Review: 'How to Stuff Up Christmas' by Rosie Blake (2015)
Tis the season to be jolly. Unless you've found an intimate picture of another woman on your fiance's phone...
Eve is heartbroken after discovering her fiance is cheating on her. Being surrounded by the joys of Christmas is more than Eve can bear, so she chooses to avoid the festivities by spending Christmas alone on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Eve gets an unexpected seasonal surprise when handsome local vet Greg comes to her rescue one day, and continues to visit Eve's boat on a mission to transform her from Kitchen Disaster Zone to Culinary Queen.
But where does Greg keep disappearing to? What does Eve's best friend Daisy know that she isn't telling? And why is there an angry goose stalking Eve's boat?
I've been looking forward to picking up Rosie Blake's festive latest releae 'How to Stuff Up Christmas' for several weeks now. I read her debut novel 'How to Get a (Love) Life' in 2014 (click here to read my review) and thoroughly enjoyed it. Rosie's writing style is so easy to read and really funny and I was really excited when I heard Corvus would be releasing this festive novel in November 2015. I straight away loved both the book description and the cover (if that doesn't make you feel all festive and Christmassy, I don't know what will!) and already had a good feeling this would turn out to be a Christmas read I would thoroughly enjoy!
Eve has been going through the motions since she and her ex-fiancee Liam broke up after she discovered he was cheating on her. Last year at Christmas she couldn't have been happier, but this year the only thing she wants is to just get away from it all. Despite protests from her family, Eve decides to spend the whole month of December, just her and her dog Marmite, on a houseboat in Pangbourne, where she will also do a pottery course. Pangbourne has a few surprises waiting for Eve, though, in the form of handsome local vet Greg and an angry goose who doesn't want to leave her alone. Will Eve manage to find some peace and quiet during the festive lead-up to Christmas or does life have different things in store for her...?
This book certainly lived up to the pretty high expectations I had and I don't think Rosie Blake will ever disappoint me. Her incredibly fun and easy-to-fall-into writing style already grabbed me from the first few pages and I still had that smile on my face when I finished the novel. This book is a great title to pick up when you're looking for a fun and festive read, because if the story doesn't make you feel like Christmas, the delicious recipes included in the novel certainly will! Next to that, it's also quite a quick read with a good length (just over 300 pages), an entertaining storyline and a well-drawn group of characters.
Protagonist Eve is someone many female readers will be able to relate to; haven't we all been disappointed by men and wishing we could get over it with a snap of our fingers? Eve is dealing with quite the break-up and she decides to spend her Christmas alone. I easily warmed to Eve and also loved the secondary characters, such as handsome vet Greg, Eve's best friend Daisy, and the incredibly cute and funny Marmite, Eve's dog. I did feel like the story had a bit of a slow phase in the middle of the book, but the pace picked up again, luckily. Overall, I thought 'How to Stuff Up Christmas' is a simply stunning, hilarious and heart-warming festive read; a novel that will make you go into the holiday season with a smile on your face!