reading about New York made me want to jump on a plane and head back over there. Likewise, I liked the contrast between New York and London. The author does a great job in portraying the bakeries where Meg works in both locations- this novel made me feel particularly hungry for pastries.
I imagine my feelings towards this book are coming across as pretty clear- I had mixed feelings towards it; unfortunately most of those feelings were decidedly apathetic ones. If you are looking for an easy to read festive book then this certainly isn’t a bad choice- a lot of people seem to love it; unfortunately this time I’m just not one of them.
**Thank you to Midas PR for the complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review**