Not Just for Christmas by Natalie Cox Book Review

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Not Just For Christmas (previously published as Mutts & Mistletoe)
Author: Natalie Cox
Pages: 320
Publisher: G.P Putnam's Sons
Publication date: 9th October 2018
Genre: fiction

About the book
Her boyfriend has left her for his personal trainer, her mother has absconded with her latest husband for the holidays, and - adding insult to (literal) injury - her London apartment has just been destroyed by a gas leak. Single, mildly concussed and temporarily homeless, Charlie realises there's only one place to go: Cozy Canine Cottages, where she'll spend the season looking after her cousin Jez's doggy day care centre. And if she's not exactly a dog person, well, no one has to know...

But her plans for a quiet Christmas in a quaint country village are quickly dashed. Peggy the pregnant beagle and Malcolm the anxious Great Dane seem determined to keep her up all night. A strange man has been casing her cousin's house. And where is Cal, the unbearably patronising but disturbingly handsome local vet, when she needs him?

As the days tick down to Christmas, Charlie's life has never felt so out of control, but with some help from her new four-legged friends, she just might learn a thing or two about living in the moment, embracing the unexpected and opening herself up to love...

I've been ridiculously eager to pick up my first Christmas read of the year and I figured, what better choice than one about dogs?!

I really, really enjoyed this book and I'm so glad I picked this one first for my first Christmas read of the year. I absolutely loved Charlie's character. I found her spontaneous and witty; she wasn't at all unrealistic and she is someone I really warmed to and was an all round, well-written character who had great dialogue and acted her age (in fact, all of the characters in this book acted their age, which is a huge deal breaker for me if they don't), but it's the dogs and the details of their different personalities that really, really drew me into this book. Their quirks and different characteristics really stood out but it was Malcolm the deaf dane and Peggy the pregnant beagle that were the stars of the show for me. I feel for a book that has 7 dogs written into it, it would have been very easy to forgot which dog was which, but it was very easy to differentiate each dog as they were all incredibly well written & held their own character which make the dogs easy to remember by name.

I truly loved this story. The plot was simple but engaging and the whole book was just really well written. I've knocked a star off purely because the ending was far too open and there were too many unanswered, lingering questions that I feel like could have been better tied up. There is also a slight LGBTQ+ storyline running in the background which I would have liked to have had more closure on too.

This book is obviously based around Christmas but it wasn't shoved down your throat or overly Christmas-y, so if you don't like over-the-top Christmas settings, this one might be a good one for you.

If you're looking for a good cosy Christmas book with well-rounded characters (and you love dogs), I highly recommend this book.

Verdict: ★★★★

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