Friday, 17 October 2014

Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake - Sue Watson

About the book...

For Tamsin Angel, Christmas is always the biggest and best... chic parties and a little showbiz sparkle are a must. This year though, things aren’t going quite as planned...
With bailiffs suddenly at the door and her husband nowhere to be found, it looks like Christmas just got downsized. Moving into her sister’s one-bedroom flat, she wonders whether things will ever be the same again.

After losing her husband on Christmas Eve, Sam Angel has rebuilt her life around her son Jacob and her new business – The White Angel Bakery. She’s also found herself a very handsome, loving boyfriend, but is struggling to let go of the past.

Thrown together with a sprinkle of Christmas magic, Sam and Tamsin might just learn a little more about each other – and themselves. But when disaster strikes at the bakery, will they be able to save the day in time for Christmas? 

Christmas - tick. Cake - tick. Laughs - tick, tick, tick.

Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake is a truly heart-warming and hilarious read about sisters, love and finding the courage to be yourself – one snowflake at a time. 

About the author...

Sue Watson was a TV Producer with the BBC who combined motherhood and family life with a busy career. However, one day it dawned on Sue that Cosmo magazine may have been telling porkies about 'having it all,' and her life had become a slightly crazed juggling act.

So after much soul searching (and comfort eating) Sue abandoned her TV career, bought a pink laptop and wrote a novel. Fat Girls and Fairy Cakes, became a Kindle bestseller.

Originally from Manchester, Sue now lives with her husband and teenage daughter in Worcestershire. When she's not toiling over her latest novel, Sue can be found enjoying large bags of chicken crisps, huge tubs of Caramel Chew Chew ice cream while watching 'The Biggest Loser USA'. 

My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book by Kim at Bookouture in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to give.  If anyone read Sue's last book Love, Lies & Lemon Cake you'll know how much I was looking forward to this book.

This book revolves around Tamsin and Sam, two sisters who are outwardly living two totally different lives but when the veneer is stripped away they both share some very similar qualities and ideals.

Tamsin is moving in high circles, with a very polished act which she secretly hopes her 'friends' can't quite match.  Sam on the other hand is living a very simple life trying to rebuild her life after husband's death and establish her bakery business, by keeping her self to herself and working like a demon.

The two girls couldn't really have been more different.  From their personalities  to their clothes and even their coffee!! Despite their differences when Tamsin's upper crust world starts to crumble after a visit from the bailiffs Sam steps up to the mark to support her in trying to salvage and rebuild her life.  Sue takes us on a journey of discovery with both girls lives interspersed with secrets.  Each ending up with an almost complete role reversal.

This book demonstrates exquisitely how events in our childhood can and do shape the adults we become.  Tamsin, as older sister protected Sam from the real version of how their childhood really was, and continued to do so into her adulthood.  She became larger than life, wanting to be the best, to be noticed and admired - this was at odds with her sister who lacked confidence and wanted to blend into the background.  All of this is turned on its head and Tamsin retreats into herself leaving Sam with no choice but to step up and take charge.

I loved the role reversal, each sister moving out of their comfort zone, situations pushing them to be people they weren't.  Emotions run high at times as Sam becomes the stronger, bossier sister - trying to coax Tamsin into action when all that Tamsin really wanted to do was curl up, hide from the world and drink coffee. 

This book explores love, trust, friendship, confidence, loyalty and support.  Knowing when to give and when to take.  Two sisters and an eclectic mix of friends, family and acquaintances go on a journey with often hilarious results.  Much of it caused by fashion faux pars and Mrs J, the cleaner come busybody.  Help and support for both Sam and Tamsin comes from unexpected places.  But, for me Tamsin was my favourite character she fell from her lofty perch, was nurtured and pandered to until, when the time was right she literally rose from the ashes like a phoenix to save Sam.  It was just beautiful to watch her character grow once the polish was removed.

Sam and Tamsin both prove that when the chips are down - family and good friends really are all that you need.  All of this was delivered with love, cake - that  I literally could taste and a few snow angels.  I can confirm that lying in the snow, making snow angels is the perfect antidote to a stressful day - I'd highly recommend it, along with the coffee and cake you'll need after it to recover from the cold.

Sue's books keep getting better and better, the bar raised a little higher each time - I highly recommend you go out and order a copy of this book and indulge yourself. A truly beautiful read, thank you.

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