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Him With The Beard by Pernille Meldgaard Pedersen: lively and lovely

Time to get Christmassy! I’m delighted to be kicking off Advent by taking part in the blitz for this lovely festive story.

Him With The Beard

Do you remember that moment you stopped believing in Santa Claus?

When nine-year-old Mille suddenly no longer believes in Santa Claus, it turns the house upside down.

Her mother, Stella, is in a pickle as the hunt to find Santa Claus unearths some family secrets.

Christmas is at risk!

And there’s only one person who can save it.

 

My review

This is a lively and lovey festive novella. Our heroine is mum Stella, office mouse for most of the year but every December coming out of her shell and into her own as a Christmas elf helping out at Santa’s grotto. This year, though, she goes even further…

Every household needs a Stella at Christmas! What a kind and energetic and total Christmas-crazy person she is, galvanising everyone around her into the Christmas spirit. But not daughter Mille this year. She’s decided Santa doesn’t exist, and that’s that. She sees through all her mother’s efforts to persuade her he’s real. And worse, her cynicism begins to eat into Stella’s beliefs and enthusiasm too. Husband Kalle tries to keep everyone happy and upbeat but there’s a lot of tension this Christmas. Has the season of goodwill been ruined for ever now that him with the beard no longer holds sway?

This is a funny and clever story. It touches on so many key Christmas issues – Santa of course, family love and gatherings, tradition and memories. Christmas is a time that really brings back moments from the past – our childhood Christmases, recollections of time with grandparents or parents or other relatives now passed away, that magical  belief in Santa. It’s true that once our children stop believing in Santa, Christmas can lose a good chunk of its charm and raison d’être. But, if like Stella, Kalle and Mille, we look beyond the man in red and all the consumerism we can see that the Christmas values are still there and are to be cherished. Santa comes in many different forms.

I adored the atmosphere of this novella, which is set in Denmark. I was lucky enough to experience the run-up to a Danish Christmas many years ago when my husband worked there temporarily. I had the famous and delicious rice porridge and a glass or two of Christmas aquavit, and came home with loads of beautiful wooden and paper Christmas decorations that still adorn the house and tree even though they’re all thirty years old now!

Do read this gorgeous little story. It’ll truly get you into a Christmassy mood but also make you think about what this rather crazy season is actually all about.

 

Purchase  Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pernille-Meldgaard-Pedersen/e/B07HXLPDSJ/

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Pernille-Meldgaard-Pedersen/e/B07HXLPDSJ/

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/him-with-the-beard

Itunes UK – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/isbn9788797086216

Itunes US – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/isbn9788797086216

 

Author bio

Pernille was born in 1988 and loves that she was born in the decade with the tallest hair, the most colourful clothes, and the best music.

Her imagination never stands still, and it’s often expressed in words and pictures.

She wrote her first story when she was six years old. It was about the cat she unfortunately never got but wished for more than anything.

She loves autumn and Christmas and believes in elves.

From day to day she is a knight in training, an animator, and a secret agent – she has saved the world a few times by now.

She’s also a professional daydreamer.

She thinks the recipe for a good book is the same as the one for having a good life – a sense of kinship, humour, love, and that one thing that gives you a daily smile.

Vestercity is a fictional city based on her upbringing near the city of Herning in Denmark.

 

Social Media Links –

twitter: https://twitter.com/Pernille56

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PernilleMeldgaardPedersenAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pernillemeldgaardpedersen/

website: https://pernillemeldgaardpedersenuk.blogspot.com/

 

And look, there’s a giveaway!

Giveaway

Win A Cosy Christmas Pack – with One Jim Shore Santa Claus Ornament, Santa Claus Marshmallows, A Chocolate Advent Calendar, A Pretty Christmas Storage Box and finally, A Signed Copy of my book Him With The Beard.

Open internationally.

link to giveaway: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2ed2358c3/

 

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Christmas at the Dog & Duck by Jill Steeples: festive romantic comedy at its best

I was pretty certain I was going to like this book even before I started reading it. First up, it’s a Christmassy romcom that manages not to have ‘little’ in the title! The author could have jumped on the bandwagon with ‘Christmas at the Little Village Pub’ or similar, but thank goodness she doesn’t! ‘Little’ is currently one of the most overused words in book titles, or at least I think so. Instead we have ‘Christmas at the Dog & Duck’, and the novel is as unpretentious and down to earth as the pub’s name, although we get our magic sprinkling of festive happiness at the end which we and the protagonists all deserve.

As well as the title, the book cover is also distinctive. There’s a definite craze for Christmas romcom covers to be shades of blue with a snowy house in the centre. At the bottom of this review you’ll see four such covers that I found within a few minutes of searching! Christmas at the Dog and Dog bucks this trend. We have a striking, unique look for this book, and it’s equally as Christmassy as all those snow scenes.

The book turns out to be equally as impressive. The story is beautifully and intelligently written. I notice some reviewers have grumbled about this not being a very Christmassy book as a lot of the action takes place during the months preceding the festive season. The plot of this novel is such that this needs to be the case, and quite frankly it doesn’t disqualify it from being a seasonal story at all. We see characters and their relationships develop over time, and a chain of events unfold. The action culminates on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in a superbly warm and cosy way. This is most definitely a Christmas romantic comedy.

Heroine Ellie is smart and sensible, and taking time after a redundancy to sort herself out. She’s returned to the village she grew up in to housesit for her absent parents and sets up a dog walking business to tide her over. She also works at the Dog and Duck, and the pub is central to the story. The main love interest comes in the form of Max, a local landowner. They first bump into each other in less than flattering circumstances, at least for Ellie, and we get our share of mishaps and misunderstandings that are crucial to the romantic comedy. There are some endearing animals in cameo roles, but we stay well clear of the mawkish cutesiness that’s all too rampant in this genre.

This a measured, classy and immensely enjoyable novel. Three cheers for Jill Steeples, and five stars for her book.

 

Here are those other covers I mentioned earlier: