Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!
Title: Lizzie’s Christmas Escape
Author: Christie Barlow
Published: October 21st, 2016
Lizzie is in a rut. Her children have grown up and left home, her husband goes to work, expects dinner, then sits in his seat to watch darts. Lizzie talks to her best friend and sidekick, Ann, and her Gary Barlow calendar about how she wants things to change, but she’s done nothing about it – till inspiration arrives in the form of her new neighbour, Marcus. He’s temptation on two legs as far as Lizzie is concerned – and the feeling seems to be mutual. Should she succumb?
There are a plethora of well developed characters and relationships in this enthralling story, but most are hiding their true feelings and motivations and it is their revelations that make this such a great story. Everyone seems to be playing a role but it isn’t necessarily a role they want for life. This sets up conflicts and turmoil that only honesty can help resolve. There are lies, deception and so much more to be uncovered for any of the relationships to stand a chance of a long term HEA. It certainly wasn’t the story I’d expected from the blurb – most of it is the lead up to the escape and the breakdown in relationships rather than a fun festive romance. Not everything works out for everyone concerned. There are some traumatic and life changing discoveries to be made before the end, especially as people become aware of the infidelities of others. There are some laugh out loud moments amongst the turmoil and it leads to a festive finale – a good story that is well written, has great complex characters and keeps you guessing about how things will work out right to the very end.
I’ve said this before but just have to share it again. I was excited to be able to download an advanced reader copy of this novel and tweeted to share my news. Whilst there I checked out the page of the author, Christie Barlow, and learnt that the book is dedicated to one of her friends, Ann Sandeman, and her name is used for one of the characters . . . . I also found out why. It seems that Ann is a 45 year old single mum with three children aged 8, 10 and 12 years old. She is also a feisty lady who has been fighting cancer for the last nine years. You can read more about this in this newspaper article http://m.theargus.co.uk/news/14680670.Mum_battling_terminal_cancer_to_appear_in_book/ …
Ann sounds link an inspirational lady and is a great character in the book. I hope she makes a full and speedy recovery and achieves her own HEA in reality!
If you’re inspired by Ann’s story and wish to donate to either of the charities she supports, Clic Sargent – @TeamCLICSargent – http://www.clicsargent.org.uk/content/donate?gclid=CKuCjcXVvs4CFUETGwodRawHtA …
and Walk the Walk – @WalktheWalk – http://www.walkthewalk.org/donate/
I was gifted an ARC of this novel via NetGalley. This is my honest opinion.
A gorgeous country house hotel, a liberal dusting of snow, a cosy weekend away…what more could Lizzie ask for at Christmas?
Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman. And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different. Her girls have grown up and left home, her husband Henry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar. She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbour Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be …
So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance. Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage? Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction?
A funny feel good festive read about rediscovering the magic of Christmas – just the thing to curl up with on a cold winters night.
This book is available from a variety of sources including
Click on the title to read my review of an earlier book by this author –
Kitty’s Countryside Dream