Finding Love at the Christmas Market by Jo Thomas
Welcome to Day 7 of #12booksofchristmas! We are now over halfway through. Time is flying by but I am loving sharing my festive reads with you. I hope you are having fun in December and have managed to enjoy some festive reads of your own. In the meantime if you have missed any of the previous #12booksofchristmas posts, I've listed them below.
- Day 1 - Winter Storms by Elin Hildebrand
- Day 2 - The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
- Day 3 - Midnight in the Snow by Karen Swan
- Day 4 - The Darkest Evening by Ann Cleeves
- Day 5 - Wintering by Katherine May
- Day 6 - The Red Button by Keith Eldred
Whilst I adore writing this blog, at times, it is possible to feel on a treadmill of reading and reviewing. I’m certainly not complaining and it’s so important to remember I read for pleasure and to slow down!! With this in mind, I am actually sat writing this review in January 2021 and have selected this for the first book in my 2021 #12 Books of Christmas. The reason? I slowed down and listened to the book’s sweet message about where home is and all the feelings and emotions it imbues.
At the start of the novel we find Connie on her way to Germany in a mini-bus packed full of cheeky pensioners. The group are on the way to scatter the ashes of their dear friend, Elsie, whose last wish was to be scattered in her homeland Germany. Connie is also using the opportunity to meet up with Heinrich, who she has met on the internet.
Connie has already had a disastrous relationship with internet dating and now slavishly follows a list of attributes potential suitors must have. But then she meets baker, William who most definitely does NOT meet the attributes of her checklist. As the group decide to experience the Christmas they want, they come to realise it is not down to the presents they buy, but the simple things; the taste of freshly baked gingerbread, singing in a choir, ice-skating, that will truly bring forth the meaning of Christmas.
Who will Connie choose? Can William and the Old Town win the annual baking competition?
This is a truly delightful read. I loved Connie and her friends; Pearl, Norman, Alice, Maeve and the rest. The setting of the novel was lovely. Jo Thomas really evoked the feel of German Christmas markets - the little wooden sheds, the smell of warming gluwein and hint of icing sugar in the air. The best is the baking as Connie and William recreate gloriously, sticky gingerbread.
Connie’s friends are great fun and there is something poignant about this group of friends and how they are treated as a nuisance or just as someone expected to buy expensive presents for the grandchildren. But we still realise they have hopes, dreams, and many happy memories that they share.
The love story is very sweet. Heinrich ticks all the checklist - handsome, own house, own car, rich and thoughtful, but it feels like there is something missing for Connie. William, on the other hand, drives her crackers but there is definitely a frisson of something there.
But overall for me, slowing down and reading this, the most important message is not what is spent, bit the memories made, however simple; baking with a beloved grandma, meeting your spouse while singing in a choir, playing Mary in a Nativity play. It’s about enjoying the small things and taking delight in them. A truly lovely Book.
I'll be back tomorrow with another festive pick for you.