Friday, 13 December 2013

Christmas at Carrington's by Alexandra Brown

About the book
Christmas at Carrington’s is the follow up book to Cupcakes at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown. The book was published by Harper on 5th December and it is 384 pages long. I received and ebook for review through NetGalley.

Georgie Hart runs the Women’s Accessory section in Carrington’s department store in Mulberry-On-Sea. She’s your average woman, a size 14 with a brunette bob and she absolutely loves Christmas. She’s also kind of secretly seeing the boss, Mr Tom Carrington himself. Life couldn’t be better for Georgie.

When Georgie finds out about Tom’s surprise though, she is not happy. Carrington’s is going to be part of a nationwide television show featuring retail guru Kelly Cooper who promises to revitalise the Carrington name. Georgie isn’t impressed with being on television without her permission, especially as she made a fool out of herself. Not only that but Kelly’s daughter seems to want Tom for herself and Georgie knows she can’t complete with someone like her.

Will Christmas at Carrington’s be a disaster or will there be some magical surprises along the way?

What I thought
I have to start by saying that I haven’t read the first book in this series but both can be read as stand-alone books.

Carrington’s is a large department store in Mulberry-On-Sea and the series focuses on different people working in that store. The whole idea of Carrington’s reminded me of a not so expensive Harrods but with the dreams to be as big as somewhere like that. This book focuses on Georgie Hart who works in women’s accessories. I gather from some things that happen in this book that she was also in the first as well. The staff there seem to have a really nice family feeling going on and everyone gets along well... to begin with.

You see, big boss Mr Carrington secretly makes a deal to have Carrington’s take part in a reality TV show where the store will get a massive make over by Kelly Cooper. Georgie doesn’t know anything about it even though she’s seeing Tom and is mortified when she sees herself on television for the first time. She wants nothing to do with the show until she’s talked into it with the promise of extra money per show and the opportunity for a make-over and the chance to write in a magazine. As shallow as it sounds, Georgie figures she’s going to be forced into it anyway so why not make something out of it.

I absolutely loved Georgie. Not only is she a real woman at size 14 but she’s absolutely fine with who she is. It was so refreshing to read about someone who wasn’t stick thin and who liked to eat. She’s also such a lovely character and genuinely appeared to be a kind, friendly and caring woman. What I loved so much about Georgie is that she was someone I would have loved to have been friends with. She’s put in some pretty awkward situations but she manages to bounce back every single time and she’s also hilarious while she tries.

The whole television show aspect of Christmas at Carrington’s was fantastic. The plot was something of a mix between The Hotel Inspector and that show where the woman helps out shops (cannot remember the name of it for the life of me)! It was fun to see what problems Kelly thought the store had and what she was doing to attempt to fix those things. The television show also put the characters in really funny situations such as trying to figure out who were real customers and who weren’t.

The one thing that was lacking in this book for me was the romance. I didn’t really feel the lust and attraction between Georgie and Tom. Maybe this was something I had missed out on by not reading the first book. I could see the attraction from her but he really didn’t seem that bothered during any point in the book. If there isn’t going to at least be some good chemistry, I don’t see the point in having a relationship in a book such as this. If those missing elements had been there, this would have easily been a five star book for me.

Overall though, Christmas at Carrington’s is a really good and enjoyable read.

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