The Great Christmas Knit-Off
by Alexandra Brown
Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 13, 2015)
When life unravels, it’s time to knit . . .
Sybil has always taken comfort in her passion for knitting, creating beautiful garments stitch by stitch. But her world suddenly unravels when her fiancé ditches her for her identical twin sister at her Star Wars–themed wedding, leaving Sybil at the altar sporting a Princess Leia do. And things go from bad to worse when an incident at work jeopardizes her job.
To escape her woes and forget that she’ll be alone for Christmas this year, Sybil sets off to visit her friend Cher in Tindledale—a winter wonderland of quaint shops and snowy rooftops. When she arrives in the idyllic town, she can’t help feeling like she’s in a Hallmark greeting card. She’s embraced by welcoming—if eccentric—locals wearing handmade sweaters that remind Sybil of her own creations and her unrealized ambitions of selling them. So when the owner of a vintage-clothing boutique asks her to make an assortment of knits for their display window, she’s thrilled. And hoping to heal her broken heart, the hot town doctor has even taken an interest in Sybil.
But just when Sybil thinks she’s going to have her fairy-tale Christmas after all, an unexpected turn of events threatens to unspool her happily ever after.
“This is only a recent thing, noticing men. After being in a relationship for five years with a man that I was certain I’d marry, it still feels weird looking at other guys in a snog/marry/avoid way, as Cher would say.”
“‘Honey, it’s always like that!’ she says knowingly, her voice sounding all Mae West after several hundred cigars.”
“I end up face-planting in the snow. Thank God it’s the middle of winter and it’s already dark so nobody can see me – the stupid, ridiculous, and quite clearly desperate stranger from London who is obviously going to end up ancient and decrepit and all alone with just her knitting and a trembly old dog to keep her company.”
I giggled and chortled through this delightful and amusing story that kept me entertained from the first page to the last. Both the story line and writing style were clever, relevant, realistic, and engaging. I enjoyed each and every quirky character inhabiting this quaint little country village, and found I was endlessly fascinated by their traits and conversations. Not to say the story was without sadness, tragedy or duress – as previously stated, the story was realistic. The heroine has been struggling for several months with the humiliation and heartbreak of betrayal, and decides to visit a friend who has recently moved away. During her stay, she is immediately befriended by most of the village and is particularly drawn to an elderly yet proud woman with a struggling handcrafts store. What started as a fun project to help the fragile woman turns into a major undertaking to save the woman’s home and business, and much of the village also involves themselves and it is all hands on deck to fill the first order. They “knit and natter,” the vernacular used throughout this book was such fun. Ms. Brown is British so I praised my beloved kindle for having Wikipedia to help me with the cultural references and vocabulary. I love learning new words and phrases like blowsy, scarpered, on the back foot, and caught herself out. And I was smitten with the name of the store “House of Haberdashery” just genius! I was captivated by the inner musings, dialogues, humor, and the author’s descriptive style; and have added all her works – current and planned – to my TBR.
About Alexandra Brown
Alexandra Brown began her writing career as the City Girl columnist for the London Paper. She wrote the weekly column—a satirical diary account of her time working in the corporate world of London—for two years before giving it up to concentrate on writing novels and is now the author of the Cupcakes at Carrington’s books. Set in a department store in the pretty seaside town of Mulberry-On-Sea, the series follows the life, loves and laughs of sales assistant Georgie Hart. The Great Christmas Knit-Off is Alexandra’s fourth book and the first in a new series set in the fictional village of Tindledale, following the lives of all the characters there. Alexandra lives in a real village near the south coast of England with her husband, daughter and a very shiny black Labrador retriever.