Christmas Carols and a Cornish Cream Tea by Cressida McLaughlin

All Meredith Verren has ever wanted is to escape the holiday season without having to wear a Christmas jumper. Her new job at the cosy gift shop in a picturesque Cornish tourist spot is making it impossible for her to maintain her scrooge-like manner.
With their seasonal hampers on everyone’s wish list, Meredith must paste on a smile and fake some holiday cheer. Then she meets handsome new arrival, Finn, who wishes it could be Christmas every day and wants her to feel the same way too.
Can she embrace the holly and the ivy before the decorations are packed away for another year?

My review

Cornwall seems to be a very popular setting for Christmas novels. It must be something to do with the wild scenery, and whilst there may be plenty of festive books based there already, there’s always room for one more when it’s as enjoyable as this one.

Christmas Carols and a Cornish Cream Tea is packed with expected festivity in the form of carols, decorations, gifts and parties. Less festively inclined, Meredith, with her preference for a quiet, non-glitzy Christmas, but best of all no Christmas at all, shows that some people have a very different approach to the season, and with reason. The author cleverly and subtly raises the issue of the fakeness of a one-size-fits-all Christmas, with its hollow cheer and shallow sentiment, and emphasises how Christmas has to be what we want it to be, not what we think it should be in order to be meaningful and enjoyable.

We have great characters, enough to provide a sense of community but not too many to be overwhelming. There’s intricate and varied action, a few misunderstandings, humour, poignancy and some beautiful imagery.

A lovely book for anyone’s Christmas stocking.


About the author

Cressida was born in South East London surrounded by books and with a cat named after Lawrence of Arabia. She studied English at UEA and now lives in Norwich with her husband David. When she isn’t writing, Cressida spends her spare time reading, returning to London or exploring the beautiful Norfolk coastline.