Calling Mrs Christmas – Carole Matthews

Cassie has hit rock bottom it seems, she has lost her job and is relying on the small income from her boyfriend Jim, weddings and babies are well into the future. It is coming up to the most favourite part of the year for Cassie – Christmas. When she stumbles upon an idea – what if she charged for doing all the things she loves doing at Christmas; wrapping presents, dressing trees, writing cards and spreading festive cheer.

With some research thanks to the internet, Cassie embarks upon a rather fast and festive new career. She is overwhelmed and needs to turn to the help of her sister, in making mince pies and even Jim, in wrapping presents and writing cards. When she gets a phone call from a Carter Randall who wants to give his children the best Christmas that money can buy, with only Cassie’s imagination stopping her she finds herself swept along with this ultimate Christmas experience. But Cassie is leaving everyone else behind to pick up everything she has started and it seems that maybe money cannot always buy the important things at Christmas.

This ultimate Christmas novel from Carole Matthews has something much more at its heart than the frippery of the festive season. Matthews has used the character of Jim, Cassie’s partner to show us that actually not everyone is having an easy ride and they certainly don’t have money to buy whatever they want. Jim works in the Young Offenders Unit and he does not like to take his work home to Cassie, except that he has become struck with two particular individuals who are desperate not to return to the unit. Jim takes a chance and involves them in Cassie’s Christmas world, whilst giving them a purpose, and a future. Trouble is Jim is trying to hold onto to Cassie who seems to be testing the possibility of a completely different future.

Christmas is the ultimate theme to this novel, but behind it is the difference in what money can buy to make Christmas special, but it cannot give the simple things, like love between parents so heart breaking observed by Carter’s children. It shows that there are many on their own over the holidays through choice and or circumstance and that perhaps they just need a friendly face to talk to and reason to decorate a tree as Cassie finds with one of her first clients, Mrs Ledbury. Life is particularly tough for many people and all they want is a family, especially the two young offenders who Jim takes under his wing.

A really heart warming novel and one of the best Christmas books I have read this year. Thanks Carole!

I have only discovered Carole Matthews novels this year. I have no idea why they have passed me by, but they have. This book was the right tonic for the time of year and I could travel vicariously through Cassie as she went to Lapland and experienced something once in a lifetime! I must be mad, but I would love to stay in the ice hotel. 

I look forward to reading more of Carole’s work. 

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