Family-orientated and Christmas-dinner cook extraordinaire Juliet is trying to keep it together in the wake of her marriage breakdown two Christmases ago, but the cracks are beginning to show.
Bright and vivacious Gemma was always the favourite daughter…So she has no qualms about leaving Christmas in her sister Juliet’s capable hands, and escaping the pressures of her glamorous job, and the festive madness by jetting off to somewhere warm.
When Gemma shirks responsibility once too many and announces she’s off to the Caribbean (again!), Juliet finally snaps. Gemma offers her sister the perfect solution – to swap Christmases: she’ll stay home and cook the turkey (how hard can it be?) and Juliet can fly off into the sun and have a restorative break.
In the midst of all the chaos, there’s Will, Juliet’s dishy neighbour who’s far too nice to float Gemma’s boat and may secretly harbour feelings for her sister; and Marco, the suave Italian in the villa next door, who has his own ideas about the best way to help Juliet unwind. Will the sisters abandon caution and make this a Christmas swap to remember?
So, the first review of this year is dedicated to the last book I read in 2014. And this was quite a good book to end the year on. A classic, feel-good holiday read that reminded me a little of the film The Holiday, starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet. Except that this time, the holiday swap is between two sisters who have a lot of unresolved issues linked to their childhood. Oh, and there are four incredibly vivacious children to be dealt with too. And a missing turkey.
I really liked the idea behind this story, and I loved seeing how these two completely different sisters managed to use the holiday swap as a way to step into each other’s shoes. As the story delves deep into the thought processes of both Juliet and Gemma, it was really interesting to see what they thought of one another, and how their past influenced the way each of them interpreted the other’s actions and decisions, but also how their different interpretation and memories of their childhood became incredibly relevant in their present relationship. I loved the characters, especially Juliet and Gemma. I found them so realistic, with all their flaws and fears. They weren’t afraid to question themselves, but they were also funny and witty, and left me giggling more than once. Oh, and the St Lucia setting was just gorgeous! Many times I wished I, too, like Juliet could be tanning and bathing in those blue waters.
Overall, this was a pretty good read. It was very entertaining and uplifting, a classic feel-good holiday novel. It didn’t turn my world around, and some things certainly left me wanting, but it definitely gave me a few pleasant reading hours.