133. It Must Have Been the Mistletoe- Judy Astley

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Title: It Must Have Been the Mistletoe

Author: Judy Astley

Rating: ★★★

On the Shelves: Fiction> Contemporary/Romance/Holiday

Thea’s parents decide to host a big family Christmas in a house by the sea. even though they are, in fact, about to split up. Thea herself is newly single – her sister and brother are both settled, with children, homes and a future. But Thea’s boyfriend has ditched her in favour of his pedigree dogs, and Thea can’t decide whether or not she minds.

There will be copious food and drink, holly and mistletoe, lots of bracing walks and a wintry barbecue on the beach. If it seems an odd way to celebrate the final break-up of a marriage and the Moving On to new partners, no- one is saying so. But then no-one had anticipated that the new partners might actually turn up to complicate the sleeping arrangements.

As Cornwall experiences the biggest snowstorm in living memory, the festive atmosphere comes under some strain. Will Thea manage to find some happiness for herself? Will the mistletoe work its magic on them all? (Goodreads 2014)

I first need to thank the author, Judy Astley, the Publishers at Random House UK Transworld Publishers, and Netgalley, for allowing me access to this book in exchange for a full, free review- apologies for the delay, life has gotten very busy lately around the christmas season, which ironically, is something this book relates to!

“It must have been the mistletoe” begins with the siblings of a couple being invited to stay with their parents over Christmas in a holiday home by the sea- along with their own families, only to be told the joyous news that their parents have decided to split up- merry Christmas everyone!

What ensues is quite chaotic, with Thea and her sister being on opposite sides in reacting to their parent’s divorce, the grandkids running wild as children tend to around the Christmas season, teenager sulking around, Thea gradually crushing on the guy who runs the holiday home (too bad he is batting for the other team), and running from her own demons of the past after recently splitting up with her ex-fiance earlier in the year, all to the topped with the icing on the cake: each of the parents “affairs” show up on the doorstep expecting to spend Christmas with them!

Oops!

This book was very enjoyable. I liked the story and although it did occasionally feel a little slow, I enjoyed the characters enough to not be too concerned about that. I did feel a little embarrassed whenever the teenagers opened their mouths to talk- a wall of stereotypical slogans came out- I was almost expecting the author to literally write one of them saying “OMG LOL DAD STOP.” Which was quite painful- thankfully it didn’t get that far, although it came pretty close one time. But that is really the only negative I have about the characters and the writing of them.

On the whole though, I enjoyed this story and would recommend it to anyone looking for a nice family Christmas read, filled with amusing scenes.

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