Book review: The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey

22 Dec

All Lydia’s ever wanted is a perfect Christmas…

So when her oldest friends invite her to spend the holidays with them, it seems like the answer to her dreams. She’s been promised log fires, roasted chestnuts, her own weight in mince pies; all in a setting that looks like something out of a Christmas card.

However, her winter wonderland is about to be ruined by the ghosts of boyfriends past, present and potential future. She’s snowed in with her current boyfriend, her old flame and a hunky stranger. Well, three (wise) men is traditional at this time of year…

This is Scarlett Bailey’s debut novel and if you’ll pardon the pun; it’s a cracker! The Night Before Christmas is exactly the sort of read that I like to curl up with at this time of year but despite the huge number of Christmassy releases it still felt fresh and I definitely think Scarlett is one to watch on the Chick Lit front.

The story is told in the third person which I felt made it stand out as a little bit different from many of the books I’ve read recently that focus on a lead female, telling the story from her point of view. This is still very much Lydia’s story but I liked the different perspective . I also liked Lydia; she’s a bit of a romantic at heart but also a career girl and it was interesting to see the different sides to her character; romantic movie and book lover, focused career girl barrister, friend and girlfriend. Lydia is very idealistic in many ways, dreaming of a ‘perfect’ Christmas to make up for the horrible ones she suffered as a child.

As the book begins and she heads for her friends’ picture perfect hotel in the snowy Lake District with her boyfriend Stephen (who is carrying an engagement ring) it looks like everything might be about to finally work out for Lydia, but of course things don’t quite go according to plan once the couple arrive at their destination! I loved the nod to A Christmas Carol in this book as Lydia not only has to deal with her present boyfriend (who she’s not sure she wants to marry) but upon arrival is confronted with a past boyfriend who broke her heart and the added confusion of a hunky builder who could just be her future love!  I loved the romance of the story and wondering who Lydia would eventually end up with made for fun reading even if she does make some big mistakes along the way!

In addition to Lydia and Stephen there is a great supporting cast in the book as Lydia’s three closest friends, their partners and children gather for Christmas. Friends Jo, Katy and Alex made me smile as I could see exaggerated versions of my own university friends in them and I loved the banter between the four female characters. Bailey captured the dynamic between them and their partners really well and I thought Katy’s children were fab, making me laugh with their off the wall comments and straight to the point questions. I also loved the fact that all of the characters, especially Lydia, were flawed and made mistakes and the wrong choices during the book.

This is the book to choose if you are looking for a festive story that is set completely at Christmas as the main part of the story runs from 21st-27th December. It’s also the book for you if you’re looking for a lovely romantic festive read that focuses on what Christmas is really about; being with the people you love. A great debut and I’m already looking forward to reading more from Scarlett!


4 Responses to “Book review: The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey”

  1. Barbara Adams 22nd December 2011 at 10:55 am #

    I read this book a few weeks ago and i have to say it’s a must read, i was hooked it’s so lovely and Christmasy too, you really feel like your there. Can’t wait for Scarlett’s next book :-)

  2. Dot 22nd December 2011 at 1:52 pm #

    I really enjoyed this one too! Got me feeling very festive!

  3. Jenni 22nd December 2011 at 4:44 pm #

    I love the sound of this, it sounds like my sort of festive read.

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