This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Zarina de Ruiter
When I discovered Alexandra Brown's books a few years ago I instantly knew I had found a new favourite voice in women's fiction. It was the word 'cupcakes' in the first novel's title that piqued my interest, but Alex's wonderful characters and heart-warming stories kept me hooked and eagerly anticipating each new instalment.
After writing several novels about Georgie and the Carrington's department store in Mulberry-On-Sea, Alex has now ventured a little more inland to the fictional village of Tindledale. The town and its shops, which have names such as Hettie's House of Haberdashery and The Spotted Pig & Tearoom, perfectly emanate the cosiness every page of this read is doused in.
Jilted at a Star Wars-themed altar – for her twin sister no less – Sybill has been left heartbroken and distracted. So when she hears on the radio that one of her clients has accidentally received a major windfall from the housing department at the local council office she realises that while she was mourning the loss of her fiancé – though perhaps not the Princess Leia buns she was forced to wear for the wedding – she made a mistake that in all likeliness will cost her her job as well.
Without a reason to stick around in London, Sybill packs up her bags and dog Basil for an impromptu trip to visit her best friend Cher, who has just taken on a pub in Tindledale. One long train journey and an uphill trek through the snow later, she finally arrives, only to discover that Cher is away for the weekend at a training course. Not only that, the pub is so tiny that she cannot even stay there for the night – Sybill really should've called ahead.Luckily for her, the villagers are nothing but helpful and she soon finds herself comfortable in the care of Lawrence from the local B&B. And with an entire weekend ahead of herself before her train leaves back for London, Sybill explores Tindledale and quickly makes friends with some of the local townspeople. And while initially their (mostly) friendly encounters help Sybill to finally start moving on from her heartbreak, it doesn't take long until she in turn is a great help to some of her new friends as well.
I admit that as a downright Christmas geek (I start adding reindeer decorations to my room from early November onwards) I am biased towards festive reads anyway, but this novel really captured the homely feeling and the cosiness of the season; not to mention snugness of the knitted variety! I haven't ever tried knitting, but after having read this novel I really want to learn as it sounds like a great way to relax while also getting to make a nifty scarf or jumper along the way.
And even though I felt really close to Georgie and the gang from the Carrington's novels and I wasn't sure if I could get quite so invested in a whole new set of characters, I soon fell in love with Sybill and the lovely people of Tindledale. Hettie, for example, (she from the haberdashery shop), flamboyant Lawrence, colourful Ruby and gorgeous doctor Ben – especially Dr. Benedict (swoon).
The Great Christmas Knit Off is a beautiful and heartfelt novel about village solidarity and the power of friendship; a truly uplifting and heart-warming read, which is perfect for the season of love.