With Love At Christmas – Carole Matthews

With Love At Christmas - Carole MatthewsWith Love at Christmas
Carole Matthews

Juliet Joyce adores Christmas. She loves the presents, the tree, the turkey, the tinsel, everything. Already the festive spirit is upon her, which is just as well as this Christmas things are starting to get out of hand.

Her son Tom is out of work and bringing home a slew of unsuitable partners; pregnant daughter Chloe and her little boy have moved back in; Juliet’s father, Frank, is getting over a heartbreak of his own and Rita, her eccentric mother, is behaving more erratically each day. And has the chaos got too much for Juliet’s husband Rick?

With the big day fast approaching, Juliet hopes that she can stop everything spiralling out of control, because the only thing she wants is her family all around her and her home to be filled… with love at Christmas.

Busy mum Juliet spends the run-up to Christmas in somewhat of a tizz, constantly buying the things they ‘need’ to complete their perfect Christmas, when financially things are tight, and belts could really do with tightening!

Times are tough economically for husband Rick’s flooring firm, and they have a full house to pay for, with Juliet’s Mum Rita, and two grown up children who appeared to fly the nest, only to come straight back… and with a grandchild (plus one on the way) in tow!

They crave a little peace and quiet, some freedom to do what they want, and to spend just a little money on themselves – but even when they are frivolous and book a mini break in Bruges, it does not go to plan and leaves them feeling more trapped and frustrated than ever.

To add insult to injury, the new neighbour across the street adorns his house with extravagant Christmas lights, leaving Rick’s tension simmering all over the Christmas period. His is always the house in the street that is decorated with bright, twinkling lights ready for the festive period, and now his Christmas-light-manhood appears to be challenged!

The lead up to Christmas is filled with heartbreak, catastrophe, worries about Rita’s ailing health, and complications that leave the Joyce’s marriage on the brink of jeopardy and make you wonder if they could possibly all make it to Christmas.

It culminates with a Christmas Day that they will never forget, and leaves you with a warm, festive glow.

With Love At Christmas really is a truly lovely book. The beauty of the story is it is just so ‘ordinary’. They are an ordinary family, in an ordinary house, coping with the things that most families have to cope with (maybe not all in one go!), but it is written so well.

I loved each and every one of the characters, but especially Juliet’s father, Frank – they have the most lovely father/daughter relationship. But there are so many easy to relate to and special characters it is impossible to narrow it down to only one; they are all wonderful!

For me it was a true page turner, and once I started it I really found it impossible to put down!

A definite 5 star festive read!


Donna is a 30-something aspiring writer, living in the depths of Lincolnshire with her husband and two boys. She can normally be found in her glorious writing shed buried under a pile of books, with a cup of coffee, biscuit tin and her faithful, crumb-loving, canine companion. Failing that, procrastinating on Twitter or Facebook!

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