’Tis the season for change and Becky Brandon (née Bloomwood) is embracing it, returning from the States to live in the charming village of Letherby and working with her best friend, Suze, in the gift shop of Suze’s stately home. Life is good, especially now that Becky takes time every day for mindfulness . . . which actually means listening to a meditation tape while hunting down online bargains.
But Becky still adores the traditions of Christmas: Her parents host, carols play on repeat, her mother pretends she made the Christmas pudding, and the neighbors come ’round for sherry in their terrible holiday sweaters. Things are looking cheerier than ever, until Becky’s parents announce they’re moving to ultra-trendy Shoreditch—unable to resist the draw of craft beer and smashed avocados—and ask Becky if she’ll host this year. What could possibly go wrong?
Her sister demands a vegan turkey, her husband insists that he just wants aftershave—again, and little Minnie demands a very specific picnic hamper: Surely Becky can manage all this, as well as the surprise appearance of an old-boyfriend-turned-rock-star and his pushy new girlfriend, whose motives are far from clear. But as the countdown to Christmas begins and her big-hearted plans take an unexpected turn toward disaster, Becky starts to wonder if chaos will ensue, or if she’ll manage to bring comfort and joy to Christmas after all.
I’ve long been a fan of the character Becky Bloomwood Brandon, the main star of the Shopaholic series. If you like chic lit, then you may be familiar with this popular brand of stories from Sophie Kinsella. I first read the very first book in the shopaholic series several years ago (the first book came around the early 2000s and was even made into a film, Confessions of a Shopaholic).
In short, Becky is a recovering shopaholic, as she’d like to believe. She once was deep into debt, despite working full time, but eventually got out of it and married a wealthy businessman, Luke Brandon. Since the first book in the series, many others have come out, and I have to be honest, I haven’t read them besides this most recent one. So several years later, Becky is still happily married to Luke with a young daughter named Minnie, working part-time at a boutique shop owned by her best friend, Suze.
The Christmas Shopaholic is a witty, lighthearted story. It’s a story you read when you want to laugh and leave your cares behind. I think Becky has a fairly comfortable life, so when her parents surprise her by asking her to host Christmas this year instead of them, she panics, wanting to make this the best Christmas ever. Her sister and her husband, her best friend and her family, her parents, her parents’ friends (their neighbors)—a lot of people are coming. While Becky’s happily planning what to serve and how to decorate, along with what gifts to buy, she gets herself into some sticky situations that are harmless at the end of the day, but keeps you on the edge wondering how she’ll get out of them.
This is not a story that has true villains, maybe annoying, pesky people who try to add more stress for Becky, but nevertheless, I like Becky’s personality and how she navigates her way out of problems and away from people. The end ties up well and leaves a sort of unexpected surprise that makes me hope for a sequel.
Any true cons? I struggled to find one. The story is paced well, and with Becky’s personality and the strange situations she finds herself in, it’s a page-turner. It reminded me of what I loved about the very first book in the series and now I want to read the other stories that I overlooked.
I would recommend this story to those who enjoy chic-lit books and are looking for something light and humorous—a cozy type of read.
4 stars out of 5 stars. This is definitely a feel good, humorous book. It’s not serious with a heavy plot or troublesome villains. It’s actually an appropriate book that’s charming and leaves the reader with a little reminder of what Christmas is all about.
***This book was given to me by NetGalley for an honest review.***