Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas in London by Anita Hughes

I got up early this morning to write my review and get moving on my to do list for Christmas Eve.  Mostly, I plan on "to-doing" this morning, so I can spend the afternoon blissfully relaxing on my couch with a book and a fake fire crackling on my TV.  Christmas and books are linked together for me, and I can't imagine anything else making me happier today than reading for a bit and taking a deep breath.  

My boyfriend told me I've been a bit crabby this month, and he's right.  I haven't been able to spend much time relaxing and reading, which is always the one thing that chills me out and brings me back to a happy mood! A very sore muscle strain in my shoulder has made me very uncomfortable, and is slow to heal. So yes, I've been crabby. I did, however, manage to finish Christmas in London late last night!

This is how I feel about Anita Hughes novels:  I like them, but they annoy me.  Why then, do I read them?  They are pure escapism; the characters in her novels are so perfect even in their moments of unhappiness that I can't feel bad for them at all.  In this novel, Louisa Graham is an up and coming baker in New York City.  She's working hard to have enough money to open her own bakery in the next year.  She's famous for her cinnamon rolls, and those rolls give her a random, out of the ordinary chance to travel to London and be on a show called Christmas Dinner at Claridge's.  She's being flown to London, staying at the glamorous Claridge's hotel, and will be making a croquembouche for the show. It's a once in a lifetime chance to put her face out there for the world to see.  Noah, the production assistant to producer Kate, is attractive and a bit bossy, and at first Louisa's attraction isn't super strong.  She's too dazzled by London at Christmas, the elegance of the hotel, and all the running around she's required to do for the show.  And, she's meeting handsome and famous super chef Digby Bunting.  

Kate's story was unexpected and quite honestly, more interesting than Louisa's. She runs into a friend from college-Trevor, a brilliant mathematician who is in a failing marriage to a minor royal family member.  Their story is interesting, until the bump at the end, where Trevor decides he can't take the chance at being hurt again by Kate, just as she's ready to finally take a chance with him.  Ugh.  

So, this novel is pure make believe, never could happen in real life stuff.  Louisa is beautiful, but isn't aware of it; Kate is stunning, classy, and ambitious--but with a heart of gold.  Noah, I felt, was not very well developed and I didn't feel any spark between him and Louisa, even though their romance is a big part of the novel.  Trevor, while an interesting character, seemed a bit weak at times.  And Digby is just a one dimensional dufus.  The star of the novel is, of course, London.  It's pretty dazzling at Christmas time. I would consider this a foodie novel, since there's much made of the food, drinks, and atmosphere at Claridge's, and most of the characters are involved in the high-end food industry.  

I wasn't terribly impressed with this novel; it just didn't have that magic I was looking for, and the problems the characters face are very minor and easily solved.  Louisa made some dumb choices and seemed very immature to me.  

I will read more of Anita Hughes, if only for the armchair travel.  She writes of glamorous places and people with minor blimps along the way towards love and happiness.  

Rating:  3/6 for the setting in London, and the food.  I thought the characters were one dimensional and the plot kind of lame.  A novel to read for pure enjoyment and escape from reality. 

Available in paperback and ebook. 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  


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