This Christmas pantomime is about to be the talk of the town!
Luna Bay’s festive preparations are well under way and the much anticipated annual pantomime is to be, once again, the highlight of the season. Too bad that the village’s very own actress and darling of Broadway, Alice Woods, isn’t feeling in the mood for Christmas.
Until the pantomime comes under threat and a grief-stricken Alice is forced to push her personal pain aside and step up to direct – after all, the show must go on…
So with (more than) a little help from her new found friends, not to mention one very gorgeous Hollywood A-list celebrity, the play begins to come together, but will Alice finally believe that Christmas is a time for miracles after all? (Goodreads)
Nothing says Christmas like the traditional Christmas Panto, so when I saw the blog tour review for The Silver Bells Christmas Panto, I jumped at the chance to read and review it. So did I find it full of Christmas Cheer or did it resemble the left over Brussels from Christmas dinner?
This was my first book by the author and before I began reading it, I was completely unaware that it was part of a series. However, it quickly became clear that this didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the book for it could be read as a standalone. True, by the time I finished I did want to read the previous books in the series as I wanted to find out the other couples stories.
The Silver Bells Christmas Panto was not what I was expecting. I had this preconceived notion that it would be about this reclusive former West End Actress, who had returned to her home town due to her making a big mistake that resulted in the implosion of her career. The real reason behind her return to Luna Bay was much more heart breaking. Watching her personal development was the best part of the book. With each small step that Alice took in reclaiming a small part of her life, I found myself cheering her on.
The catalyst to this change was her mum promising to take her on a Caribbean trip if she volunteered for the local Pantomime. Though she initially she starts off just painting the scenes, she somehow ends up becoming the director. This is a major step and it is the start of some very important friendships.
For being a romance book, I felt that this was the weaker part of the book. That’s not to say I didn’t think both Alice and Ethan Fox, the Hollywood heartthrob, made great friends, I found it difficult with the instant attraction between the two. There was just no huge chemistry between the two and I’m not sure if this was partly due to what I knew about Alice’s backstory.
Since this is a romance, it is natural that there should be obstacles in place before the couple get together. In this book, the biggest obstacles are Alice’s personal history and Ethan’s present. What was difficult to read was when Ethan used Alice’s history to lash out at her when she cast doubt about something that happened which resulted in the progress she made almost slipping away from her. It was kind of cute how Alice and Ethan ended up reconciling and if I had bought into the romance more I would have probably rejoiced. For some reason, I found it difficult and could only feel happy for Alice coming so far from where she was in the beginning of the book
From above you may have thought that I didn’t like this book, but this is far from the truth. I really liked Alice and the circle of friends she gained. This alone made this book well worth reading and pushed it into a solid 3 star read. If there was just a little something extra to make me believe in Alice and Ethan’s romance, it would be a 4 star.
This really is a good Christmasy story, with a wonderful character journey. Alice is a character I just instantly rooted for. It was clear she deserved more and with this close knit community, the foundations were there to build on. James Clearly knows how to write great female characters and even the supporting ones had so much depth to them.
For these reasons alone, I recommend reading this book and I am definitely going to be reading the previous two books to get two other characters journeys. It is just a nice read for the festive season.
LUNA BAY SERIES IN ORDER
1 The Broken Hearts Book Club
2 The Sunflower Cottage Breakfast Club
2 The Silver Bells Christmas Pantomime