Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry
Published November 15th by Orion
(I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review)
Everyone adores Christmas . . .
Especially Lizzy Kingham. But this year, she is feeling unloved and underappreciated by her family. The present-buying, decorating and food shopping have all been left to her. So she wonders … what would happen if she ran away and left them to it?
Lizzy heads to her favourite place: a beach hut on the golden sands of Everdene. There she meets an unlikely collection of new friends, all running away from something. But the spirit of Christmas gets under Lizzy’s skin: soon the fairy lights are twinkling and the scent of mulled wine mingles with the sea air.
Back at Pepperpot Cottage, her family are desperate to find her. For Christmas isn’t Christmas without Lizzy. Can they track her down in time and convince her she means the world to them, every day of the year?
Just like Lizzy, I love Christmas. Everyone has been excited about Halloween recently and I do love Autumn but I’ve been wishing the holiday away to bring us closer to Christmas sooner. I may be a little bias because my birthday is also December 25th but I just love the time spent with loved ones, exchanging gifts, endless Christmas buffets, the decorations, the music and even the chillier weather. I also enjoy going to the beach with my family so when I saw this book I knew it was bound to be something a book I would like, even still I hadn’t expected to end up loving it as much as I did.
I don’t really read any general fiction, usually going for sci-fi, fantasy or most things YA so this was a different read for me and most certainly a welcome one and an author I will be reading again (I found out afterwards that I actually already owned “How to Fall in Love in a Bookshop” by the same author but hadn’t got around to reading it – I’ll be rectifying that mistake for sure). Although I would say the main character is definitely Lizzy there different points of view from other characters and I especially liked that each one felt organic and relevant as they appeared, it all just fit together so well. The characters themselves were all a joy to read as well, they all had memorable but not necessarily stereotypical characteristics and they all had real human flaws which just helped to give them a real depth and made them easy to connect with, get attached to and become invested in. The range of ages of the characters themselves also means that I think this book would be a good read for teenagers and up as there is a bit of something for everyone here.
The plot unfolds itself so beautifully it’s hard to describe, everything just flows together so smoothly and at a great pace, there’s never too much going on to keep track of but also never so little that it becomes boring, there is a perfect balance that had me turning pages and unable to stop. Despite sounding like a comfortably tame book there is still conflict and intrigue throughout and although not in the same way as a lot of the other genres I read it felt no less important through the eyes of these characters and especially relevant for myself as both a mother, a big fan of family tradition at Christmas and a daughter and it touched on a lot of subjects I understood which really helped to keep me even more invested.
Christmas at the Beach Hut perfectly encapsulates the spirit of Christmas and family, it’s a lovely read that I highly recommend cuddling up with under a nice blanket while enjoying a good hot chocolate or some mulled wine to get you in the festive spirit. This book is heartwarming and sad but beautiful and cosy too, a great book for the cold winter months.
As part of the blog tour we have also been asked to share our stories of Christmas disasters but I’ve always been pretty lucky when it comes to Christmas and to my own memory at least the extent of my misfortune had only really gone as far as drinking too much in the morning that I was a bit too tipsy to open my birthday presents in the evening. My mum though always loves to tell the story of the when me and my brother were little and tried to wake her and my dad up at two thirty in the morning as our stockings were full and “Santa’s been!” Obviously we were told to go back to bed so we did, I then managed to crawl back into my parents room on my hands and knees and snuck over to their alarm clock at the side of their bed and proceeded to try to change the time to a more reasonable hour so we could get up and open our presents. Sadly I was caught.
Me and my brother decided if we couldn’t open our stockings then we could go peek at the presents under the tree instead. We tried to sneak downstairs and look at the presents under the tree. We snuck downstairs and the front room where the tree was at the time had no real door, there was some fancy brick archway instead. Now our parents had told us we were not to go into the front room without them and that they would know if we did. naturally me and my brother assumed this meant they had a laser security system across the archway and because we were four and six years old respectively we decided the best thing to do was to use deodorant and flour to try to expose the laser beams so we could climb over or through them and make it to the front room. I think it’s safe to say this didn’t work and we just made a lot of mess so maybe a mini-disaster for my mum?
Don’t forget Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry is out on November 15th and available to pre-order now in paperback, ebook and audiobook.