Book Review – Lizzie’s Christmas Escape by Christie Barlow

Lizzie's Christmas Escape

The Blurb

A gorgeous country house hotel, a liberal dusting of snow, a cosy weekend away…what more could Lizzie ask for at Christmas?

Every Christmas Lizzie promises herself that things will change and she will leap into the new year a new woman.  And yet here she is again, at the beginning of December and nothing is different.  Her girls have grown up and left home, her husband Henry is slumped in front of the TV and she is alone in the kitchen, seeking refuge in the cooking sherry and talking to her Gary Barlow calendar.  She’s also been very diverted by handsome new neighbour Marcus and she knows she shouldn’t be…

So when best friend Ann suggests a weekend away in the country, Lizzie jumps at the chance.  Will this Christmas escape give Lizzie some much needed perspective and allow her to mend her marriage?  Or will Marcus prove to be too much of a distraction?

A funny feel good festive read about rediscovering the magic of Christmas – just the thing to curl up with on a cold winters night.

My Review

Lizzie’s Christmas Escape is a story about family life, dilemmas, friendship and how the grass isn‘t always greener on the other side of the fence.

Lizzie Stevens has reached that point in her life when she is wondering ‘is this all that life has to offer?’ Her daughters have left home to attend university and her relationship with her husband, Henry, has reached the point where they are more friends than husband and wife. Discontentment has resulted in Lizzie’s head being turned by the charming new neighbour Marcus.

Christie has once again done an amazing job of bringing the characters to life and their personalities shine through. From the very first chapter I adored Lizzie and could immediately identify with her. She is facing issues in life that many can relate to. A case of ‘empty nest syndrome’, Lizzie has lost her purpose in life and needs to regain her sense of identity while her marriage has become stuck in a rut. Christie writes with an acute understanding of the emotions involved in the issues Lizzie faces and always with sensitivity. I didn’t always agree with Lizzie’s behaviour, but it is written in such a way that I empathised with her and totally got where she was coming from.

This is also a book about the importance of friendship. The portrayal of the relationship between Lizzie and Ann is lovely and heartfelt. The characters work perfectly together, Ann is the more adventurous and outgoing of the two and the differences in their personalities make for a winning combination. Theirs is a friendship based on humour, support, understanding and neither judges the other.

Reading one of Christie’s books feels a little bit like coming home after time away. There is a warmth in her writing that is irresistible, drawing you into the story and the life of the characters immediately and Lizzie’s Christmas Escape is no exception. It has exactly the right combination of tug at your heart strings moments and down to earth humour which is perfectly placed. It is well paced and you just have to keep on reading to find out what the outcome for Lizzie will be, once I started reading I could not put this book down.

A brilliantly told story that you can totally relate to. It makes you laugh and cry in equal measure, completely draws you in and on finishing I felt as though I had spent time with a couple of good friends. Like a glass of mulled wine it left me feeling warm and fuzzy inside – perfect Christmas reading!

Thanks to Christie Barlow, Bookouture and Netgalley for the copy in exchange for an honest review.

Published 21 October 2016 by Bookouture.

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