Managed to tick off another Christmas book off my list! Now only have 2 more to read with 6 days left to do it. This review is for Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas fair by Heidi Swain.
Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair by Heidi Swain is another sweet Christmas read with the focus on Anna who at the beginning of the book is trying to find a job to keep herself busy through the Christmas period so she can stay away from all things merry and bright. She finds herself working at the beautiful Wynthorpe Hall, hired by Angus the owner to take care of his wife Catherine as she recovers from surgery.
While she is there she runs into their son Jamie and just like Anna, it turns out he is trying to avoid something as well. They make a pact to help each other out with Jamie promising he will make her love Christmas again and she promises to make him fall in love with the Hall again to make his future a bit brighter. When Christmas arrives will Anna be ready to move onto her next job or will she stay, and will Jamie take over the Hall to keep it up and running?
Keeping in with my plan to keep all things Christmassy one thing I really loved about this book was the setting. Not only did the hall sound beautiful but adding the snow and lights around the tress made it even more perfect. The hall itself sounded homely with each member of the team doing their bit to ensure it stayed that way
Now due to the fact that I have already read a Christmas romance style book I could have done without the romantic element to this book. I actually feel the book itself didn’t need the romantic element due to the fact that Anna as a character was already going through a massive change by allowing herself to be accepted into a family. Personally I enjoyed the relationship she had with the others in the house more than the one she developed with her love interest Jamie.
The characters that live in the house for me make this book so enjoyable because they all have such clearly defined yet different personalities that all manage to merge together under one roof – just like a family. The characters that stood out for me were Angus and Catherine because of their upbeat attitude and genuine warmth. Their relationship with Anna was the sweetest because despite their intense love of the season they never forced it upon Anna but slowly introduced different elements to her. Angus’ love for Christmas was a jarring difference to Anna’s outlook, yet she managed to appreciate him for is different view and instead she learned to enjoy more herself.
I personally would have liked a bit more time looking at the 3 brothers rather than the relationship between Anna and Jamie because that would have been a more interesting dynamic, especially considering the drama that normally happens between siblings at Christmas. I found Jamie’s character quite annoying at points so I would have liked to see more of him acting as a brother instead of a love interest. However the added element about his difficulties making a decision about his future was a nice touch as anyone in my age group I know will relate to this!
Overall it was a very enjoyable book with lovely messages about enjoying the moment and sometimes stepping out of your comfort zone, I would have loved more backstory to Anna’s clear disdain for the season but it was reasonably explained and there were nice touches throughout the book referencing her mother.