on 12 August 2013
I've read almost all of Carole Matthews books so consider myself a big fan. I loved how true to life Juliet trying to make Christmas perfect was, plus all the multi-tasking it involved. I also loved how the secondary characters were well explored. I was unsure about the wisdom of Rick's decision in keeping his secret friendship from his wife, but could imagine someone just like him reaching out to a young girl less fortunate. The inclusion of everyone in the Christmas festivities reminded me of so many different friends' stories telling me they are cooking for 18 or 20 on Christmas Day - and I always admire them! I thought Juliet had the patience of a saint in general, but particularly with regard to her son Tom's latest conquest turning up on Christmas Day with 2 selfish brats (upbringing of course!) in tow.
The unexpected arrival of a grandchild in a most unexpected way also had me cheering them on - particularly as I was heavily pregnant when I read this book, and was hoping I wouldn't go into labour in this way!)
The whole cast of characters was a dream to read about and I will, as always, be looking forward to the next release.
on 2 February 2015
I've just started this book directly after finishing the previous novel about the Joyce family, That Loving Feeling. I'm a bit confused about the timelines however. When we left them, Juliet was 45, the daughter Chloe was 20 and pregnant, Juliet and Rick had just celebrated their silver wedding. Now we've joined them four years on, Juliet is still 45 but her daughter is 24 now and its just been mentioned that their silver wedding was two years ago. Artistic license certainly but give the reader a wee bit credit.
Juliet Joyce is a lady who loves Christmas, despite her own family not being quite as keen on the festivities as she is. There's her dad who is going through a terrible heart-break thanks to his partner Samuel, her son Tom who is out of work and seemingly not looking for a job, but who is more than happy to look for a girlfriend or three; daughter Chloe who is a mum of one and expecting another baby and are now back at home with Juliet again, and of course her husband Rick, who is feeling the pressure financially for the family. Will Juliet be able to pull off the magical Christmas she so wants to provide for her family, or will the problems amongst the Joyce's prove too much for Juliet once and for all?
There was something really festive about this book, right from the beginning and I really loved that. Juliet is a huge fan of Christmas, and Matthews uses this to really go to town on the descriptions of everything from the plentiful amounts of food that Juliet buys, to the decorations and lights that adorn the house, and it really cheered me up to read it! Matthews really brings alive the Christmas spirit in this novel, but also goes to highlight the not-so-good things about this time of year too, such as those who are alone or living in worse circumstances than ourselves who we would perhaps otherwise overlook, and the financial burden it can place on people too. I felt the balance was right in this novel, and the story worked well to cover all aspects of Christmas, but managing to keep on the happy side throughout.
The Joyce family were fun to read about, and there was certainly a lot going on this book to keep me hooked! I have to confess to really hating Juliet's children Chloe and Tom, what a horrible couple of children with seemingly no redeeming qualities whatsoever, and I'd never dream of speaking to my parents like they do, or treating their house in the same way either! However, the storyline with Juliet's parents was very touching, and I felt Juliet's fathers story was very sad, and I did cry a few times when I was reading this. Matthews managed to really convey the emotion of the situations so well, it seemed very realistic as I was reading and I couldn't help but feel involved in the tale. Juliet herself was the main character of the story, and I really did love her, I think any busy, working mum at Christmas can relate to her!
I found it a very fun novel to read, and it spread the Christmas cheer for me every time I picked it up for read a few more pages. It manages to put across the emotion of the season, and mixes that with a lot of humour that had me chortling along as I was reading, Matthews has a great way with the comic lines from Juliet! I was consumed by this story, once I was involved I felt I had to know how things were going to end up for the Joyces, and if they would have a great Christmas after everything they'd been through. It is a story that a lot of people will enjoy reading, and probably relate to as well, especially Juliet's Christmas obsession in a lot of cases too I expect! It is a fab festive read that manages to be funny yet sensitive and emotional at the same time, and it's a book I shan't forget for a long time. As I previously said, it's one of my favourite festive reads this year, and it'll give you a warm feeling inside as you're reading. A brilliant book!
I am a big fan of Carole Matthews, I've read all of her books and eagerly awaited her next releases with excitement in my heart. With Love At Christmas incorporates Carole's delightful and compelling writing style with the wonderful holiday of Christmas - What more could a girl want?!
Some of you may recognise the Joyce family from one of Carole's previous books - that Loving Feeling. Well in this book they're all back in time for Christmas - which could turn out to be a chaotic one! Obviously if you have not yet read That Loving Feeling (please do - It is really wonderful!) then you will be starting with these characters fresh and brand new. However, I really liked that they were back for another story, I liked how they were familiar to me, and it was like seeing a relative that lives far away who you haven't seen in a while - warm, loving, and comforting.
Juliet Joyce loves Christmas, she loves everything about it - the decorations, the tree, the food, the magic of the holiday. All in the festive spirit, she is desperate to give her family the perfect Christmas. Juliet's mother has moved back into the family home, causing disruption with sleeping arrangements and leaving the family facing challenges as her moments of confusion increase. Her daughter Chloe has moved back in with her little boy, and is now pregnant with a second child. not only that, Juliet's son Tom is currently unemployed and also facing issues of his own. Then there is Juliet's husband Rick, who is a lovely man but gets caught up in the chaos of it all. Will they have the perfect Christmas?
I really enjoyed this book. I started reading it early one morning and had finished it within the day. I could not put it down!
Carole Matthews has again portrayed the Joyce family in a brilliant, compelling way. I enjoyed that the characters each had their own separate stories, their own issues and plans in their lives, but what I enjoyed most was how all of this revolved around Joyce, how the stories interlinked with each other and all came back to the family. I especially loved the character of Joyce, I loved her personality, her spirit, her caring nature. Another thin that I LOVED was her passion for Christmas! It made the story so fun and enjoyable to read, and I found myself getting excited with her over mince pies and decorations! If I'm honest, as soon as I had finished the book I really wanted to send my fiance up to the loft, have him bring all of the decorations down and get started on putting them up!
With Love At Christmas is a beautiful, warm, festive read with special underlying messages within the pages. It is a book that brings out a range of emotions, as the book includes humour, fun, as well as drama, a bit of sadness and family issues to keep the reader turning the pages - all sprinkled with a helping of Christmas cheer! It is exciting, it is festive and it is a perfect book to put you in the mood for Christmas! Carole Matthews has excelled in her storytelling - This is one to put on your Christmas lists!
on 18 January 2013
Just finished this book, it was fab and couldn't put it down, even at 4am. Definitely recommend this book :)
I loved Wrapped up in You by Carole Matthews last Christmas so I had extremely high hopes for With Love at Christmas this year ( No pressure Carole)!
We are reintroduced to the characters we know and love from a previous book of Carole Matthews, That Loving Feeling which only made this book have even more of a warm cosy feel to it because of the familiarity to the characters. What I love about this group of characters and their story lines are that they are so down to earth that it often feels as though you are reading about the story of the people next door because it all feels so realistic.
I love all of the characters but I have to say on more than one occasion I wanted to throttle them mainly Chloe who quite clearly is used to having everything handed to her on a plate and finds it all too easy to expect her mum to babysit at a drop of a hat because her little boy is obviously a pain when it comes to her social life but then I equally want to throttle Juliet just as much for giving in to her daughter so easy which does Chloe no favours but having said that I still love both of the characters!
This is a perfect Christmas read and it gives you a real festive feeling. The family are building up to the big day and we get to be with them on a traditional Christmas day opening presents and sitting down to a Christmas dinner. There are many little story lines going on through this book involving each of the many characters and yet Carole manages to tie them all up and bring them together so they all come together to make a perfect read.
I think this book brings out every emotion from excitement to family troubles, heartache to romance. Oh and how can I forget the humour! There was more than one occasion where I found myself laughing out loud my favourite involving Juliet and the Kitchen table! Once again I find myself taking my hat off to Carole Matthews she really is the Queen of chick lit and doesn't ever seem to falter so thank you yet again for a fantastic read.
Looking for a traditional and festive story with all the trimmings then With Love at Christmas is the book for you.
on 18 February 2013
This my first experience of Carole Matthews and I really enjoyed this light-hearted story. It's the perfect Christmas read to get you in the festive spirit. Juliet reminds me of the mum in the Asda Christmas advert - the one who does everything, never stops and holds everything together (probably like most mum's)!
This book does touch on all of your emotions. There's happiness and joy with the birth of a new baby and the perfect Christmas day but also there's laugh out loud humour, sadness and compassion and I'm sure on some level we can all relate to the goings on in this household, it's so true to life.
I guessed that it was Merak staying in the shed and by this point you knew that Juliet and Rick would take him in and put him somewhere. There's lots of good feeling in this book and helping out those less fortunate but it's not written in a preachy way.
My favourite was part was Tom walking in on Juliet and Rick in the lounge - makes you think that this probably happens to a lot of couples with kids of all ages in some way, very funny!
Bring on the laughter, food, family and presents. I hope everyone's Christmas is fab as it sounds in this house :)
on 4 January 2013
As a huge Carole Matthews fan, I settled down during the Christmas holidays to read this and it didn't disappoint. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and feel it definitely deserves a full five stars. I would love to write a longer and more in-depth review but I'm doing so on my new Kindle Fire which I'm still getting used to! So even though Christmas has now passed, I would recommend you give this book a go.
Great cover, great idea for the story, but I must admit that the first half of this book I struggled with.
I think the thing was I sat down, saw the cover, saw the tag line by Trisha Astley (not how I would describe the book at all) and I expected it to be full of festive cheer but with a few mishaps or problems.
There were problems and it was heavy and not at all festive really for the first half, by the second half it really picked up and was like a different book, I was pleased the storylines came together, the feel was more Christmas and I was not at that point sorry I bought it, where-by for the first half I had been.
I found the characters mostly annoying and didn't like some comments on house styles and villages that wern't polite and were not needed in the story. I thought Chloe and Tom really spoilt and I found the Husband keeping a secret of the girl in poverty unrealistic, and that it would be ignored by the wife when it looked so suspicious.
So glad it picked up in the second half, but I could not recommend the book.
on 17 November 2012
I nearly enjoyed reading this book as much as I enjoyed looking at the cover ~sooo pretty!
I loved reading about the Joyce family in the run up to Christmas, the characters were really well described and I could picture the chaotic household perfectly in my head. I could really relate to Juliet and all the things that she had to get done in the run up to Christmas against the backdrop of family life. I loved the way she and Rick had a cup of tea at the ready at all times to make things feel better, may as well have a mince pie with it too as it's Christmas! I blame the book for me buying a box of mince pies when it wasn't even the middle of November (Do you have shares in Mr Kipling, Carole?). Only thing I didn't like was the swearing which I felt was unnecessary but I have still given the book five stars anyway as it was a great read. I laughed out loud a couple of times and one or two tears escaped too. Keep up the good work Carole! I haven't read Wrapped Up In You yet but dug it out of my book case this morning to read next...