Synopsis: Cassie Smith has been out of work for a while but she has an idea. Drawing on her love of Christmas, she begins charging for small things: wrapping presents; writing cards; tree-decorating. She's soon in huge demand and Cassie's business, Calling Mrs Christmas, is born. Carter Randall wants to make Christmas special for his children, so he enlists Cassie's help, and his lavish requests start taking up all her time. Thank goodness she can rely on her loving partner Jim to handle the rest of her clients. When millionaire Carter asks Cassie to join his family on a trip to Lapland, she knows she shouldn't go . . . Suddenly Cassie finds herself facing a heart-breaking choice that could change her entire life.
My Review: Okay, I am going to make a very bold statement about this book. I think this has to be my favourite Carole Matthews book EVER, and that is saying something people! Carole has been writing since 1997 and I have read nearly all of her books, so for me this was just an absolute gem and I cannot think of another of her books I prefer?!? With the title, the very seasonal cover and obviously the synopsis of the book I knew this would be a Christmas themed book and was actually looking forward to it. With the end of October rapidly approaching, the clocks turning back all too soon and the evenings getting darker I was actually looking forward to a bit of festive reading.
From page 1 I fell in love, and that theme continued throughout the book. I fell in love with Cassie, her boyfriend Jim, Cassie’s family, the boys from Jim’s unit and the Randall family. Cassie is in an all too unfamiliar predicament; having been unemployed for months, with no future work in sight. So when she comes up with the idea for her own business named Calling Mrs Christmas, she has no idea that it will take off beyond her wildest dreams. With her love of Christmas spurring her on, and the support of her family she starts the business that sounds too good to be true. Jim was a wonderful character and I liked the fact that we got to see the side of Jim where he has to deal with all sorts of issues at the Young Offenders Institute where he worked.
When Cassie lands a huge client who is a rich and handsome businessman, she knows that he will be a hard client to keep happy. The story really highlights the extremes of Christmas from the end where boys have nothing, and the men who seem to have it all. Although Cater Randall is the handsome rich man in this story, I also thought he was wonderful and to be honest it made for a fair match in terms of lead men in the story (that’s always a winner in my eyes).
The best part of the book for me was when Cassie visits Lapland as part of her work, and I have to say it is blatantly clear that Carole has researched this part of the world (you lucky thing). I could almost picture every part of the trip from riding the Husky sleds to staying in the Ice Hotel. Every part of that trip was so authentic I might as well have been along for the ride. The ending was absolutely perfect and there wasn’t a moment in this book I didn’t enjoy. I loved everything about it apart from when I finished. Not only was I disappointed to have finished, but I did have a flicker of hope that maybe CM may well debate doing a sequel <getting down on knees to pray at this point>. This latest Matthew’s book is magnificent, and quite frankly if you haven’t read it, pre-ordered it, or asked for it as a Christmas present then you are missing out. This book is the perfect stocking filler and one which is my absolute favourite……