Name: It Must Have Been The Mistletoe
Author: Judy Astley
Number of Pages: 352 (Hardback)
Published: 25th September 2014 by Transworld
Genre: Womens fiction
Thea’s parents decide to host a big family Christmas in a house by the sea. even though they are, in fact, about to split up. Thea herself is newly single – her sister and brother are both settled, with children, homes and a future. But Thea’s boyfriend has ditched her in favour of his pedigree dogs, and Thea can’t decide whether or not she minds.
There will be copious food and drink, holly and mistletoe, lots of bracing walks and a wintry barbecue on the beach. If it seems an odd way to celebrate the final break-up of a marriage and the Moving On to new partners, no- one is saying so. But then no-one had anticipated that the new partners might actually turn up to complicate the sleeping arrangements.
As Cornwall experiences the biggest snowstorm in living memory, the festive atmosphere comes under some strain. Will Thea manage to find some happiness for herself? Will the mistletoe work its magic on them all? – from GoodReads
This is the first of my Christmassy reads this year, and it was a pure joy of a read.
Losing myself in the pages of this great story made me feel like I wanted to go on holiday to Cornwall, take up residence in a coastal cottage and sit beside a log fire to read, cuddled up in the warmth and out of the snow. (Yes, I’m getting ever so slightly carried away by this picture as so far not one flake of snow has fallen from the sky here!).
It Must Have Been The Mistletoe is an easy, relaxing read of families, relationships both old and new, and holidays – a perfect blend to brighten the dark winter nights, or to relax with after a hectic day out Christmas shopping.
I enjoyed the festive holiday from home, and the coming together of a whole family under unique circumstances (the parents, Anna and Mike arranged the holiday as a last family get together before their amicable divorce). Into this picture come Alec and Charlotte, prospective new partners for Anna and Mike, which makes for an interesting addition to the tale, and somehow it’s not at all awkward, but a good addition to the plot.
All is not smooth sailing though during this seasonal vacation – the divorce issue is ever-present but seldom discussed directly, Thea has been through a recent break up and other personal heartbreak, and the prospect of the group being snowed in for a length of time and cut off from everyone else all add to the tale, but there is also a real sense of hope for new beginnings which is really uplifting.
Cornwall is a beautiful place and is captured perfectly in this story – the windswept beaches and the ocean, braved by surfers even though it must be freezing cold, and beautiful coastline just perfect for a bracing winter walk. What a wonderful place to spend Christmas.
The novel features an interesting array of characters from handsome surfer Sean, who could be just the person to help Thea overcome her failed relationship (or could he?), to Charlotte and Alec, the new love interests, and anxious Emily, who worries about anything and everything. Even Woody the Siamese cat is a real charmer of a character.
I was so glad I chose this book for my first festive read. It is definitely one to get you into the Christmas mood.