Saturday, 13 December 2014

The Little Christmas Kitchen- Jenny Oliver

I loved Jenny Oliver's last Christmassy offering.  The Parisian Christmas Bake Off was sweet, fun and festive (you can read my review) and it's fair to say I was very excited to find out what she'd be bringing to the table this year.
The Blurb
Christmas at the Davenports’ house was always about one thing: food!
But when sisters Ella and Maddy were split up, Ella to live in London with their Dad, and Maddy staying in Greece with their Mum, mince pies lost their magic.  Now, a cheating husband has thrown Ella a curved snowball…and for the first time in years, all she wants is her mum. So she heads back to Greece, where her family’s taverna holds all the promise of home. Meanwhile, waitress Maddy’s dreams of a white Christmas lead her back to London…and her Dad.  But a big fat festive life-swap isn’t as easy as it sounds! And as the sisters trade one kitchen for another, it suddenly seems that among the cinnamon, cranberries and icing sugar, their recipes for a perfect Christmas might be missing a crucial ingredient: each other.

The Review

The Little Christmas Kitchen started off with a bang as Ella ran from her problems in London and hot tailed it to Greece- I was immediately interested in her story.  We are led to believe she had a nigh on perfect life until finding out her husband has been cheating on her with one of 'the girls' and I would perhaps have liked this to have been shown a bit more of their relationship before things went belly up.  However, I loved the imagery and doubt of her 'taxi scene' and the thought of her hapless cheat balancing a ten or twelve foot tree precariously as she walks from their flat. 

Maddy on the other hand-well, I struggled to warm to her at first -I'm not sure if it was because in the early chapters she was portrayed as self centred and jealous of her sister's London lifestyle (although I did always admire Maddy's drive and the pursuit of following her dreams to sing).

Being honest, this story didn't grab me in the same way The Parisian Christmas Bake Off did. I loved the wonderfully descriptive writing and zippy dialogue, yet there were occasions in the first 25% where I skimmed over the text.  I suppose it was a bit of a slow burner for me.  However, by the end I was well and truly won over, enjoyed finding out how life changed for both sisters, and when it came to the descriptions of the food ... wow. Just wow.  I think I actually physically drooled. 

Overall, this is an easy chick lit read about the difficulties families and relationships face, with festive undertones and a foodie flavour.  If, like me, you aren't immediately hooked, it is well worth persevering.  My opinion definitely changed as the story developed and characters I was convinced I didn't give two hoots about won me over and had me hoping for resolutions and a hopeful future.  The Little Christmas Kitchen is a charming read.

Jenny’s latest novel THE LITTLE CHRISTMAS KITCHEN is out now.
Hungry for more? Try  THE VINTAGE SUMMER WEDDING and THE PARISIAN CHRISTMAS BAKE-OFF, which are also available in paperback.

With thanks to the publisher for providing me with a galley copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.

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