Review: Cold Feet At Christmas by Debbie Johnson (3/5)

Thursday, 27 November 2014
Running out on your wedding shouldn't be this much fun!

A remote Scottish castle on a snowy Christmas Eve. A handsome husband-to-be. A dress to die for. It should have been the happiest day of Leah Harvey's life - but the fairytale wedding turns sour when she finds her fiancé halfway up the bridesmaid's skirt just hours before the ceremony!

Fleeing the scene in a blizzard, Leah ends up stranded at the nearest cottage, where she collapses into the arms of its inhabitant - a man so handsome she thinks she must have died and gone to heaven!

And when Rob Cavelli suddenly finds himself with an armful of soaking wet, freezing cold, and absolutely gorgeous bride on the run, he's more than happy to welcome her into his snowbound cottage this Christmas...

Debbie Johnson is a very busy writer, this being her chick lit book and she also has a crime novel, Fear No Evil, out now and the sequel to her fantasy novel is out soon. Usually then you might expect a bit of a dip in quality, or for the author to perhaps write one genre less well than the other. Having now read all three of her books, I'm torn over which I prefer! That said fair play to Debbie for being an author that can write in different genres, it's always exciting when an author mixes it up rather than writing in just the one genre. Opening on Christmas Eve we meet Leah, who runs away from her wedding after she catches her fiance cheating with the bridesmaid. She ends up at a cottage in the middle of nowhere, falling into the arms and bed of Rob Cavelli, a man spending Christmas by himself to come to terms with a past tragedy. With Leah herself having secrets both characters are intriguing from the off, and you want to know more about them.

What on the outside appears to be an easy chick lit read actually touches on some serious subjects throughout yet it's hard to say too much without ruining the story. Rob's story in particular is one that asks a very interesting question. Whilst his thought processes aren't perhaps easy to relate to unless you've been in the same situation, his reactions and emotions are at times believable because they are both human and realistic. At times you want to shout at him and shake some sense into him, yet it is very much about allowing the story to flow and having the comfort that eventually the book will reach the conclusion you know is coming. Books like this often are a little predictable, but sometimes that's what you want from a book and it's always a nice, easy read knowing the ending you want is on its way. What I liked about Rob was that for the most part he was a believable male character, and not the predictably bland character you often get in chick lit who are great to look at, amazing in bed (aren't they always) but are otherwise completely boring and whilst Rob was still those first two things, he at least had something about him with a believable backstory.

The chemistry between the two of them is evident from the moment they meet. The book isn't the longest in the world and therefore some elements are rushed. The fact that not long after leaving her fiance she's in bed with someone else for example, however for me that came across as believable as there are some women that don't curl up into a ball and cry when they discover a partner's infidelity, but rather go out there and get even and, in the case of Leah realise that they've actually found somebody better than what they had before. In fiction I'd rather a story moved a bit quicker than it would in real life, making it less boring and allowing for the action to start right at the very beginning. I wonder whether the people against the instachemistry would rather have chapters full of Leah feeling sorry for herself, sitting at home crying her eyes out before we finally got into the story? I loved Leah and am seeing some similarities in the female characters that Debbie creates which I really like, her humour really comes across in her writing.

This book would work well as a film as it contains all the elements of a film that keep you on the edge of your seat. The will they/won't they? The cross country chase and the bittersweet, romantic ending that you want from a book like this, and that you especially want around Christmastime. The majority of the book is actually set in the year after and before Christmas, so those looking for a completely festive read (which you would expect from the cover and blurb) should bear that in mind. It didn't bother me but it can be annoying picking up a book expecting one thing and then getting another. This time of year however is full of books that have festive covers and blurbs only for the book to be one that you could read at any time of year, as this book could. It's definitely a book I'd recommend and I'm excited to read more from Debbie in the future.

Thanks to Debbie for arranging a review copy.

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