Calling Mrs Christmas by Carole Matthews Book Review

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Title: Calling Mrs Christmas
Author: Carole Matthews
Pages: 464
Publisher: Sphere
Publication date: 1st August 2013
Genre: fiction

About the book
Cassie Smith has been out of work for a while but she has an idea. Drawing on her love of Christmas, she begins charging for small things: wrapping presents; writing cards; tree-decorating. She's soon in huge demand and Cassie's business, Calling Mrs Christmas, is born.

Carter Randall wants to make Christmas special for his children so he enlists Cassie's help, and his lavish requests start taking up all her time. Thank goodness she can rely on her partner Jim to handle the rest of her clients.

When Carter asks Cassie to join them on a trip to Lapland, she knows she shouldn't go. As much as tries, Cassie can't deny how drawn she is to Carter and everything he has to offer, but she still loves her warm-hearted Jim. Suddenly Cassie finds herself facing a heart-breaking choice that could change her entire life.

I'm well and truely into the Christmas spirit and I figured, why not read another Christmas book?! I watch Jess's YouTube videos and I always look out for what books she recommends and one of her favourite Christmas books is Calling Mrs Christmas by Carole Matthews, so I figured I would give it a go since I already had it sitting on my bookshelf.

Firstly, I'm a sucker for a beautifully illustrated book cover and the this one was no exception. Just LOOK at it. If this doesn't give you all the festive feels then I don't know what will.

As well as loving the cover, I really loved the story, too! It's full of Christmas cosiness and after I finished reading it, I desperately wanted to take all my Christmas decorations down so that I could immediately redecorate and put them all back up again (I didn't do that, don't worry).

I also really liked Cassie and found her relatable and not at all perfect. Whilst, yes, she is a nice person and all, that doesn't mean she's not entirely flawless, but that just made her more realistic, and I LOVE that about characters in books, I love it when characters aren't super perfect and pristine but you can still tell that they're a good person, and Cassie was exactly that. The whole reason I've knocked a star off is because Jim, Cassie's partner, is exactly what I don't like in characters; he's too perfect. Like literally the most impeccable person on the planet. Not a bad bone in his body. And that's a little off-putting for me. I like a character who have faults and weaknesses, and Jim didn't have either. I get that the author did this so that the reader would have empathy for him, and don't get me wrong, I did empathise with him, but I'd have liked to have seen him react differently to certain situations, I wanted him to throw a hissy fit when Cassie announced she was off to Lapland with a hunk of a millionaire, I wanted him to slam some doors or tell her he wasn't happy about it. He was just too nice.

I actually really felt for Carter too despite the fact that he also wasn't perfect. He was perfect in the sense of everything he could offer Cassie that Jim couldn't, but he had major personality flaws to begin with. He was a workaholic who put his business before he put his kids, but we saw throughout the book how he came to realise that and change his ways and put his kids before he put work.

Aside from the characters, this book actually touches on some pretty important topics, the main one being young offenders, and the author does this through two characters that Jim takes under his wing in the form of Smudge and Rozzer. Jim works at the Young Offenders Unit at Bovingdale Prison and takes these two "lads" into his and Cassie's home when they are released from the unit and have nowhere else to go. He almost becomes like a father figure to them both and helps to guide them through life on the outside of prison. I really enjoyed this aspect of the book and I enjoyed reading about Jim's job which was both interesting and eye-opening and not something I can say I've given much thought to before.

Another subject touched upon - albeit, not as thoroughly as the young offenders - is loneliness in the older generation. Cassie's very first client is an elderly lady called Mrs Ledbury who hires Cassie to help her write out her Christmas cards as her own hand-writing is no longer readable. Through their conversations, Cassie discovers that Mrs Ledbury's family don't visit her often and she spends most of her time alone. This was especially heartbreaking to read and I wish the subject was explored in more depth throughout the book, but I'm glad that it was included in the book and it was touched upon.

Overall, this book is a little on the chunkier side for a chicklit novel but it doesn't ever feel dragged out or dull in places and I would highly recommend it as a cosy Christmas read.

Verdict: ★★★★

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