Childhood friends Laurie and Rachel used to be inseparable. Now thirty-five, they have all but fallen out of touch; glamorous single girl Laurie is based in London and dedicated to her career in fashion; Rachel seemingly living the family idyll in Yorkshire. But when Rachel's mother-in-law needs urgent treatment in London, and disasters at work and in her love life mean Laurie needs to flee, a house swap falls into place. Soon gentle Rachel is braving the city's mean streets while trying to keep her marriage and family together; while Laurie attempts to befriend the wary village locals - and forget the man who seems intent on breaking her heart. Will their relationships survive this test? And will they make it home for Christmas?
About the author…
Abby Clements worked in book publishing before writing this, her first novel. Her Christmas baking skills are upper-intermediate. Her countryside-survival skills are basic to none. She lives with her boyfriend in North London.
The gorgeous cover first drew me to this book and it didn't disappoint. I like the fact the book concentrated on two main characters and how their lives were entwined. I could relate to both women who, like many of us, barely keep in touch because life has taken over. Both are happy in their lives - or are they? Laurie is single and a work-a-holic, living and breathing work in the city until she drops a clanger and she is made to take a complete break from work. Rachael is the opposite married, living in the country, putting her family, friends and community first. Circumstances make them swap houses for a few weeks and at first both kick against their new environments.
This book was a real treat. The sort which makes you want to curl up on the sofa with hot chocolate and a biscuit (home-made of course) and jump straight into the pages. Abby described the characters and locations in such detail it was very easy to visualise both people and places. I could have easily moved into Rachael's cottage or Laurie's flat. It was lovely to watch the self awareness of both of the women and to see their friendship grow once again.
Although at times the plot was a little predictable (I was rooting for it to go the way I thought) it had enough twists and surprises to keep me hooked. It really got me in the mood for Christmas, virtually tasting and smelling all the delicious treats prepared in both Yorkshire and London in preparation for Christmas.
This book highlighted that sometimes we need to take a step back from our lives and factor in some me time. Point taken I'll just read another book :-)
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from Abby Clements in the future.