Review: The Christmas Party by Carole Matthews (4/5)

Tuesday, 21 October 2014
Louise Young is a devoted single mother whose only priority is providing for her daughter, Mia. Louise has a good job in a huge international corporation and she's grateful for it. The only problem is her boss who can't keep his hands to himself, but Louise can handle him. What she really doesn't have time for is romance - until she meets the company's rising star, Josh Wallace.

Louise usually says no to evenings out but she's decided to let her hair down tonight. It's the office Christmas party, she has a pretty dress to wear and she's looking forward to some champagne and fun. She's completely unaware that others around her are too busy playing dangerous games to enjoy the party - until she's pulled into those games herself...

Romance is in the air and secrets are about to be uncovered. It's going to be a night to remember at The Christmas Party.


Carole Matthews has been on my TBR for the longest time so I didn't hesitate to request this book from NetGalley. I read this book in September as part of #NetGalleyMonth where I attempted and succeeded to get my ratio to 100%. Reading a Christmas book in September was a risky move yet it absolutely paid off and even left me in the Christmas spirit sooner than I've ever been before.

I feel that Carole's book covers, as fantastic as some of them are don't really do the story inside justice. In the past I prejudged and assumed they would be that sort of lovey dovey chick lit sort of stuff yet read a review for A Cottage By The Sea and was blown away with how different the story inside was from what I would've guessed. The same is true of The Christmas Party. Yes the book is essentially about a party but what is featured throughout are very believable, unique characters with a story to tell. And what a story. This book to me feel very real, her characters are very human and you have no trouble feeling a connection towards them - whether that be love or in the case of some here hatred.

The book's story actually only takes place over a couple of days from the night of the Fossil Oil Christmas party to Christmas Day itself. I loved this and thought it worked incredibly well. Despite only taking place during that time Carole has made the book as action packed as possible and a lot happens during this time. I almost don't want to discuss the plot too much but basically our main character Louise has just joined Fossil Oil. She's having a bit of a hard time and has moved back home with her young daughter which is a bit embarrassing and somewhat of a step backward. Despite her boss Tyler being a bit of a pig she is determined to make a success of her job in the New Year but first is excited about the Christmas party.

Also at the Christmas party are Tyler and his wife Kirsten, Tyler's protégée Josh Wallace and Fossil Oil exec Lance and his wife Melissa. Carole has created such a wonderful cast of characters here. Melissa and Kirsten are two women trapped in their marriages, despite being rich and the world being their oyster both women are incredibly unhappy with their lot and despite not usually feeling sympathy towards the rich both of these characters are extremely likeable and I found myself rooting for them throughout the book. This was helped along by the fact that Tyler and Lance are both hateful characters. I also liked Josh who despite obviously being Louise's knight in shining armour came across as a very genuine character. What I want in a book is for the relationships to feel real and not forced and they definitely felt real here.

The actual Christmas party itself makes for gripping reading. Set on the grounds of a stately home absolute hilarity ensues once the guests get a drink down them and a big announcement from Lance leaves everybody in the room reeling and then the serious part of the story really kicks in. From that point it's really hard to talk further without ruining the plot but let's just say you will not want to put this book down. As the book progresses I just couldn't read quick enough in my haste to get to the end and see how the whole thing would finish. Both Melissa and Kirsten have big choices to make regarding their relationships and it makes for some very explosive scenes throughout the book. I also loved Louise's progression throughout and the ending was just so bittersweet and really, perfect for Christmastime. My favourite character was probably Kirsten, from the very beginning it was clear she was a lost soul, even more so when an old love comes back into her life. Her story was probably my favourite. The characters to me just feel so real I'm still thinking about them now, long after finishing the book. And for me that's the sign of a really good read.

If this was a TV show this Christmas the nation would be gripped to the shenanigans of the rich and for that reason I hope people pick up this book this Christmas and are gripped too. It's got everything you could want from a book and more and I can't recommend it enough! I'll definitely be hoping to read some of Carole's previous books in the near future.

Thanks to the publisher for the NetGalley review copy. 

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    I liked your review and it was interesting to read your your views about this book. Unfortunately I couldn't connect with the characters and was disappointed with the story. Carole Matthews is a great writer and I agree she has a unique writing style.

    I have recently reviewed this book and if you would like to read my review please check out my blog at www.anitasbookbag.co.uk

    Anita

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