Sunday, 2 December 2018

Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry



Everyone adores Christmas . . .
Especially Lizzy Kingham. But this year, she is feeling unloved and underappreciated by her family. The present-buying, decorating and food shopping have all been left to her. So she wonders ... what would happen if she ran away and left them to it?
Lizzy heads to her favourite place: a beach hut on the golden sands of Everdene. There she meets an unlikely collection of new friends, all running away from something. But the spirit of Christmas gets under Lizzy's skin: soon the fairy lights are twinkling and the scent of mulled wine mingles with the sea air.
Back at Pepperpot Cottage, her family are desperate to find her. For Christmas isn't Christmas without Lizzy. Can they track her down in time and convince her she means the world to them, every day of the year?

Call me shallow but I fell in love with the cover of Christmas at the Beach Hut from the moment I spotted it on social media. I was desperate to get my hands on this book and yet it took me a couple of weeks to lay my hands on it as it seems to have sold out everywhere which isn’t surprising with it reaching the Sunday Times bestseller list. The cover has glitter on the tree and lights to really make it sparkle so I immediately began to feel all Christmas fairy like and was hoping the book wouldn’t let me down and would actually have a full festive storyline rather than a mere mention of the word!
The storyline alternates between our three main characters Harley, Jack and Lizzy who have all for their own personal reasons decided to escape Christmas and hide away at the Beach Huts along the coast. I think every reader will sympathise with each of the characters and their reasons for wanting to escape and it reminds us that even with the run up to Christmas when we are all in high spirits that this time of year brings its own pressures and people still have things they are trying to deal with.
I loved all three of our characters but Lizzy did call out to me more with her feeling undervalued and kind of losing her way in life because of a number of issues and I actually found myself routing for her to take the time out for herself to not only make her loved ones appreciate her more but for her to take the time to put herself before others which does not come naturally to her. I found her loving and caring nature really helped Harley and Jack at their time of need.
Harley was a true credit to his mum and he is a lad who has had to grow up quickly due to their family situation. Jack’s situation is truly heartbreaking especially as his whole story is revealed and I was hoping that Lizzy could ease some of the heartache he was feeling and to help his son to still be able to have his little magical Christmas.
There were a lot of issues that were touched upon in this book from mental abuse to the way we handle grief and the effects on those going through the menopause and each of these were handled with dignity and care bringing awareness without sugarcoating the effects. Although these topics are at the core of the plot it didn’t make this book any less uplifting.
There is a perfect amount of festivity with the timescale of the book being set only days before Christmas when the preparations begin right the way over Christmas upto the new year. I would actually go as far as saying this is my favourite Christmas read of 2018 so far.
Veronica Henry is a marvellous storyteller and has such an easy effortless feel to her writing style, her words just whisk me away that is why I find her novels pure escapism. I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas at the Beach Hut and have now brought another two copies as presents to share my love for this book. Please don’t worry if you have never read any of the Beach Hut books this is a standalone book but it will just have you desperate to read the others afterwards!



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