Thursday 11 December 2014

Book Review - Twelve Days of Christmas

Twelve Days of Christmas
Author: Trisha Ashley
Genres: Contemporary | Adult
Release Date: 28th October 2010
Publishers: HarperCollins
No. Pages: 416
Source: Gifted
Buy From: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Waterstones
Christmas has always been a sad time for young widow Holly Brown, so when she's asked to look after a remote house on the Lancashire moors, the opportunity to hide herself away is irresistible – the perfect excuse to forget about the festivities.

Sculptor, Jude Martland, is determined that this year there will be no Christmas after his brother runs off with his fiancée and he is keen to avoid the family home. However, he will have to return by the twelfth night of the festivities, when the hamlet of Little Mumming hold their historic festivities and all of his family are required to attend.

Meanwhile, Holly is finding that if she wants to avoid Christmas, she has come to the wrong place. When Jude unexpectedly returns on Christmas Eve he is far from delighted to discover that Holly seems to be holding the very family party he had hoped to avoid. Suddenly, the blizzards come out of nowhere and the whole village is snowed in. With no escape, Holly and Jude get much more than they bargained for – it looks like the twelve days of Christmas are going to be very interesting indeed..

Twelve Days of Christmas was another 'out of my comfort zone' read - it's adult, it's romantic and it's got much older characters than I'm used to, and because of this, reviewing adult books seems to throw me for seconds because what I'd usually look for and critic and base opinions off is so much different to what I'm looking for in an adult contemporary, but what I do know, is that this novel was seasonal, it was pretty festive, it made me insanely hungry for food I've never heard of, let alone eaten, and it was a lovely to get into the festive season with. Was it perfect? No, but it was still pretty good for my third adult novel.

Lets start with what could easily put people off - the food. You see, Holly our main character, is a chef and as the story unfolds, she finds herself doing a lot of cooking, and I mean, a lot of cooking and while I personally didn't have a huge issue with this, although it's hard to deny that it did take away from the story a little, many other people might do. It's detailed, not to the point of a recipe, but you can definitely feel Holly's passion for cooking and it shows through the story, you can almost touch it, it's that vibrant - if you'd rather have lots of people and more story and a little less information on cooking, then maybe lower your expectations a little, yes? Since the food wasn't what put me off, what did then? Well, for me, it was the also one of the features that I really came to enjoy..

The romance. Damn Amanda, why can't you just be pleased or annoyed, why must you be both? I don't mean to be difficult, but while the romance was - well, it was really quite enjoyable, seeing Holly and Jude, both creative people in their own right, who like commitment in a relationship, have both been hurt in love and both feel so passionately not only about the people they love, but what they love, it was also a little irritating how quickly it seemed to develop. Of course, you've got your rubbing up the wrong way interval within the first 150 pages which consist quite a lot of polite but clearly very angry arguments and a lot of phone slamming, courtesy of both characters strong characters who really came across as the leader of their little world, with their strict rulings and their sarcastic humour and emotional detachment to other people, which really isn't what I had expected, that and this was all in the first third of the novel, we didn't actually meet Jude until after this point. Then you had your 'slowly finds out the assumptions about you were wrong and apologies' which was actually quite a nice part of the novel because it meant you could see more about their past and how they'd become the characters they were, growth in the present day was featured, but growth from who they used to be and who they became by the end of the novel was quite impressive. However, this segment also meant that while some people would enjoy the slow connection period, I was dying for some serious sexual tension and some really quite steamy moments, but they never came.. I'm assuming by now that you can come to your cliche conclusions about the end of the novel, and trust me, I enjoyed it, it was the light, enjoying read I needed with mature characters with mature lives and hardships that had arrived and changed the course they'd set for themselves, I actually felt like I could relate and connect to these characters, but the romance itself felt instantly jealousy ridden and Jude had strong 'I'm an Alpha, do as I say' moments about him which, I don't like, but didn't hinder the novels overall feel either. It's difficult, because since the feature of romance is big in Twelve Days of Christmas, it's the one feature that has me torn.

There were however lots of other features in Twelve Days of Christmas that I thoroughly enjoyed, ranging from a slight toe-dipping into eating disorders and the pressures being in the media put on people, whether that be from how you look to other people or how you're liked by other people, to huge family aspects; distant parents, dead parents, friendship parents, grandparent parents, wanting to be parents and becoming parents, it could sound quite daunting to somebody else, but I think the closeness that these aspects created fitted so perfectly well with the story and characters and only helped create wonderful relationships between them all. Holly and Jess's relationship was possibly my favourite, there was a sense of respect and kindness, involvement and care and Jess's childlike ways bounced off Holly's more restrained and reserved nature perfectly, while Noel's friendliness and heart-warming nature balanced out Tilda's slight bossy ways, Holly and Michael's quick making friendship was also well received, there was a level of support and care, and even Holly's long distance friendship with Laura was clearly beautiful and supportive, damn, even the contrast between Guy and Jude and their relationship with one another was just fantastic. All of these relationships formed with one another was wonderful in their own right, developed and delved into deep enough, but not too deeply and I found it was a really nice addition to the novel. There were a large number of characters in this novel, that's hard to ignore, and with the addiction of Holly's grandmother's pages and her history and how the two story's linked and became linked in the most heart-breaking and wonderful ways, I think the whole story in Twelve Days of Christmas was wrapped up very nicely indeed. (Get it?)

Twelve Days of Christmas is not a developed story, it's not a contemporary in the way that a young adult novel is, this is mature, it's dark, it covers small amounts of fried and depression and the lows that come with hardship, but it's also extremely good at delving into human nature, caring and loving and feeling like you belong somewhere, anywhere with someone. The family aspects in this novel were wonderful, the humour was just enough to bring a lightness and the food people - THE FOOD - this book made me insanely jealous and very hungry. I'll definitely be reading more of Trisha Ashley's, whether it be this season or the next time festivities come knocking on the door, because her work is enjoyable, easy to read and quite light and refreshing. Maybe I'll find myself reading more adult novels in the future too, who knows..


  1. I was all ready to add this one to my TBR until you mentioned the excessive food and cooking descriptions. So although I'm sad that I won't be reading a book that otherwise sounds interesting, I am grateful to you for pointing out that detail.

    1. Aww, are you not into that when reading Leila? I cannot lie, it does play a HUGE part of the novel..


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