12 Oct Countdown to Christmas by Jo Thomas
It’s going to be a white Christmas in snowy Quebec …
As a woman who loves Christmas, I’m always happy when proofs and copies of Christmas books start popping through my letterbox in September and October.
And I’m even more happy to be kicking off my Christmas reviews with this new Jo Thomas seasonal sizzler. She’s one of my favourite writers of popular women’s fiction – somehow she always gets plot and characters spot on!
And her settings are always sublime – I’ve armchair visited Spain, Italy and Lapland with her stories, and always feel like I’ve been there for real.
This time she takes us to Canada, to snowy Quebec, where Chloe Namid Jones has travelled to discover more about her unexpected inheritance of a parcel of land from a distant family member.
She’s hoping it will provide enough money to set up her and 12-year-old son Ruben in comfort, and crossing her fingers that the distraction of travelling will ease the pain of missing Ruben, who is spending the whole of December in New York with his father and his new family.
Out of her comfort zone
Arriving in Quebec, Chloe finds herself in a small community of Foret d’Esprit. She has to contend with snow, ice, a protective moose mother, a cheeky turkey (not destined for the dinner table, thankfully) and her growing attraction to local store owner Theo.
As she counts down to Christmas with the help of a home-made calendar from Ruben, which encourages her out of her comfort zone, Chloe becomes part of the community. But can she help save the maple syrup production co-operative that binds them together before the big boys move in?
And what of her inheritance, which proves more complicated by the day?
And in between all this she has to organise Christmas for the whole of Foret d’Esprit. At least she has no time to miss Ruben …
Learning to love again
This was a joy of a Christmas story. I absolutely loved the setting – if you’re going to have a white Christmas, where better than the snowy wilds of Canada? Jo Thomas’s descriptions are picture-perfect. From log cabins, to snow-capped trees to young ice-hockey players on the frozen lake, the settings all spring to life before the reader’s eye.
The characters are all very empathetic. Theo is a true hunky lumberjack type, strong, manly, capable, but with a sensitive side and a true caring nature.
The community of Foret d’Esprit are a mixed bunch, adding interest and humour to the story.
And Chloe is everything a heroine should be. Warm, caring, passionate about her family, but with a vulnerability only she can overcome by gathering her courage, stepping out of her comfort zone, and maybe, just maybe, learning to love again.
And of course, there are Christmas tree, fairs, carols and concerts. And it wouldn’t be a Jo Thomas book without lashings of lovely food – all with a maple syrup flavouring that adds to the sweetness of this comforting Christmas read.
What a great way to start Christmas 2023!
Countdown to Christmas by Jo Thomas is published by Penguin in ebook and paperback
About the Author
Jo’s debut novel, The Oyster Catcher, was a runaway award-winning bestseller. In every one of her novels Jo loves to explore new countries and discover the food produced there, both of which she thoroughly enjoys researching. Jo lives in Pembrokeshire with her husband and three children, where cooking and gathering around the kitchen table are a hugely important and fun part of their family.
Thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on this blogtour and to Penguin and NetGalley for the advance copy of the book.
Catch up with the rest of the blogtour at the links on the poster
More reviews of Jo Thomas books