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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Book Review "The Christmas Spirit"

Somethings afoot in the small Scottish town of Winstanton ,a short drive from Glasgow, overlooking Loch Lomond.  Natalie arrives with a double mission.  As a newcomer to town she is taking over the town bakery, while the owner recuperates from surgery.  We find early in the book, "The Christmas Spirit"by Susan Buchanan, that Natalie moves about every December with the intent of helping four people who need a little"more".

The book is written as a day by day account of her season in Scotland.  Natalie sets out to make the bakery a delicious haven for all of the town.  We meet all the characters in the book when they stop at various times to grab a coffee and something sweet.  Natalie is the ultimate replacement.  She has a natural affinity for baking truly tasty treats and an equally natural gift of getting to know those who frequent the bakery.

Through her we meet Stanley, a widower, who is unhappy that he has to live his remaining years without Edie, the love of his life.   In fact, he misses her so much he still pours her a cup of tea each day for their morning breakfast "talks.

Next we are introduced to Meredith, the workaholic, ambitious, driven to the extreme business owner and her personal assistant, Sophie.  As much as Meredith loves her regimented life with her complete attention to the details of her business, she fails to notice how overworked and under appreciated Sophie is.

Jacob is the son of wealthy parents who had the best education money could buy.  In fact his parents bought things but were never there themselves.  As a young boy he learned to prefer staying at school over the holidays, rather than to holiday in a home with the help as parents in abstentia.  After their schooling was complete his parents cut all financial ties with Jacob and his sister, Tabitha.  His sister managed to get a good job and is doing fine financially.  Jacob finished school in the middle of a slight recession when very few places are hiring.  At 22 he is living hand to mouth when he goes into the bakery.  Soon Natalie offers him a job because there is more to running the bakery than she can handle by herself.

Poor Rebecca has just been jilted by her live in boyfriend.  3 years into the relationship things just are not working out and now she must look for somewhere new to live.  They bought an apartment together, but she can't afford to keep it on her small salary.  Ethan is going to buy her out.  Imagine he in effect forcing her to abandon not only her love, but also the home she loves.  Now right before Christmas she is forced to begin the process of trying to find a home she loves and can afford.  She is sad and mad at the same time.

The remaining days pass with these folks entering and exiting the bakery, interacting with Natalie and each other.  The book is somewhat predictable but it is a pleasant and quick read during the holiday season.

This year I have had zero Christmas spirit and needed a "fix".  This did not make me want to sit around the campfire and sing Kumbaya nor did it give me a big case of the warm fuzzies, but it was a nice Christmas theme book, plus I snagged to free from ereader news today. If you read on an ereader, I would strongly suggest you add this site to your favorites.  I check it daily for free books.  Most days I get none but I do tend to get all the Christmas books that are free.  At worst, I don't like them and just delete them, but generally they are readable decent stories.

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