Book Reviews

A Season To Remember: A Christmas Treat by Sheila O'Flanagan

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List Price: £8.99


Paperback: 384 Pages.

Published: 27 October 2011 by Headline Review

ISBN: 0755375173

EAN: 9780755375172

It's Christmas at Sugar Loaf Lodge and everyone checking in to the luxury hotel has their reasons for spending the holiday away from home.

A heartbroken guest tries to put the past behind her; a stressed couple long for peace and quiet; a young woman eagerly anticipates a romantic night with the man she loves - although he should be spending it with somebody else.

And it's not just the guests who are hoping for a happier New Year. Worried about their business surviving the recession, the hotel's owners are determined to make it a holiday to remember.

As many more tales unfold, and a visitor from times past prepares to take her own journey, we watch and wonder: will everyone's Christmas wishes come true?


4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars4.0 Stars  by Anne

Just on the right side of mushy

I am wary of stories set at Christmas as they are often so nauseatingly sentimental that they set my teeth on edge. This book avoids the Christmas sugar trap - but on occasions it comes very close.

All the stories are set in a country hotel over the Christmas season. Each story tells the tale of one or more guests and why they are there. The stories are linked by the location and because the characters of one story appear, although mostly peripherally, in the others. All the stories end up resolved by the end of the book in a heartwarming manner but each of the characters brings a different dilemma to the book and resolving it in a satisfying way in a short story is a challenge which the author easily meets.

She deals with death, family breakdowns and relationship problems in the Ireland of the recent financial crash. Some of the characters have made mistakes and some have been betrayed. The author conveys very quickly the story of each character and then resolves it in a way which includes their stay at the inn. I was impressed by how effortless the writing seemed to be as I was gripped by these brief glimpses into people's lives.

Where the book very nearly crosses the line from heartwarming to mushy is with a couple of tales about a child ghost in the property. I forgave her for these interludes because they were well done and did seem to fit with the rest - I would not have been able to cope if the ghostly bit was a larger proportion of the book.

Despite my cynicism about Christmasy books I actually found this an undemanding but engaging book. Worth a read if you want something simple and Christmas themed.

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