Friday, 30 October 2015

Book Review - A Christmas Cracker by Trisha Ashley

Amazon UK
Title: A Christmas Cracker
Author: Trisha Ashley
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Avon
Publication Date: 22nd October 2015 
Rating: 4 Stars

This Christmas is about to go off with a bang!

Things can’t possibly get worse for Tabby. Framed for a crime she didn’t commit, she suddenly finds herself without a job. Then to make matters worse, Tabby’s boyfriend dumps her and gives her cat away to a shelter.

But rescue comes in the form of kindly Mercy. A master of saving waifs and strays, Mercy wants Tabby to breathe new flair into her ailing cracker business. Together, they’ll save Marwood’s Magical Christmas Crackers.

But someone has other ideas. Mercy’s nephew Randal thinks Tabby’s a fraudster. Stubborn, difficult and very attractive, her future depends upon winning him round. But it’s that time of the year when miracles really can happen. Standing under the mistletoe, Tabby’s Christmas is set to be one that she will never forget . . .

This was a really great story, which contained a few things that I haven't seen often in books if at all. 

Tabby is an ex-con, she was sent to prison for a crime she didn't commit, but was framed for. When she is in prison she is visted by Mercy Marwood, who offers to take her in and provide a job and accommodation when she is released.

Mercy is a Quaker, and it was fascinating to learn more about the religion, in a gentle way. I recall when I was about 11 having a couple of lessons about the Quakers and then not given it or them another thought until this book. Part of this means she is a wonderful person, who is accepting of people's faults, believes Tabby to be innocent, and has a habit of hiring ex-cons. 

Mercy runs what is now the failing Marwood's Magical Christmas Crackers workshop, but as she had her eye off the ball recently, while doing charity work in Malawi. It is very refreshing to have a Christmas Cracker workshop as the setting and main workplace for a book. I had never given much thought to how they were made before, and its quite nice to think that in this case, its a group of older people, being given their second chance in life, making something that is actually quite skilled. 

Tabby along with Randal, Mercy's nephew, have some impressive plans to turn the business around. However Randal doesn't trust or like Tabby, and was partly instrumental in her old bosses fraud being discovered. 

The plot is possibly simpler than I am making it sound. It is though a great story, running for almost a year, finishing with Christmas, but due to the nature of the business you are thinking about Christmas a lot. But for this reason, I wouldn't say its my favourite festive book, although if I ignore that its a brilliant book, and one I really enjoyed. 

There are some great characters including Mercy who has such energy and enthusiasm for everything, and such a loving personality.  

The setting of Godsend, near Little Mumming will be familiar to Trisha Ashley fans, especially mentions of a chocolatier in Sticklepond. There are small of various places and characters that have been present in previous of her books, and its also nice to see a nod to other books. 

Thanks to Netgalley and Avon for this review copy. This is my honest opinion. 

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