The Xmas Factor
- Annie Sanders
Publisher: UK - Orion
Meet two women with two totally different approaches to the festive season. First there's Beth - it's only September and already she has performance anxiety. Not surprising when she has agreed to lay on the annual Christmas Eve village bash - the piece de resistance of her husband's former wife - not to mention having to host Christmas for his difficult offspring. New to this frenzied build-up to the festivities, Beth begins to lose sight of what it all means. To her the Christmas lights are looking more like the headlamps of an oncoming train. Then there's Carol, glamorous magazine editor, who put her aspirational Christmas issue to bed sometime in July and is so involved in finding a scoop to save her ailing magazine that she fails to notice the impending festive rush. Panicked and wracked with guilt, she determines to make it a picture perfect time for her little boy and, opting for convenience, books a lovely-sounding cottage in a quaint village. But even the best laid plans have a habit of unravelling - and no plan at all is a recipe for disaster. So when these two Christmasses collide, it looks like it's going to be anything but goodwill toward men...
I've had this book sitting on the shelves since Christmas - a present from last year that I haven't got round to reading yet. I haven't really been focusing on the festive season coming up and I thought this would a good read to try and get me in the mood for mince pies and it does exactly I needed it to. It's light hearted fun with all the fun and stress of Christmas included particularly the pressure put in women at this time of year. It's not a serious book and not one that will stay with me for long, but it let me clear my head out without thinking too hard.
This is a an easy read and while there's no major laugh out loud scenes, it was mildly amusing and fun. I loved the way the characters are put under pressure to have the perfect Christmas - don't we all feel that way each year? When making homemade cranberry sauce seems like most important thing in the world and the presents aren't wrapped until they're covered in tape and bows. However, I was genuinely hoping it would all work out for Beth and Carol - and was happy with the ending which painted a scene that wouldn't be out of place in a Richard Curtis film!
Recommended for fans of Jane Green and Sophie Kinsella. 6 out of 10.