I am super-dooper excited to be a part of the blog tour for Rebecca Raisin's Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café today. And why? Well, firstly because Ms Raisin knows how to tell a story. She's got that old-school romance and community feel down to a tee and creates characters that as a reader I cared about. And secondly, I am very fortunate to now class Rebecca as a friend. In fact, she says I was the one who encouraged her to make this a series (I'll take all the credit I can get, any hint of a link with this trilogy is good enough for me).
So, the end is nigh. The final instalment of the Gingerbread Café is upon us. But it's a good one. BOY, IS IT A GOOD ONE! Christmas? Check. Wedding? Check. Future Mother-in-Law that will make your skin crawl? Check.
Let's get down to business...
You are invited to the wedding of the year!
Snow is falling thick and fast outside the Gingerbread Café and inside, its owner Lily is planning the wedding of the year. Her wedding! She never dreamt it would happen, but this Christmas, she’ll be marrying the man of her dreams - in a Christmas-card-perfect ceremony!
The gingerbread is baking, the dress is fitted and the mistletoe’s in place – for once, everything’s going to plan. That is until her mother-in-law arrives... Suddenly, Lily’s famous cool is being tested like never before and her dream wedding is crumbling before her eyes.
In the blink of a fairylight, the Gingerbread Café has been thrown into chaos! Lily thought she had this wedding wrapped up, but with so much to do before she says ‘I do’, can Lily get to the church on time – and make this Christmas sparkle after all?
I'm feeling a teensy bit sad writing this, knowing it's the last in the Gingerbread Café series. Lil, Damon and CeeCee are like old friends to me, the kind you don't see regularly but when you do get together it's like time and distance are immaterial. Basically, these characters took me on a journey (I know that sounds a bit X-Factor, but still...). Without giving away too much to anyone who hasn't read the previous two books (where have you been? Get yourself copies NOW!), there has been heartache, upheaval and a few tears shed on the road to this wedding. But now it's time for happiness to reign and for Lily to plan her perfect winter wedding.
Of course, there is a spanner in the works, and this particular spanner is her future Mother-in -Law, who whizzes into town determined to not only take over, but in Lily's eyes ruin the whole day. There was one moment (it involved floral table arrangements and was the absolute final straw!) where I literally threw my kindle down in rage. This is my Lily, she doesn't need this! Appreciate her, you vile old bag! Your son is lucky to have her! were my thoughts.
Although I remained sure the ceremony would happen, I did have a few doubts about whether it would go smoothly and all I could think was that Lily has been through enough! And when the ceremony passed, with a tender moment to remind everyone of the true meaning of love and friendship, I had a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat. Totally beautiful.
Christmas Wedding at the Gingerbread Café is a story of family- not just those you are born into, but those you make for yourself. It is the perfect Christmas read, not just because it reminds you to value those you love, but because it is sweet, funny and most of all festive. And on a personal level, it reminded me of my own Christmas Wedding in 2005.
Although this is the end of the Gingerbread Café series (sob!) there is more to come from Rebecca Raisin, and I'm hoping on cameos from all the characters in further books. And I'm desperate for a book about a young CeeCee-I need to know just how she got so wise, and I'd love to see how her personality has evolved. She's so caring and fun loving, I'm sure she could have had her fair share of romances in her youth.
So my final words are to BUY THIS BOOK. I was trying desperately to think of a comparison for people who haven't read Rebecca's work yet, and I've come up with one- she's a modern Maeve Binchy. If you love books about community life with true-to-life characters in true-to-life situations, delivered with gentle humour and heartfelt emotion, these are for you.