Calling Mrs Christmas - Carole Matthews (2013)

Cassie has been out of work for months and is finding life tough managing on just her partner Jim's wage. With Christmas around the corner, she decides to apply her love of all things festive into a business providing her services for writing cards, wrapping presents, decorating trees and planning parties, naming it "Calling Mrs Christmas". Cassie takes on millionaire Carter Randall as a client, he is a powerful man and used to getting what he wants. He asks her to arrange a trip to Lapland for him and his two young children, then persuades her to join them. Cassie has a taste of a lifestyle that in the past she could only dream of and it forces her to make an impossible choice. This is a festive novel which also includes a gritty storyline about her partner Jim's job as a prison officer at a young offenders' unit and his relationship with two of the inmates. I found this part of the story the most interesting, as it was rather unexpected in a festive romantic novel! I felt that the author explored this difficult and sensitive subject matter really well. An enjoyable book, however personally I found Cassie rather selfish and irritating. Her partner, Jim, was a strong likeable character and his kind caring attitude towards the two boys made this story worthwhile for me. (EH)

Carole Matthews' festive offering for 2013 is called Calling Mrs Christmas. The summary says: "Cassie Smith has been out of work for a while but she has an idea. Drawing on her love of Christmas, she begins charging for small things: wrapping presents; writing cards; tree-decorating. She's soon in huge demand and Cassie's business, Calling Mrs Christmas, is born. Carter Randall wants to make Christmas special for his children, so he enlists Cassie's help, and his lavish requests start taking up all her time. Thank goodness she can rely on her loving partner Jim to handle the rest of her clients. When millionaire Carter asks Cassie to join his family on a trip to Lapland, she knows she shouldn't go . . . Suddenly Cassie finds herself facing a heart-breaking choice that could change her entire life." Calling Mrs Christmas is out in August 2013.

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