Friday 21 October 2016

Book Review - Lizzie's Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow

Amazon UK
Title: Lizzie's Christmas Escape
Author: Christie Barlow
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 21st October
Rating: 4 Stars

A gorgeous country house hotel, a liberal dusting of snow, a cosy weekend away…what more could Lizzie ask for at Christmas?

Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman. And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different. Her girls have grown up and left home, her husband Henry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar. She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbour Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be …

So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance. Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage? Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction?

A funny feel good festive read about rediscovering the magic of Christmas - just the thing to curl up with on a cold winters night.

This is not the story I was expecting, based on what I had read of the blurb. I was expecting a story where the majority of it would be this big weekend country escape, with a best friend, and that it would be incredibly funny and feel good. 

The book I have just read, barely featured an escape, and in fact is a story that felt a bit more serious than I would have wanted at all from  a Christmas book. There is certainly snow and there is definitely  Christmas, and I loved that Lizzie spoke to her Gary Barlow calendar in the same way as Shirley Valentine talks to her wall. 

In fact some of the early bit of the book felt very Shirley Valentine-esque, with the couple very stuck in their routine, and in fact Lizzie's husband Henry even has chips and egg one night each week. Nothing changes from day to day and they are stuck in a rut, and Lizzie is understandably wanting more from her life. 

As a result it is very easy to see why she is flattered by the attention of the charming new neighbour Marcus, in fact I was really attracted to him too, although he did seem a bit too good to be true. Meanwhile Ann has her own things to deal with this Christmas, including a husband that seems to keep working very late,  and a mother who is seriously ill, and siblings that seem to only be interested in money. 

There seems to be a recurring theme about fidelity in this book, with Lizzie trying what to do about Marcus being just one of the relationships in question. 

I loved the unconditional friendship between Ann and Lizzie, even if I didn't really connect to the rest of their families. Lizzie and Ann have a great friendship, and they are very supportive of each other. Despite Ann's drunken flirty nature, she has some very solid words of advice for Lizzie, throughout the story. 

I feel mildly discombobulated as normally when I read a Christie Barlow book, I end up laughing a lot, and yet apart from a couple of very amusing incidents, I just didn't find the book particularly funny, nor did it give me a feeling of Christmas. What it is though is very good story, that was certainly intriguing and kept me guessing about the outcomes. 

Thank you so much to Bookouture and Netgalley for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

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