Northern Mummy

General thoughts and wittering about all sorts of things

Christmas catch-up

on December 21, 2011

So, December arrived and, despite all my advance planning throughout October and November, everything got a little manic.  Mainly because I was ill, and then both the girls were ill, so things didn’t always get done when they should have.  That said, I’ve done a lot and taken lots of photos, but not got round to blogging it.  So I’m planning to do a few little posts over today and tomorrow catching up on things.

Firstly reading, because I want to tell you about something I discovered online (not sure how, think it was via Twitter) which I’m REALLY enjoying!  An author called Scarlett Bailey, whose début novel The Night Before Christmas has been published this winter (hoping to read it soon but with birthday and Christmas both in December it’s safest not to buy books for myself at this time of year!), has produced a free advent calendar story called Santa, Maybe.  It’s a sort of cross between Dickens’ A Christmas Carol and fun chick-lit and concerns Amy, who gets a visit from an unexpectedly young and attractive Santa on Christmas Eve, and is taken on various magical journeys to help fulfil her Christmas Wish to find a man to love.  Things don’t quite go as planned, however, for either her or Santa.  I’m really enjoying it and the author has done well to construct the story with little cliff hangers each day (in a sort of Dickensian way, appropriately enough).  I’m just slightly worried, however, because I happen to know she’s writing it day by day, and it concerns me that sometime over the next 3 days she’s going to be overwhelmed by the run-up to Christmas and forget to finish it!

I haven’t done much other reading recently – I’ve really wanted to but Christmas preparations have really taken over and I’ve found myself picking up a book time and time again, only to put it aside as I realise I have cupcakes to make for a Christmas party, or gifts to wrap, or truffles to finish for teachers’ presents, or something (more of that in a later post!)  However, whilst I was ill I downloaded two audiobooks from Audible.  One was Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto – this was our reading group read and despite its having been my selection, I hadn’t got round to reading it – and the other was Comfort and Joy by India Knight.  I’ve also been given two books for my birthday: It’s a Vet’s Life by Cathy Woodman, which I’ve now finished, and The Distant Hours by Kate Morton, which I’ve not started yet.

I never know whether to blog books separately or in groups, but I think they’ll be easier to find if I do several separate posts, so I will.  Besides, it will balance out all the baking posts I’ve done recently!


3 responses to “Christmas catch-up

  1. Sarah kimberley says:


    I’m hoping you might tell me the spoiler of what old Fox Gifford does in this book, please.

    I’ve read the first two books, but the reviews for this often include “dark”, “disturbing”, “depressing” etc; so I don’t think I’ll bother! But, I would very much like to know the twist.


    • northmum says:

      Hi Sarah

      It’s a while since I read the book but I don’t remember finding it “dark” or “depressing” although there’s no denying that the climax of the Old Fox-Gifford story comes as a bit of a shock.
      *Spoilers begin here!*
      There are several incidents which draw attention to the fact that he’s ageing and struggling and after he runs his dog over and Maz sees him hit a lamppost and a wall she calls the police and he loses his driving licence. He calls her into his office and tells her he intends to shoot himself because with the driving licence and the threat of being struck off for a mistake he made, there’s nothing worth living for now; Maz spends a while reminding him of all he’s still got -grandchildren, etc – and he agrees to change his mind. Nevertheless as she returns downstairs she hears a shot and she and Sophia run back up to find he’s dead after all.
      Following this there are a few more problems (a couple of dogs dying & Alex is depressed) but then it’s all hands to the pump to get the wedding organised in time, so it all finishes in a happy note.

      Hope that satisfies your curiosity! Generally I didn’t think this was as good as some of her other books although it was good to draw their story to a close. My favourite Cathy Woodman is “The Boy Next Door”, it’s not in the Talyton St George series but I can recommend it.

      • Sarah kimberley says:


        I thought I’d replied but it hasn’t shown up. Just to say thank you so much for taking the time to write all that. I really appreciate it.

        From the other reviews I read, it sounded like there was some kind of abuse, which isn’t my cup of tea at all; but I was curious to know the twist.

        I will try your recommendation, thanks. Generally, if I’m reading this genre, I tend towards the overtly fun and fluffy. Jo Carnegie is my favourite although they are a bit more sexified! Thanks again 😀

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