During the Holidays, I ended up reading two Christmas books (it wasn’t intended, they were just in my library) and both were based in Department stores, Christmas at Carrington and Christmas at Claridges.
Christmas at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown
Blurb:A deliciously indulgent read and the follow up to Cupcakes at Carrington’s. Set in Carrington’s Department Store this is perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan.
Carrington’s Department store is thrown into a spin when the staff learn that a hot new reality TV show is to be filmed in-store, featuring the formidable retail guru, Kelly Cooper. Georgie Hart, in charge of Luxury Handbags, is reluctant, but quickly realises that the show could give Carrington’s a new lease of life. With Christmas around the corner, she’s also hoping that the season will deliver her the perfect Christmas present, in the form of Tom, the store’s dishy boss.
When the film crew arrive, things start to go wrong. One of Tom’s old flames, Zara, is working on the show and then, to top things off, Tom and Zara are sent off to Paris and New York for a spot of extra filming. When Georgie settles down in front of the box to watch the first show, worse it to come – Georgie is shown in a far from flattering light and she is horrified to learn what Tom has been up to.
Georgie fears this is turning out to be the worst Christmas ever, but Santa might have a got a little surprise in store for her stocking this year – but she’ll just have to wait until Christmas to find out
My thoughts: 3 out of 5 .Writing this review I realized I never commented on the original book on this series in this blog. So before i go into Christmas at Carringtons, a note: Go read Cupcakes at Carringtons. It is a thoroughly enjoyable little chick lit book, that you will read very quickly and enjoy. This book, Christmas at Carringtons, is the second book in the series, and I found it quite enjoyable. It is not a masterpiece, but for the genre it is quite good. I like the characters and how can i not enjoy when department stores, Christmas and TV collide (three of my favorite things). But definitely do not read it if you haven’t read Cupcakes, as it will ruin the entirety of the first book. Also, a lot of the character development in the first book, doesn’t flow to this one, so you really will not understand half of what is motivating these characters.
Christmas at Claridges by Karen Swan
Blurb: This was where her dreams drifted to if she didn’t blot her nights out with drink; this was where her thoughts settled if she didn’t fill her days with chat. She remembered this tiny, remote foreign village on a molecular level and the sight of it soaked into her like water into sand, because this was where her old life had ended and her new one had begun.’Portobello – home to the world-famous street market, Notting Hill Carnival and Clem Alderton. She’s the queen of the scene, the girl everyone wants to be or be with. But beneath the morning-after makeup, Clem is keeping a secret, and when she goes too far one reckless night she endangers everything – her home, her job and even her adored brother’s love.Portofino – a place of wild beauty and old-school glamour, and where a neglected villa has been bought by a handsome stranger. He wants Clem to restore it for him and it seems like the answer to all her problems – except that Clem has been there once before and vowed, for her own protection, never to return . .
My thoughts: 2.5/3 out of 5. This is neither a book about Christmas nor a book about the Claridges. This has got to be the worst book title I have seen. The relation to Christmas at Claridges relates to the final scene of the book and nothing of the remaining 99% of the book have anything to do with it. There could have been so many better titles! It is about Portobello in Notting Hill and Portofino in Italy, two of my favorite places in the world! that alone makes for a great alliterative title.
As for the book itself – There are many mixed feelings. The prologue had some of the worst writing I have seen in a while. Descriptive to a fault and it’s attempt to be dark and mysterious just made it laughable. In the rest of the book the writing cleans up to a more natural pace and makes it more palatable. I actually even started enjoying the story, it is quite addictive and I had a hard time putting the book down until it was done, as you really want to know what happens. Great literature it is not, but it can be an OK beach book in a crunch.