education pathways

Home » Posts tagged 'party'

Tag Archives: party

Christmas in the Scottish Highlands–feel good Christmas romance

Christmas in the Scottish Highlands

by Donna Ashcroft

Join Belle Albany as she tries to fulfill the elderly, lonely Edina’s Christmas wishes. Edina has separated herself from people and life in Evergreen Castle. It takes an accident to show her what she has been missing. Not only has she distanced herself from the townspeople, but she also needs to finally meet an adult grandson Jack and see her daughter Tara more often. Christmas in the Scottish Highlands is character generated and propelled. The stories that motivate the main characters are key, but the supporting characters are vital to the plot too. A surprising and important character is Bob, a delightful donkey that lives at Evergreen Castle.

Christmas is critical to the plot, not just a backdrop. You can anticipate lots of Christmas traditions. Belle’s students at Christmas Village Primary School put on the annual Nativity program. A lot of effort is devoted to reviving the tradition of a huge Christmas party at the castle—enough that you might coin a new saying: “it takes a village to celebrate Christmas properly.”

Front and center next to the frivolity are deep and sometimes painful relationship issues: abandonment, estrangement, and communication. There are also three romantic threads and one other disclosed third hand as Jack is a divorce lawyer, better at splitting assets than at mending relationships. Several characters need to learn that there are often two sides to a story and author Donna Ashcroft does an excellent job of helping her readers understand that.

I enjoyed my visit to the Scottish Highlands in this book with its snow, castle, small village feel, and Christmas Cairn. Ashcroft sprinkles the text with just enough Scottish dialect (nae, dinnae, wee, lass/lassie, lad/laddie) that as I read dialogue I heard a Scottish brogue.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Rating: 5/5

Category: Romance

Notes: There is one scene in the book where the sex could have been implied. It was not terribly graphic, but I prefer romances with closed bedroom doors.

Publication: October 11, 2021—Bookouture

Memorable Lines:

Belle said his name slowly, layering it with a dollop of irritation. Kenzy quirked an eyebrow. “Is Pollyanna having an off day? I know you weren’t that sure about him, but I thought your mantra was “there’s good in everyone”. Not that I’m complaining. You could do with toughening up—the world’s filled with sharks, it’s good to have your harpoon sharpened when you meet them.”

“Ah, lass, it’s been a lot of years since anyone’s said anything so nice. The last compliment I got was from my dentist—and she just admired that I still had my own teeth.” Edina’s face lit with mirth and Kenzy snorted. The older woman had a wicked sense of humour and often had Belle belly laughing.

He’d had a quiet few days in Evergreen Castle, feeling slightly more popular than an axe murderer, but less welcome than someone with a really contagious cold.

The Party Crasher–a family breakup

The Party Crasher

by Sophie Kinsella

Check them off your list—the elements you anticipate in a Sophie Kinsella novel. You will find them in The Party Crasher.

  1. A wacky, but lovable protagonist: Effie (AKA Euphemia or Ephelant).
  2. Interesting setting: Greenoaks isn’t just any old house. It’s amazing. It has character. It has a turret! It has a stained-glass window. Visitors often call it “eccentric” or quirky” or just exclaim, “Wow!”
  3. Broken romantic relationship: What happened to Joe years ago that he would just drop Effie without an explanation?
  4. Dysfunctional family: Mimi, the beloved stepmother, and Dad have an announcement one Christmas that changes everyone’s life.
  5. Siblings: Bean, the always positive peacemaker, and Gus who is clearly unhappy in his relationship with the domineering Romilly.
  6. Mystery: Where are the missing Russian stacking dolls?
  7. A house-cooling party: Doesn’t everyone have one when they move?
  8. A gold-digger or two: Perhaps the flashy Krista and/or her flirty sister Lacey?
  9. Humor in both situations and characters: Maybe a protagonist dressed in black sneaking through her own house with a little Mission Impossible music thrown in for good measure?

I enjoyed The Party Crasher, and I recommend it for light-hearted fun with a background of serious themes and issues.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Rating: 4/5

Category: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction

Notes: Includes some casual swearing

Publication: October 12, 2021—Dial Press (Random House)

Memorable Lines:

For all that I loved him, I never got to the core of Joe. I never reached his innermost Russian doll. He always kept a part of himself locked well away.

I had no idea my brother and sister were so secretive and duplicitous. I’m shocked and I will tell them so, at some point, when I’m not hiding from them under the console table.

She sounds cynical. Her face is tight and jaded. She looks as if her expectations of life have sunk so low, she’s not going to bother having any anymore.

%d bloggers like this: