Working for a department store where Christmas arrives in August, Eve prefers her own festivities to be low key with nothing more complicated than an oven ready turkey and frozen peas while she spends the day in her pyjamas. Unfortunately, this year her husband has invited his best friend to visit, the glamorous and sophisticated Abby, and Eve reluctantly decides that she needs to inject a little sparkle into their laid back and slightly shabby Christmas.
So the celebrations are upgraded to include champagne and canapes along with homemade gravy and organic turkey and plans are made for a Christmas that looks as though it has emerged from the pages of a glossy magazine.
But even the best laid plans can go wrong and as Eve struggles with her mini Yorkshire puddings and an interfering cat, she is suddenly faced with an unexpected guest and an explosive secret that threatens to put her vision of a perfect Christmas in jeopardy.
Eve prefers the quiet life at Christmas especially as working in a department store means that the festive season arrives in summer.
This year though, she has to trade her PJ’s and minimum efforts for all out glamour and perfection when her husband announces that his best friend, Abby is coming to stay for twelve days over Christmas.
Her home is soon covered with pages ripped out of magazines, pages of notes and failed cooking attempts as Eve becomes slightly obsessed with making everything perfect. She is surrounded by an excited youngest daughter, an eldest daughter who doesn’t waste a chance to remind her of the amount of waste generated over Christmas and a confused husband but she gets tunnel vision and is soon even redecorating the spare room in anticipation of Abby’s arrival.
I had a mixture of sympathy and annoyance toward Eve at the beginning of the book as I had a feeling it was not going to go as planned.
I could understand her obsession though. It is easy to fall into the trap of feeling like everything needs to be perfect around Christmas and the pressure that you ultimately put on yourself to make everything perfect.
Eve is a very relatable character especially as she tries to juggle work, a family life and the lead up to the festive season mostly alone which is made worse when she realises Abby is coming to stay. Like many of us, she compares herself to others and gets too focused on what people think.
Even before she arrives, Abby looms over the story like an unseen villain and I wondered whether she would be able to be redeemed. What kind of character she turns out to be is something I hope you will find out yourself.
Other than Eve, my favourite character is actually Alice. I found her facts about the environment a good reminder about what’s important (made me feel a little guilty though.)There were moments when she really showed affection toward her mother which I found so endearing.
I have to admit, when Eve gets the house ready for Christmas, it sounded like something out of a magazine and I wanted to step into it.
Eve’s Christmas is exactly the type of book I like reading at this time of year. It’s a lovely, warm festive book (with a beautiful cover,) that reminds you what is important. Go on, make a hot chocolate, this novel, a blanket and find a spot near the Christmas tree.
Julie Butterfield belongs to the rather large group of ‘always wanted to write’ authors who finally found the time to sit down and put pen to paper – or rather fingers to keyboard.
She wrote her first book purely for pleasure and was very surprised to discover that so many people enjoyed the story and wanted more, so she decided to carry on writing.
It has to be pointed out that her first novel, ‘Did I Mention I Won The Lottery’ is a complete work of fiction and she did not, in fact, receive millions in her bank account and forget to mention it to her husband – even though he still asks her every day if she has anything to tell him!