Top critical review
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Festive frolics and Christmas crises galore!
on 21 April 2010
This novel reunites the characters from 'The Secret Shopper's Revenge' for a festive rollercoaster of ups and downs, highs and lows, laughter and tears, with each character facing down their own demons in time for the New Year. I'll hold my hands up straight off and say that I haven't read the first installment - though I probably will at some point, having enjoyed this one - but happily Harrison's subtle references to earlier events filled me in nicely without being glaringly obvious, so my enjoyment wasn't in any way dented by my Secret Shopper ignorance.
I liked the way that each of the women in the novel has her own voice, which keeps it fresh, and each of those voices was quite distinctive. Sandie might be pregnant and already has enough on her plate coping with her boyfriend's awful mother and her own broken family. Emily is trying to keep her fairytale emporium - and her relationship with the lovely Will - afloat while engaged in battle with her slimy ex-husband. Grazia isn't so sure that she can grow old gracefully after all. And young Kelly, Sandie's new employee, is slowly sinking under a past that just won't let her go...
It's pure fluff, of course, but it's well written fluff, and skims over a few profound issues to stop it veering into candyfloss territory. I found myself starting to get attached to these women and their lives, and hoping everything would turn out alright in the end... A good little read.