I'm a very Christmassy person, I start talking about Christmas in August and I literally can never wait to put all my decorations up as soon as it hits December. One thing I especially love as a reader is books with a Christmas theme, and so as soon as I saw Abby Clements new book I could not wait to start it!
We open the story at the start of a very big morning for Laurie. At the fashion label she works at, the handbag that Laurie has been in charge of for months has its release date on that very date. Full of excitement, she rushes into work to await its delivery. But when a mistake happens, her career comes crashing down on her. Told to take a few months off `as a break', Laurie is devastated.
Up in Yorkshire is Rachel, married to the handsome Aiden, and a mum to two children, teenager Milly and little Zak. She is living the perfect life with a loving family, and preparing for Christmas. All of a sudden, Rachel's mother-in-law Bea falls ill and needs urgent treatment in London.
When childhood friends Laurie and Rachel get in contact again, a house-swap falls into place, with some interesting and surprising results.
I really really enjoyed Meet Me Under The Mistletoe. The story was a lovely read, and I found that I could go along with the story at a pace that suited me, I liked how easy it was to read, I liked the themes that were incorporated in, and I liked the warm happy feeling that the story left me with long after I had finished.
Although there are essentially two separate stories - Rachel's chapters and Laurie's chapters - Abby Clements manages to cleverly and subtly blend them in with each other, and this allows the story to flow at a beautiful pace. I liked in particular that there was a contrast between the two ladies, Laurie being a single workaholic who is used to the busy streets of London, and Rachel being a devoted mother who loves the easy pace of country life and home-baking. I really enjoyed seeing how both of these characters coped when thrown into each other's lifestyle, and it was very compelling to read. I felt myself connecting with both Rachel and Laurie - I laughed at their mishaps, I cringed with them when they found themselves in embarrassing situations, and I really felt for them during the hardships too. I LOVED my time with them, as I felt myself travelling on his journey with them, and I was quite sad to finish the story and leave Laurie and Rachel behind.
The descriptions of the two settings are brilliant. Yorkshire in particular, and the small villages within, are depicted as picturesque, beautiful, homely little places, and I was immediately drawn in by its charm. With the added Christmas theme, I even felt warm and Christmassy as I was reading, and I think it was a perfect setting for the book.
Abby Clements has created a wonderful story, and one thing I particularly liked about Meet me Under The mistletoe was that not only were the main characters developed, but the supporting characters were also very well-written and came across as very real and lifelike - I can not fault a single character. Milly, Rachel's daughter, was very well-written and even though I'm not a teenager myself, I found I could relate to her and I understood her. Up in Yorkshire, Diana, Joyce and co. came across so well, their personalities shone from the pages so much that I almost felt that I was Laurie stood in the room with them, and after reading this book, I'm very keen to visit Yorkshire again!
Meet Me Under The Mistletoe is warm, it is light-hearted - though there are a few surprises and twists to keep you hooked! This story is the perfect one to help ease you into the mood for Christmas, and to be a gentle reminder that not only is it nice to have a change of scenery every now and again, but so long as you have family, friends or people you love around you at Christmas, then life really is beautiful.