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Ratings and Book Reviews (2 21 star ratings
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    Wish list

    A wonderful Christmas love story. You think you have your life all planned out and then . . . . . . You won’t regret this read. Great idea to have a wish list, I can see that now!
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    Festive Wynbridge

    I am pretty sure Wynbridge exists in some weird alternate dimension where it is permanently Christmas. I know it makes the perfect setting for the festivities and the characters do reference spring and summer occasionally but it just feels like it is isolated inside a snow globe and gets packed away on Twelfth Night. They also always seem to get snow just in time for Christmas - whilst this sets a nostalgic scene it has been a long time since we have had anything more than the odd snow flurry around Christmas in the UK and this particular White Christmas trope is beginning to wear thin. All that whining and yet I REALLY enjoyed this story. It was wonderful to step away from The Hall and the stories of the inhabitants. Yes, it does get numerous namechecks and even a couple of visits but it isn't the focus of this story. The focus is a brand new character, Hattie who has struck up a friendship with the ageing Dolly who just so happens to live in Wynbridge. When Hattie is made redundant Dolly gives her a refuge at her quaint cottage so that she can decide what her future holds - Will it be following her boyfriend Jonathan to Dubai? Will it be continuing with her career in Hospitality or should she really look into working with children? There is quite a lot going on for Hattie and when Dolly insists that they sit down and make a Christmas Wish List to help get her in the mood for the celebrations she is reluctant. Dolly insists and it is packed full of seasonal treats - ice skating in the open air, carol singing, baking and the obligatory wearing of "ugly sweaters". Even better Dolly coerces her in to helping out at the local Primary School in the run up to Christmas and the sheer excitement and joy of the children really comes across on the page. The book does deal really well with more sensitive topics - estrangement from your family, manipulative/abusive relationships and the loss of loved ones. There are a couple of scenes just over halfway through the book that are actually quite shocking but they feel right in the context of the story and not like they exist just to add a bit of drama or shock value. The "reveals" don't have any real shock value though as they are flagged up throughout the story but I still found myself empathising with the various characters. I genuinely became absorbed in this story and was always sad when I had to put the book down. Yes, it is cheesy, yes you can see what is going to happen from a mile off. Somehow that is all the more comforting and makes the book feel like a big, warm cuddle. After being disappointed with the last couple of Wynbridge books where it felt very much like a contractual obligation The Christmas Wish List was a breath of fresh, snow-laden air.

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