I nearly bit Rebecca Gray’s hand off (not literally!!) when she asked me to be involved in the blog tour for Veronica Henry’s upcoming novel, ‘Christmas at the Beach Hut’! I fangirl Veronica Henry every time she likes a tweet of mine/replies to me – can you guess that I am a HUGEEEEE fan? Thought so! Today I am super excited to be sharing my review of ‘Christmas at the Beach Hut’ which is set to be released on the 15th November. Many thanks to Orion for the ARC and the blog tour invite. Here is my review:
Everyone adores Christmas . . .
Especially Lizzy Kingham. But this year, she is feeling unloved and underappreciated by her family. The present-buying, decorating and food shopping have all been left to her. So she wonders … what would happen if she ran away and left them to it?
Lizzy heads to her favourite place: a beach hut on the golden sands of Everdene. There she meets an unlikely collection of new friends, all running away from something. But the spirit of Christmas gets under Lizzy’s skin: soon the fairy lights are twinkling and the scent of mulled wine mingles with the sea air.
Back at Pepperpot Cottage, her family are desperate to find her. For Christmas isn’t Christmas without Lizzy. Can they track her down in time and convince her she means the world to them, every day of the year?
What does TWG think?
If you’re already a fan of Veronica Henry’s novels, you’ll be aware of her previous novels involving a beach hut. Whilst this latest addition to the beach hut family is indeed a relation, you do not need to read the previous books, ‘The Beach Hut’ and ‘The Beach Hut Next Door’ before tucking into this festive delight. That said, I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to read the books in order or just because, as I have never read a book by this author that I didn’t like.
Anyway, back to Christmas. I know, can you believe it’s nearly upon us? Lizzie can’t, what with being made redundant several days before the big day itself, AND getting a last-minute glitter bomb being dumped on her well thought out Christmas plan. I mean come on, don’t people realise that Christmas Day takes 364 days of planning? Every year, Lizzie loves to decorate the Christmas tree with her family, tucking into a piping hot meal and twerking to ‘The Snowman’ (maybe that’s just me…), but this year things don’t quite go to plan. Maybe Lizzie is asking for too much by wanting all of her family to get involved in the family tradition. Maybe her family are looking through their rose-tinted glasses and expect Christmas to fall down the chimney like Saint Nick himself. I don’t know. Either way, Lizzie is a bit miffed and she’s had enough.
Lizzie has some baubles, I’ll give her that! How many women would drop things for Christmas just like that? Actually don’t answer that!! Not only is Lizzie’s Christmas not going to plan, her new-found friends Harley, Leanne, and Jack, aren’t exactly feeling the Christmas spirit either. I won’t delve into the nitty gritty details, but lets just say that there are a few touching stories coming out of the mouths of the other characters.
Even though all of the characters have descended on the beach hut to get away from a traditional Christmas, I couldn’t help but feel the Christmas cheer from where I was sitting. Isn’t that what it’s all about; eating good food, being surrounded by friends and family old and new? If so, Lizzie and her new crew ticked every single box! Whilst I couldn’t imagine not being at home for Christmas Day myself, I felt a slight pang of jealousy. Everything just seemed to care free, relaxing and how it should be.
I thought the way in which Veronica Henry incorporated feelings of depression and anxiety into her storyline was brilliantly done, and something a lot of people will be able to relate with whether its due to Christmas, menopause, or something else in their lives. As someone who suffers with depression and anxiety myself due to chronic illnesses, I welcomed the topic as it highlighted just how much stigma shouldn’t be attached to it, as well as showing that even though someone is sitting there with a massive smile on their face or getting on with things like usual, it doesn’t always mean that everything is hunky dory. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not up to their loved ones to notice a change in their behaviour, however, it certainly makes a difference if people just stopped to take a moment to think about someone other than themselves as people with depression or anxiety will not go and ask for support.
‘Christmas at the Beach Hut’ is a story that is not only laced with poignancy and rawness due to the topics it highlights via Lizzie and other characters, it’s also a story that is laced with oodles of festive cheer and warmth. Put it this way, if this book came with an additional festive treat, I would be shouting loudly for a tinsel blanket (only softer). Why? Because ‘Christmas at the Beach Hut’ is sparkly, one of a kind, cosy, and incredibly touching. A novel which glistens from every direction and fills hearts with joy every time it’s looked at.
I absolutely loved every inch of ‘Christmas at the Beach Hut’ and, having already read double figures worth of Christmas novels so far, I have to say that Veronica Henry’s novel is my favourite Christmas book of 2018. The warmth, the community spirit, the festivities, the heart-warming topics, the wonderful characters – just everything. I loved it all. A perfect, perfect read this Christmas and for the other 364 days of the year – outstanding!
‘Christmas at the Beach Hut’ will be published on the 15th November but can be pre-ordered now from Amazon – I urge you all to pre-order or put it on your Christmas lists!!