Last month, we launched the December edition of The Novelicious Book Club – a fun, friendly and festive read-along with The Little Christmas Kitchen by Jenny Oliver as our 2014 Christmas pick. We whooped for Ella when she walked out on Max, we salivated over Mum Davenport’s cooking (so hungry for Greek food) and we laughed and giggled through some of the mishaps and quirks of the novel. Did you join in?
Ahead of the #NoveliciousBookClub chat at 8pm on Twitter and Facebook tomorrow (you’ll find a few discussion questions for the chat below), we thought we'd share some of our initial thoughts. We can’t wait to see whether you agree!
“After the divorce of their parents, Ella and Maddy were raised separately, Ella in London and Maddy in Greece. With their sisterly bond hanging by a thread, both sisters have come to a crossroads in their lives and are desperately in need of a change in scenery. Swapping homes for the Christmas seems like a great idea at first until the sisters start to question the importance of family and what home actually means. It’s clear that the sisters have been affected by their unusual upbringings, both longing for the other half of the family. As adults they have yet to find themselves; Ella has just lost her partner who seemed to define her and Maddy craves the limelight of singing on a London stage. Both girls grow as they see life from a different perspective. What they want at the start is very different from what they need at the end. As the title suggests, there’s lots of mouth-watering food involved, mainly traditional Greek delicacies. Dieting will be made a lot more difficult by reading this book! It is a very festive read and is set apart from others due to the exotic location.”
“I really liked the sound of The Little Christmas Kitchen as it combines two of my favourite things: Christmas and cooking! However, it took me quite a while to feel properly invested in the story as the two main characters, sisters Maddy and Ella, each came across as whiny brats somewhat, rather than the grown-up women that they are supposed to be. About mid-way through the novel there was a turning point where the story started to feel more festive and the characters more mature and that is when I felt myself becoming interested in the lives of these two very different sisters. Maddy had a heartwarming moment in her temporary home in London as she brought her neighbours and new-found friends together, and Ella and her estranged mother finally became emotionally closer as they bonded over creating a scrumptious feast for their restaurant.”
“I have read Jenny Oliver’s other two books earlier this year and after this third book she is firmly on my list of authors I will look forward to new releases from. The Little Christmas Kitchen whips up a cosy read which takes the edge off the winter chill. If you are reluctant to let go of the summer then ease into the festive season gently with a book that manages to combine the best of both worlds.”
“Oh, God – the food. At a time when I’m usually craving mince pies, cheese balls, Parma ham and turkey, I was positively salivating over plump, juicy squid, garlicky prawns and lamb roasted in tomatoes and feta. Jenny Oliver certainly knows how to write food and, as I’m a huge fan of foodie fiction, it was such a lovely element to this novel. The book started well for me. I cheered Ella on as she walked out on Max and, despite her low spirits, I was excited for her and her new adventure in Greece. It took me a little longer to warm to Maddy – she came off as a bit spoiled – but that changed the more I read. Something I really enjoyed was the exotic setting. Christmas books are so often set in cold, snowy locations so this was a real treat. A warm read all round and one of my favourites this holiday season.”
Do join us at 8pm on Twitter and Facebook tomorrow for a virtual glass of wine, a mince pie and some book discussion (no spoilers though please as others will still want to read the book). Here are a few questions we’ll be discussing – we’d absolutely love to hear your thoughts!
How would you have reacted to the discovery of Max’s cheating? Do you think Ella made the right choice?
What were your first impressions of Ella and Maddy? How did your opinion of them change throughout the book?
Who was your favourite character in The Little Christmas Kitchen and why?
Which character or scene could you most relate to?
What did you think of the exotic setting for this Christmas novel in place of the usual snow and sleigh bells?
And finally, if you have any future book club pick suggestions, let us know in the comments!
Team Novelicious x