I am very grateful to Corvus Books for a copy of Rosie Blake’s ‘How to Stuff Up Christmas’ which was published on 5th November 2015 in both ebook and paperback. It is available to buy from Amazon UK, Amazon US, Foyles and Waterstones
Having got engaged at Christmas, Eve is devastated just before the next Christmas to find an intimate photo from another woman on her fiance, Liam’s, phone. She runs away to try to fix her broken heart on a houseboat in Pangbourne. Not everything goes as she expects – especially when she tries to cook.
I have to be honest and say the title of the book, ‘How to Stuff Up Christmas’ didn’t really appeal to me and I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it. I did!
This is a lovely, romantic Christmas story with plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep the reader thoroughly entertained and there is the kind of ending readers of this genre will love.
The characters are great. Eve immediately gains reader empathy and it’s easy to relate to her and live her emotions with her so that the hardest hearted reader would want her to be happy. Even the most minor characters are vivid and convincing, especially Marmite, the dog.
I love the way we see the story from two perspectives; Eve’s and Greg’s, because it really adds to the depth of emotion conveyed. I particularly like the sightly awkward elements to their relationship as I feel they reflect the reality of what it’s like to test the water with an embryonic romance.
Equally appealing are the recipes that start several of the chapters. They made me hungry as I read and I felt I wanted to be baking Daisy’s Chocolate Biscuit Cake or the Christmas Cookies (Lebkuchen), so much so that I’m off shopping for ingredients when I’ve written this review.
However, what really brings ‘How to Stuff Up Christmas’ alive most for me is the quality of Rosie Blake’s writing. She conveys setting and appearance so effectively through small details that each scene really comes to life and is so easy to picture. Rosie Blake also has a deft touch with humour so that at times I laughed out loud. I’ll admit to shedding a tear or two as well.
Readers wanting a feel good Christmas read that is totally engaging will be delighted by ‘How to Stuff Up Christmas’. I heartily recommend it.