It may only be October but it’s NEVER too early to start thinking about Christmas in my opinion and being a complete Christmas nut I absolutely adore reading festive books all year round! I was absolutely thrilled to discover earlier this year that one of my go to authors Samantha Tonge had a ‘Christmas’ novel coming out and couldn’t believe my luck when the lovely people at Aria Fiction emailed to ask me to participate in it’s cover reveal and publication tour. Of course it took no longer than a nanosecond for me to click reply and agree! Therefore today I’m delighted to share my thoughts on this brand new release with you and I hope you will also check out some of the other tour stops too!
About The Book
This Christmas fall in love with the town of Chesterwood…Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, so with Chesterwood food bank under risk of closure Fern knows just what to do to save it. She’s going to get the town to create a living advent calendar.
Fern, and her best friends, call for help from the local community to bring this calendar to life. When Kit, the new man in town, offers his assistance Fern’s heart can’t help but skip a beat (or two).
As they grow ever closer, Fern must admit that Kit’s breaking down the barriers she built after the death of her husband. But his past is holding him back and Fern doesn’t know howt o reach him. No matter how hard she tries.
In this town, Kit’s not the only one with secrets. Domestic goddess Cara is behaving oddly,burning meals in the oven and clothes whilst ironing, and Davina’s perfect children are causing trouble at school leaving her son, Jasper, desperately unhappy.
Can the Christmas Calendar Girls find a way to bring the community together in time to save the food bank, while still supporting their families and each other? Can Fern find love again with Kit?This is a story about kindness and letting go of the past.
It’s about looking out for your neighbours and about making every day feel like Christmas.
Fern moved to Chesterwood three years ago with daughter Lily for a fresh start after losing her husband and hasn’t looked back since. Despite having quickly integrated herself into the community and made firm friends in fellow parents Davina and Cara, that doesn’t stop her from feeling lonely and missing her husband especially with the festive season peeking round the corner. However, always keen to throw herself into a project Fern discovers the local food bank, a lifeline for many families year-round, is facing closure at one of their busiest times of the year, she vows to help.
With the plan to create a community living advent underway she knows she is going to need all the help she can get if she has even the slightest chance of raising the money needed to save the food bank and that includes tall, dark handsome Kit. The pair have been friends for a while but Fern has always kept their meetings a secret from even her closest friends without knowing why. Spending more time together organising the charity events, Fern realises there is much more to Kit than she originally thought leaving her questioning how much she really knows about him and where their friendship stands. All she knows is that she has to focus on her mission to save the food bank and deal with the fall out of her own life later, but will the pair manage to pull together with the rest of the community to make it happen?
Samantha has an incredible ability to create both relateable characters and situations by integrating heavy topics like bereavement, homelessness and addiction into her stories and The Christmas Calendar Girls is another wonderful example of this. You’d be excused for thinking this novel to be just another light, fluffy Christmas read, but it has so much more depth and substance to it with a real focus on what is important in life whilst firmly shining a light on the problems that many face all year round.
Having said that The Christmas Calendar Girls is a feel good read of the highest order with a fantastic sense of community running throughout, something we should all take heed of- It will definitely leave you feeling all warm and glowy! The pacing of the writing is perfect which is helped by Samantha’s easy writing style and made it difficult to put down, leaving me wanting more! Whilst the blossoming relationship between Kit and Fern plays a prominent part in the story this book is more about moving forward, acceptance and loving yourself than your average rom-com/chick-lit story which I absolutely loved.
If you haven’t read anything by Samantha Tonge yet I can highly recommend this as a way into her books, plus it has the added bonus of helping you get into that festive mood too which is NEVER a bad thing! If you are already a fan then please grab a copy now, you won’t be disappointed! This is by far one of the best books I have read this year and I will definitely be giving a re-read in December when the full run up to Christmas has begun.
About The Author
Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely. When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee.
Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey*, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award.
In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones *, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not*, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award.
Why not check out some of the other stops on the tour too…..