This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Kay Brooks
When Chelsea’s grandfather’s health declines further, she makes the decision to bring her wedding forward to ensure that all of her family can be there on her special day. Even though this means having her wedding at Christmas, Chelsea is excited. She starts to imagine a perfectly festive wedding complete with red velvet, fairy-lights and fur-clad guests. She can’t wait to become a wife and a step-mother to Lily. With just 12 weeks to plan, Chelsea needs her family to pull together. Instead her sisters have fallen out, Lily’s grandmother is determined to make her feel unwelcome and her fiancé’s career is under threat. Will the event be a winter wonderland or a nightmare before Christmas?
This is the last part of a series of books written about the Benson family. I started reading the series part way through without realising and regretted it as there are so many characters to familiarise yourself with and so much background affecting the relationships between them. I felt like I had missed out. My advice would be to start at the beginning with A Proper Family Holiday. If you have read others in the series, you are in for a real treat! Everyone is back and looking forward to a good old knees up. Grandad Bill, in his more lucid moments, is proud to see his youngest granddaughter walk down the aisle with a man who adores her. Jackie is pleased her daughter has found happiness at last. Even young Jack is looking forward to celebrating.
Like the previous novels, there’s plenty of fun to be had as Jack and Lily cook up crazy plans to earn some money to repair the accidental damage done to their rather frightening Aunt Annabell’s dog ornament before she finds out. There’s also some sadness as the family come to terms with the effects of Bill’s rapidly advancing dementia. Chelsea is still struggling to deal with her irrational jealousy towards her fiancé’s deceased first wife, Claire, especially now Claire’s mother is behaving so coldly and unwelcoming towards her. Chelsea is starting to have doubts that she will ever be able to live up to the woman who originally loved the man and little girl she is hoping to make her own family.
This is an enjoyable, festive read that reminded me of the importance of family and the pointlessness of holding grudges. There is, like in the previous novels, some unnecessary repetition but not enough to take away from the enjoyment of the storyline. In fact, I’m very sorry to say goodbye to the Benson family but, if I have to, this is the perfect way to do it.