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4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 3 November 2010
If you're looking for a novel to get you into the spirit of Christmas, this is the book for you. Feisty and self-sufficient Holly is determined that Christmas is going to be just another day, but Fate has other plans in store, in the shape of gorgeous Jude - who's also anxious to avoid getting up to anything too festive.

Snowbound in the wilds of Lancashire, Jude and Holly find they are drawn to each other, and Christmas begins to cast its spell. This is a perfect story for Trisha Ashley fans, full of Trisha's trademark wit and quirkiness, delightful minor characters (I loved the Fanny Cradock clone even though, like Holly, I too felt a bit sick at the thought of pinwheel sandwiches), surprising situations and a heart-warming finale. There's some very inventive and satisfying plotting in this story, and you'll finish the book with a big smile on your face.

Oh, and make sure there's something delicious in the fridge, because reading this book will definitely make you hungry - can't wait to try some of Holly's recipes myself!
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on 4 November 2010
Loved this book right from the beginning - Holly is brought to life and make you care for her after all she has been through - although you think you know what will happen, there is a slight twist in the tale which I loves.

Loved Merlin, made me want to go an buy a lurcher and I loved Jess, she is like the daughter, niece you would want.

Lovely story - on the bookshelf as sure I will read another couple of times
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on 5 November 2010
Twelve Days of Christmas is a fantastic read which will definitely put you in the festive spirit. With colourful characters and a strong plot, Trisha Ashley tells a heart warming story of a young widow, trying to throw herself into her work to come to terms with the many losses in her life.

Holly Brown is asked to do a house sitting job over the festive season at a remote location in the Lancashire Moors. Still trying to come to terms with her husbands death over the Christmas period, and also bearing the emotional scars of her mothers death after having given birth to Holly on Christmas day, she takes the job for a chance to get away from all the Christmas festivities and read her Gran's journal, which she recently acquired after her Gran's death. However, she gets more than she bargains for when the owner of the house, Jude Martland, is forced to return from his travels unexpectedly.

As more and more snow falls, Holly finds herself snowed in at Jude's house, along with many members of his family. Holly is then forced to meet Christmas head on. After a surprise revelation in her Gran's journal, Holly realises what she may have gotten herself into.

With a fairly large cast of brilliantly thought up characters, this book was a pleasure to read from start to finish. The characters are down to earth and some are hilarious. The character of Coco is great and teenager Jess is portrayed exactly right. Holly is lovable straight away and Jude, with his mysterious ways and seemingly abrupt persona, grows on the reader as the story progresses and he is unravelled.

A great winter read with a totally unexpected, but satisfying ending!
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on 24 October 2010
I have read most of Trisha Ashley's books and this is one of the best: Merlin is the character I prefer, closely followed by Lady and Billy! The heroine is again very different from other heroines of romantic novels and the main main character is dark and broody (move over, Fergal Rocco, I have a new dream man!). I dislike snow intensely and there is plenty of it in this book but it is so well described, I loved the white landscapes! Thanks, Trisha, for entertaining your readers so well.
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Other reviewers have done a terrific job of synthesizing the plot, so I'll just add my accolades. 12 Days of Christmas is a fun read for any time of the year, but especially now - I dread/love the holidays in equal measure, I can certainy relate with wanting to just go away! Trisha Ashley creates a cast of interesting characters that you come to care about - even the ghastly ex-fiance (soon to be ex-fianced again!) Holly and Jude are just irregular and prickly enough to be perfect, as is the entire menagerie (human and animal). I read this book on the way to China and loved it so much I couldn't bring myself to jettison it in the interest of weight, I had to keep it for the "permanent collection". Well done Trisha!
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on 1 December 2010
Been snowed in here, just the opportunity for a good long read and what a read! This book transported me into the heart of a family and I will miss the characters now that I have finished reading it. Can only add to what has already been said that it is a warm cosy read and so well written that I recommend it to everyone.
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on 1 December 2011
I'd wanted to read this for ages, seduced by the lovely, bright festive cover and its other great reviews- so I was really pleased it was such a bargain price on the Kindle. My advice would be to make the most of this offer whilst you can- you're in for a real treat with this cosy, romantic read. It's just perfect for this time of year and made me long for woolly scarves, mittens, hot chocolate and some snow!

The story centres on Holly, eight years widowed after her husband Alan unexpectedly died at Christmastime and having also recently lost her grandmother. Holly has tried to move on with her life, but naturally hates Christmas and all that comes with it. A professional house-sitter and chef, she takes the opportunity to escape from it all when she is offered the chance to house-sit in a remote Lancashire manor house during the festive season, but does not expect what happens to her next...

Cue madness, guilt-trips and inane festive fun that will leave you wishing Christmas wasn't so many days away! Overall, this was a lovely sweet romance with a cast of characters that I really came to care about- the writing is admittedly not brilliant and the plot is a bit contrived in places but casting that aside, I still really liked this book. The chemistry between the lead characters was evident and believable and I appreciated the yummy sounding descriptions of the food Holly created too- the few little recipes at the end were also a bonus.

I really liked the diary excerpts from Holly's gran during the war as well as they gave the story a bit more substance and intrigue- I always like intertwining storylines that make sense and this one was pulled off successfully. I have to say that I'm not a massive fan of `chick lit' any more (most authors I used to like have gone off the boil a bit) but this was one that I genuinely enjoyed, despite it being a little bit cutesy and predictable. I think cutesy and predictable is just what's needed during the festive season though!

I have also downloaded `A Winter's Tale' by Ashley (another bargain Kindle read at the moment) and I am looking forward to reading that at some point during the festive season. This is an author I'm glad I gave a try.
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on 4 December 2010
This book is the paperback version of comfort food. Yes, we all know we should be eating pulses, wholegrains and boil-for-days beans but sometimes you just want to bunker down and eat marshmallow chic lit'. Fittingly I read this homage to all things Christmas - quietly gorgeous heroine called Holly gently plodding her way through hillocks of snow, mounds of food and mountains of eligible men while she is improbably holed-up in a rambling old hall - during the snowbound Nov/Dec 2010 period. Perfect.
It was lovely to curl up with Holly as she takes on a seemingly sterile house sitting job which sees her duties extend from looking after one house, one horse, one dog to becoming a brood mare to a rambling family and an unlikely quartet of hunks all seeingly vying for her attention...although you don't need waste a Christmas wish wondering which one of our fabulous foursome will triumph. The story is a bit short on surprises and twists and relies a bit too merrily on characters making unlikely assumptions - our hero Jude follows Holly around like a lap-dog for most of the latter stage of the book but we have to believe that Holly (a) doesn't notice (b) doesn't fancy him (c) is convinced he's a cad/her long-lost cousin/not her type etc etc.
But I didn't really care. Like most marshmallows, it's light, fluffy and heart-warming in a oh-so-cheesy way which is utterly fogiveable. The only unforgiveable element - as pointed out by another reviewer - is Holly's take on her professional chefing abilities. She has all the cooking prowess of Nigella Lawson at her cleavage-heaving best and is able to cook a Michelin-star meal out of the stuff most people would leave in the perma-forst of their freezer and yet she dismisses it as 'I was busy and only managed to whizz up home-made curry, pies, soup, cakes for lunch' in the way that someone wearing a expensive ball-gown makes that 'oh this old thing' when passed a compliment.
I also felt exceedingly cross at all those lazy 'friends, relatives and suitors and twelve year old niece' who seem to do nothing but sit on their bums watching movies while poor Holly prepares yet another amazing breakfast/lunch/high tea/dinner/mid night snack etc without anyone lifing a finger to help.....why were all these 'guests' so unhelpful....Holly reminds them time and time again that she's only getting paid to look after the house and the reason she waives her usual 'extortionate' fee for catering for house party is never really addressed...even if Holly does do this out of the kindness of her heart...surely her boss at the housesitting agency would have a thing or three to say about her working so hard for nothing for millionaire sculptor Jude. As Holly whips up yet another 'turkey souffle' or 'instant chocolate cake'...I found myself wanting to pelt the idle house guests with these foodstuffs on her behalf.
Listen up Holly, Nigella Lawson only does all that scampering about because she gets PAID hansomely and she gets to raid the fridge at turned yourself into an unpaid domestic skivvy for no good reason.
Small wonder all the men were drooling...even the obligatory gay one. Sadly, if any fellas do stumble upon this delightful book, I have to remind you that Holly is the stuff of fiction. Try to treat a real woman like this and they'll quite rightly stuff their Heston Blumenthal's Xmas pud where the sun doesn't shine!
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on 23 October 2010
Trisha Ashley has produced a super read; full of the marvellous throwaway lines which she sprinkles throughout her highly enjoyable novels! As an example of many that made me chuckle:

"I sincerely hoped the slashed top part was held on with boob tape, because otherwise she would be in serious danger of dangling her little dumplings in the dinner".

The novel is populated by believably flawed characters and Ms Ashley is so kind that even the least unloveable characters become more human as the story unwinds.

I read it on the day it arrived in the post and look forward to passing it on to friends who enjoy a well written lighthearted romp!
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on 17 October 2011
I was a bit dubious about this book before I read it because I disliked 'Chocolate Wishes', the book I had previously read by the same author but as it's Christmas, I had to give it a read and I'm very glad that I did - I didn't even mind the mention of Chocolate wishes themselves! I adored this book from start to finish. The book was certainly festive and I really enjoyed the plot. I found the writing style a bit hard to get used to at first as I kept forgetting it was written in first person, but once I got used to it and Holly was sharing more of her own thoughts and feelings, it was fine. I found the connection with Holly's grandmother's diary to be interesting and it worked well. There were a large amount of characters but each were formed very well and I could both connect to them and become attached to them - I did feel as though I was living through Holly. I found Jude's character strong from the beginning and although the relationship is very predictable, the journey through it's progression and slight twists made a fantastic read. The only issues for me was that I disliked some of the repetitiveness (about costs, the phone calls etc) and the food did somewhat take over this story, though it's understandable as it's Holly's passion. On the whole, I enjoyed the book and the ending. A superb Christmas read!
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