The Night Before Christmas by Scarlett Bailey


RATING: 3.5/5

BLURB: “All Lydia’s ever wanted is a perfect Christmas. So when her oldest friends invite her to spend the holidays with them, it seems like a dream come true. She’s been promised log fires, roasted chestnuts, her own weight in mince pies – all in a setting that looks like something out of a Christmas card. But her winter wonderland is ruined when she finds herself snowed in with her current boyfriend, her old flame and a hunky stranger. Well, three (wise) men is traditional at this time of year…”

REVIEW: It seems a strange time of year to reading a book set at Christmas, but once my Mum had finished this one and told me I would love it I decided the time of year would just have to be put aside for a while! The Night Before Christmas is funny, light-hearted, romantic, realistic and full of hope all in one, aided hugely by the main character’s obsession with romance. The reader instantly develops an attachment to Lydia Grant, the protagonist, who panics when she finds an engagement ring hidden in her boyfriend’s luggage days before they go away for Christmas, when she suddenly realises that she doesn’t want to marry him. As they arrive at the secluded Heron’s Pike, the hotel now being run by her university friend Katy, her husband Jim, their two children and a one-earned greyhound fondly known as Vincent Van Dog, Lydia receives even more of a shock when their friend Joanna shows up with a new man in tow – a new man who disappeared once Lydia had fallen in love with him several years before. As if this isn’t complicated enough, her friend Alex is pregnant and grumpy and nothing in the house seems to be working, leading to the local handyman Will turning up at the house. Lydia is instantly drawn to the attractive Will, but the presence of her current boyfriend Stephen and her ex Jackson has already complicated things enough for the very confused Lydia. Unwillingly drawn into a love triangle with Jackson and Joanna, she also breaks off her relationship with Stephen – which would probably have solved many problems if they weren’t all snowed in and forced to spend the holidays together. Lydia’s confusion is something that will resonate with many readers, and as the story progresses we sympathise with all of Lydia’s predicaments, whilst desperately encouraging her blossoming relationship with Will. I enjoyed the fact that this wasn’t one of those completely predictable chick-lit books, and that it kept me surprised, amused and entertained throughout. I would highly recommend it – and not only because of my deep love for greyhounds like the lovely Vincent!