Christmas for Beginners by Carole Matthews

Reviewed by Sophie

Despite not reading the first book ” Happiness for beginners”, Carole does an excellent job of bringing the reader up to speed in the first few chapters without letting too much out of the bag.
I will be making sure I read the first book in due course.

An easy, nice read from start to finish.

I loved the setting for this book. The fact that the farm is used as an outreach program for troubled youths really interested me. The characters were described realistically and I was touched by each of the students’ troubles and situations. I felt like…wanting to rescue them all from their current situations and hug them.

The protagonist, Molly seems older than in her 30’s. Her relationship with actor Shelby is something to be desired. From the beginning, I dislike Shelby and his attitude towards the farm and his son Lucas who is in the care of Molly while he thinks of nothing but his acting career. I do start to feel for him at some points during the book, but my aggravation comes back too many times. I know his relationship with his son is strained but he doesn’t even try. I feel this is where reading the first book would have been helpful.
Love the other supporting characters lovely Bev, stroppy Lucas and loved up Alan.

The whole way through the book I keep thinking how patient Molly is. With her relationship with Shelby, the animals, the children and with Lucas. Especially after Lucas announces his bombshell and her own heartbreaking loss.

I struggled a bit to get into the story at first but quickly became engrossed in the book. The Christmas feeling on the farm definitely helped and I actually wet myself laughing at the fiasco with the alpacas in the nativity. (Just you wait.)

All in all a splendid read; not just for Christmas.

Author: Carole Matthews
Publisher: Sphere
Release Date: 29 October 2020

Sunny Days and Sea Breezes by Carole Matthews

Reviewed by Sophie:

Just like an ice lolly on a hot day, this book was just what I needed and moreish from the first bite.

It has the recipe of a gorgeous chiclit, girl moves to a new place, girl makes friends, girl meets boy etc. But there is more to the book. I totally felt for Jodie. Carole Matthews doesn’t throw the reader in to Jodie’s story, she weaves it in slowing. Giving her little bits of information gradually.
Being a recent first time mum, who also had news in my pregnancy that made me feel fear that I had never felt before, I completely felt for Jodie’s horrific tragedy. I felt her loss and pain. Her need to grieve and the space needed.

I loved the setting. It made me recall a holiday I took to Jersey…I know it’s not the Isle of Wight but I felt the same when reading about the place. It made me smile and feel the memories of the holiday flooding back.

Matthews’ vocabulary is scrumptious. With the use of some beautiful adjectives throughout the book. I especially love her use of description of the various elements especially the imagery created about ‘Sunshine ‘ and ‘seabreeze’. Her use of specific detail made me melt into the pages and felt like I was being given a virtual tour of the houseboats.

She always manages to make you feel cosy and happy through her writing and the characters she creates. This story has the same delicious ingredients of a heart warming book.

Author: Carole Matthews
Publisher: Sphere
Release date: 25 June 2020