Okay, confession time: I only read this book because it was free on iBooks and I wanted something Christmassy. What could be more Christmassy than a book called I Heart Christmas?
I paid no attention to the fact that it was the middle of a series, and just plunged in. Boy, was that a mistake. Starting a series at book 6 isn’t the best way to make for an easy reading experience, and meant that I disliked this book a lot more than I might have if I had come at it in the right way.
Angela’s planning her very own fairytale of New York…
• Enormous Christmas tree
• Eccentric British traditions
• Gorgeous man
But Santa’s throwing her a few curveballs – new job (as if it’s not mental enough already), new baby-craze from her best friend Jenny, and Alex determined they should grow up and settle down. Once friends start turning up uninvited on her doorstep (and leading her astray), can Angela really have a merry little Christmas? So much for happy holidays – something’s got to give…
My main issue with this book was that it was the middle of a series. Characters and plot points had already been introduced and developed, so I wasn’t exactly sure of what was going on. Worse, though, than simply accepting that this was the middle of the series and shouldn’t really be read on its own, this book shoehorns in summaries of everything that had happened in the previous six books at every opportunity, presumably to make it accessible to the reader who starts in the wrong place (i.e. me) but in my opinion, succeeding only in irritating the new reader with not enough information, and probably patronising the experienced reader with plot points they already recall.
On top of that difficulty, I just didn’t like Angela as a main character. I didn’t believe her relationship with her husband, I didn’t think her friends were any fun, and I didn’t really connect with her in any way. Her forced British-ness in the middle of American culture at Christmas was jarring and overplayed, and I failed to connect with this book at all.
The plot was over the top and contrived, and quite frankly ridiculous at times. The characters were more like caricatures, and there was a frankly irritating obsession with shoes. Angela just wasn’t the character for me.
In terms of feel, this book was a lot like a Sophie Kinsella, but it somehow lacked all the charm and humour of a Kinsella and ended up being a plod which I left hanging for two weeks before eventually struggling through the end of it.
Unimpressed and unlikely to read another by this author.