Sunday, 1 November 2015

Book Review - A Christmas Tail by Cressida McLaughlin

Amazon UK
Title: A Christmas Tail
Author: Cressida McLaughlin
Format reviewed: Paperback
Source: Competiton Win
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date:  5th November 2015
Rating: 5 Stars

This book was first published as an e-serial Primrose Terrace Parts 1-4. Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Lucy Dillon and Debbie Johnson.

A Christmas Tail was first published as a four-part serial set in Primrose Terrace.

Catherine ‘Cat’ Palmer realizes that bringing an adorable puppy into work is a bad idea, especially when it gets her the sack. Deciding it’s the perfect opportunity to launch her dog-walking business, Cat enlists the help of flatmates Polly and Joe. After all Primrose Terrace, the street where they live, is full of home-alone hounds.

Getting to know the owners and their precious pooches isn’t all plain sailing, but soon Cat is making friends, particularly with sexy Mark and his Collie, Chips. But is he the right man for her?

With her talent for misadventure, Cat’s new life starts to show some cracks, and when one of the street’s loveable schnauzers gets ill, it looks like this Christmas could be turning into a dog’s dinner. But Cat has never given up on anything in her life – and this is one Christmas that’s definitely worth saving…

I am so full of enthusiasm for this book, and its fabulous array of characters, lovely plot, some romance and of course the dogs, that I'm not sure what I should say in what order! 

This book had previously been released in four parts, so if you haven't read any of them yet, do get the combined book, definitely worth while, and you can absorb the whole story easily that way. If you have a part or two already, having seen how they all a separated, I can assure you all four are lovely novellas, my favourite being Tinsel and Terriers (Part 4), due to it working as a great Christmas story, full of the Christmas spirit, as well as being a fitting finale to this fine book. 

I'm just going to take a second to exclaim just how pretty the cover of this book is in paperback. It has subtle sparkly glittery snow all over it, but not in an over bearing way, just in a I know its there and its gorgeous way!

Despite the name A Christmas Tail, it really is a book you can read all year around. It does have a fab festive finale, but the rest is set throughout the year,, so easily works when ever you want to read it. 

That being said, there is so much to love in this book, that I don't know why you would want to wait. As a dog lover (but not owner), I have fallen in love many times over in A Christmas Tail, with all the dogs that Cat has to walk. 

My favourites are easily Disco, the puppy that Cat takes into her nursery job with her, and that ultimately loses her that job. But as a result Disco is the catalyst for Cat to take up her new career as a dog walker to all those on Primrose Terrace, who may need her services. My other favourite dog is Olaf, the Spaniel who just seems gorgeous, and belongs to a lovely family, that Cat tries her hardest to help out. Olaf's fancy dress costume, could be considered predictable, but it still had me laughing out loud when revealed!

I think the fact that Cressida McLaughlin names her main character Cat, but has her walking dogs, is the first hint into her sense of humour, and the fun that is present in A Christmas Tail. 

Along with the dogs, there is of course a host of human characters to get to know, from Cat's flatmates, Polly (who is also her best friend), and Polly's brother Joe. I didn't really get a feel for Polly at all, mainly as she spent a lot of the book studying for a veterinary nurse exams, so she was present, but I didn't really see much of her personality shine through. Joe on the other hand, I loved. He is am ace illustrator, who at the start is a bit surly as he is getting over his ex girlfriend. As the story progresses he becomes more and more likeable, and seeing his personal growth and change was lovely to see. 

There are also the various dog owners, most notable the Captain with his Papillon Paris, Jessica and her three Westies, and Jessica turns out to be a real help to Cat, Frankie, and her children, and Spaniel, Olaf, Elsie the lady next door, who has Disco the loveable pup, and the eldest dog on Primrose Terrace, Chalky, who is seen as the wise dog. 

Primrose Terrace is a great place to live, along the coast, not far from Brighton, and has a real neighbourly and loving feel to the place. Everyone starts to come together has Cat runs various events for the residents and their furry friends, and new friendships are formed, and a real community spirit prevails. 

A Christmas Tail, is an uplifting story, that I didn't want to put down. I spent my day at work, wishing I was done, just so I would be able to continue reading. The writing style is easy to follow, and draws you into the heart of the story.

A Christmas Tail is a wonderful debut novel, from a very talented upcoming writer. I can't wait to read more books by her. 

1 comment:

  1. Fab title. Fab cover. Fab review! Well done, Cressida! Thanks for sharing, Rachel. :) xx


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