The Night Before Christmas

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The Night Before Christmas, Scarlett Bailey, book reviewScarlett Bailey is a new author and The Night before Christmas is her first novel. For a début, it really is very good and is a lovely seasonal read in the run up to Christmas. I pretty much loved all of it and it had an absorbing storyline that grabbed my attention and kept it from start to finish.

As the title would suggest, the story takes place over the Christmas period, culminating in all sorts of things going on during Christmas Eve. The central character is Lydia who, with her boyfriend Stephen, is heading to the Lake District ready to spend Christmas with her closest friends, Katy, Alex and Joanna. Snow is falling and Lydia should be feeling on Cloud Nine after unexpectedly discovering an engagement ring in Stephen’s drawer leading her to suspect that a Christmas Day proposal might be imminent. However, there is a problem which is that, since her discovery, she is starting to question her feelings for Stephen and she is not at all sure what her answer will be!

Things are further complicated when Joanna arrives with her new boyfriend who turns out to be Jackson, the former love of Lydia’s life who suddenly and inexplicably disappeared a couple of years before. Confused by the feelings his appearance has stirred, and still needing answers, Lydia finds herself drawn towards Jackson again. To add to the confusion, Will, a local handyman, is called in to repair the old aga, and Lydia feels an instant attraction towards him too. With her emotions in turmoil, it doesn’t look as if Lydia will have the straightforward, old fashioned merry Christmas that she was hoping for!

The Night before Christmas really is a good read and has all of the ingredients that kept me wanting to read more. Firstly, the storyline is very entertaining with lots going on but not too much to make it confusing. Although never having been in the delightful predicament of having three men to choose from, I can sympathise with the position that Lydia finds herself in, particularly as she does not want to hurt anyone. Also, they are all snowed in, the heating is faulty, there is the possibility of no roast turkey if they can’t get the aga to work and one of the women is very heavily pregnant. These all contribute to lots of tension and heated emotions and a fair bit of comedy as well!

The characters are all very interesting and there are lots of different relationships to follow. Each of Lydia’s friends – Katy, Alex and Joanna – has their own story to tell, and by the end of the book, you do feel as if you have got to know them all very well. I also found myself liking them all too which, for me is a good thing, as it means that I started to care what happened to them. My only slight criticism was the fact that Scarlett Bailey seemed to feel the need to make these women swear and in particular to use the F word, which did not seem to fit their characters at all and I felt it was quite unnecessary.

Apart from that, The Night before Christmas is a great Christmas read and one that I can definitely recommend. I shall also be on the look out for many more great reads from Scarlett Bailey.

The Night before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey
Published by Ebury Publishing, October 2011
I would like to thank the publishers for sending me a review copy.

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Night Before Christmas, The
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Written by kingfisher

My name is Jo and I have been married to Simon for nine years. We have two beautiful daughters – Rachel who is six and Natalie who is almost five and starting school in January. I also have two step children aged twenty one and seventeen so family life is never dull. I also manage to work three days for a local education authority where I support the teaching of literacy in primary schools. I love my job and it’s ideal for a book lover like me. In my spare time I run, dance and occasionally tread the boards with my local amateur dramatics group. My first love is reading though and you will never find me without a book on the go. My husband is also an avid reader and we are hoping to pass on our love of reading to our daughters. They certainly love their bedtime stories every night. Although I have and English degree and I am familiar with most of the classics, I generally read much lighter stuff these days. It’s mainly ‘chic lit’ but I also enjoy a good thriller or courtroom drama. I have so many favourite authors and this list tends to change regularly depending on what I am reading.

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