Regular Linda’s Book Bag readers will know how much I love Heidi Swain, both as an author and as a person, so it will come as no surprise that I am thrilled to be part of the launch celebrations for her latest book, The Christmas Wish List, by closing the blog tour with my review today. My enormous thanks to Harriett Collins at Simon and Schuster for inviting me to participate.
Recently I reviewed Heidi’s Poppy’s Recipe for Life here and hosted a guest post from Heidi here all about what Christmas means to her when Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland was published. You can read what happened when we ‘stayed in’ together to discuss Sunshine and Sweet Peas in Nightingale Square here, and read my review of Heidi’s Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market here.
Published by Simon and Schuster on 3rd October 2019, The Christmas Wish List is available for purchase through these links.
The Christmas Wish List
After being let go from her job in a swanky hotel just weeks before Christmas, Hattie is feeling lost. Even more so when her high-flying boyfriend announces he’s landed his dream job in Abu Dhabi and asks her to move with him. Luckily, Hattie’s long-time friend Dolly is on hand to help and invites Hattie to spend one last holiday in the small, festive town of Wynbridge, determined to give her a Christmas to remember . . .
Upon Hattie’s arrival, holiday preparations are in full swing. But for Hattie, whose Christmas cheer has long since run out, it’ll take more than mince pies and mistletoe to open her heart to the season once more. Relishing the task of reigniting Hattie’s Christmas spirit, Dolly suggests they create a wish list of all the things the season can offer, and with the helpful hands of Wynbridge’s resident handyman, Beamish, Hattie finds her frosty exterior is starting to thaw.
As Wynbridge prepares for its most spectacular Christmas yet, will Hattie leave snowy England behind for life in a sunnier clime, or will she in fact realise that her heart’s desire lies much closer to home?
The Christmas Wish List is the perfect read this Christmas, promising snowfall, warm fires and breath-taking seasonal romance. Perfect for fans of Carole Matthews and Cathy Bramley.
My Review of The Christmas Wish List
A return to Wynbridge will provide more than just a rest for Hattie.
I think it’s wonderful to be able to open a book by an author and know you’re guaranteed a wonderful read and that’s exactly what happens with a Heidi Swain novel; The Christmas Wish List being no exception.
I love the way Heidi Swain creates a festive atmosphere. She manages to weave traditions and cosiness into her narrative without being saccharine or twee so that The Christmas Wish List provides a compelling and uplifting setting that feels perfect for a winter read. Smatterings of snow, carols, winter wonderlands and roaring fires transport the reader to a world of pleasure and positivity. However, The Christmas Wish List isn’t all sweetness and joy, and elements of the story that I don’t want to reveal because they will be spoilers, provide a perfect balance and reality that give even greater depth and enjoyment.
Whilst characters I’ve met before in Wynbridge make an appearance, there’s actually quite a reduced cast list at the heart of this story so that there is an intensity to their relationships that touches the reader highly effectively. I’m sure I was just as much in love with Beamish as any Wynbridge resident, but it was Dolly’s attitude of making the most of life through her actual wish list that resonated most with me. The positive message behind the narrative is simply flawlessly portrayed. I also thought Hattie was such a realistic character. She is stubborn and sometimes quite foolish and her actions often frustrated me because I cared about her. Her relationships with her family, Dolly and Jonathan in particular made her embody a microcosm of many a young woman in today’s society. I was desperate for he to have a happy resolution in The Christmas Wish List but you’ll need to read the book to see if that particular wish of mine was fulfilled.
As ever when I read Heidi Swain, although I adore the storytelling, it is the underpinning themes behind the story that I find most appealing. A sense of identity and appreciating what really matters in life form a tapestry with friendship, relationships, a sense of community and love so that in The Christmas Wish List I think there is something for every reader to identify with.
The Christmas Wish List is yet another triumph of a book from Heidi Swain. It truly does embody the festive spirit of Christmas, but more importantly, it conveys the message of making the most of the lives we have. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
About Heidi Swain
Heidi Swain is the Sunday Times bestselling author of five novels: The Cherry Tree Cafe, Summer at Skylark Farm, Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market, Coming Home to Cuckoo Cottage and most recently, Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair. She lives in Norfolk with her husband and two teenage children.