Review: 'Lizzie's Christmas Escape' by Christie Barlow (2016)
Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman. And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different. Her girls have grown up and left home, her husband Henry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar. She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbour Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be …
So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance. Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage? Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction?
Earlier this year I got the chance to check out author Christie Barlow's writing when I found myself with a review copy of her novel 'Kitty's Countryside Dream'. I really enjoyed the book (click here to read my review) and was quite keen to check out another one of Christie Barlow's works, in this case her Christmas novel 'Lizzie's Christmas Escape.' The cover of the book is so cute and colourful and the description definitely piqued my interest, so I looked forward to checking it out and hoped I'd enjoy it just as much as 'Kitty's Countryside Dream', and that it would be able to already get me in the Christmas spirit...!
Lizzie Stevens has been married to her husband Henry for years. They started off their marriage being head over heels in love with each other, but now that their two daughters have left the family home, it seems the emptiness has taken over all parts of Lizzie's life. The only thing Henry seems to care about is whether dinner is on the table when he gets back from work and watching darts on TV every evening, while Lizzie wants and needs more from their marriage. When handsome new neighbour Marcus appears on the scene, Lizzie can't help but be taken in by his charm and attention. This Christmas Lizzie will need to make some important decisions; decisions that can change everything for not just her, but also her family... and what better way to get a clear head than taking a short break from it all?
When I picked up 'Lizzie's Christmas Escape' I was already slightly familiar with author Christie Barlow after having read, and really enjoyed, her previous novel 'Kitty's Countryside Dream'. I hoped I would also enjoy this festive read and I'm happy to say I did. The book focuses on main character Lizzie Stevens who is stuck in an unhappy marriage. When she meets her new neighbour Marcus some sparkle is brought back into her life and Lizzie is forced to suddenly rethink a few things. I have to admit I expected a slightly more Christmassy read and one that focused more on the 'escape' that is referred to in the title, but even though the book didn't really meet those particular expectations, I still really enjoyed it.
One of the best elements in the novel is Lizzie's relationship with her best friend Ann. The two have been friends for a really long time and are there for each other, no matter what. While the other secondary characters are interesting as well, I found myself especially looking forward to those scenes with both Lizzie and Ann, discussing the issues in their lives and experiencing new things together. I think Christie Barlow's writing is great; it flows really well and didn't bore me at any time. On the whole, 'Lizzie's Christmas Escape' is a thoroughly enjoyable and good chick lit read; not as festive as I initially thought, but a great read nonetheless.