Saturday, 8 November 2014
Secret Santa by Scarlett Bailey
Published by Ebury
Purchase from Amazon here
A self-confessed Christmas queen, Sue Montaigne prides herself on organising the annual nativity pageant in her small Cornish village of Poldore.
But this year, what with having to deal with the repairs on Castle House after it was wrecked by a terrible storm, training a new – and frankly flighty – Virgin Mary and managing a Joseph who is allergic to sheep, she is distinctly lacking a little bit of ‘me time’.
And then there are the auditions for the new Santa. But nothing prepares her for the beautiful man who turns up, a twinkle in his eye and a promise to make her Christmas dreams come true…
I'm sat here typing and humming 'Santa Claus is coming to town' thanks to Scarlett Bailey and Secret Santa! This novella is a fun festive read with some romance that I really enjoyed.
We meet Sue, the village do-er in the build up to Christmas. Sue is the centre of village life and is taking the lead on organising all the village festivities. When we meet her she is desperately trying to convince one of the locals to don his Santa suit for the annual Christmas pageant and grotto....without much success!
Sue seems to operate on one speed.....full throttle! I was exhausted thinking about her juggling her big house, children, and being centre of the community. But I also recognised that I like to be just as busy and thrive on it. We soon find out that Sue's husband Rory has left her after yet another affair, but she is trying to keep it all together and hide it from her kids and everyone else until after Christmas. Her life is not easy and she could do with financial help and support, but is more concerned about others than herself.
The book is a bit like a panto in so much that we have the baddie I wanted to boo and hiss at every time they are mentioned, and we have a Prince Charming who I wanted our heroine, Sue, to live happily ever after with. There was also magical mystery in Nick who takes on the role of Santa. Where did he appear from and how is he so special?
In her quest to find a Santa, Sue approaches famous actor Blake who lives in the village. He agrees to help her audition for the part, and it leads to them becoming friends. Could there be more to it? I liked Blake. Quiet and unassuming he would be lovely to be around, and I was willing Sue to spot this and for them to come together and be happy.
I also loved her friends. They rallied round her when they found out that Rory had left her and the advise and some scenes made me laugh out loud. I felt a real affinity to Sue and wanted to tell her what for and that life is too short to look after everyone else all the time. There is great support to be had from your girlfriends and this novella showcases it brilliantly.
The story is a mix of lighthearted fun as well as some pull at the heart string moments which I really enjoyed. I loved moving towards Christmas with the culmination on Christmas Eve when we get to see how it all comes together. My daughter is 21 now so Christmas is very different to when she was younger. This story has me hankering after the days of grottos, stockings and snowmen. I hope you enjoy this story as much as I have.
I spotted the name of a fabulous book blogger amongst the characters. I hope she sees it. What an honour to be cast in a story by such a great author!
Thank you to Ebury who provided a copy in return for an honest review.