Book Review: Secret Santa by Scarlett Bailey

Secret Santa

Secret Santa by Scarlett Bailey
Rlease Date:
6th November 2014
Publisher: Ebury
Buy: Kindle
5 star


A self-confessed Christmas queen, Sue Montaigne prides herself on organising the annual nativity pageant in her small Cornish village of Poldore.

But this year, what with having to deal with the repairs on Castle House after it was wrecked by a terrible storm, training a new – and frankly flighty – Virgin Mary and managing a Joseph who is allergic to sheep, she is distinctly lacking a little bit of ‘me time’.

And then there are the auditions for the new Santa. But nothing prepares her for the beautiful man who turns up, a twinkle in his eye and a promise to make her Christmas dreams come true…


In Secret Santa we return to one of my favourite settings ever… Poldore. If you’ve read any of Scarlett Bailey’s previous novels then you’ll already be familiar with this beautiful village and its array of residents.
This time the story focuses on the ever-in-control Sue Montaigne…only it appears this Christmas she’s not as in control of everything as she would like.
Castle House is falling apart and Sue has no idea where she’s going to find the money for the necessary repairs, her husband Rory has upped and left her and the children for another woman, and to top it all Poldore’s regular Santa Claus, Jargo, has decided to retire, leaving Sue with very little time to find a replacement for the annual nativity pageant.
However, when Sue plucks up the courage to ask Poldore’s very own movie star, Blake Fletcher to help with auditions for the new Santa, she ends up getting a whole lot more than she bargained for…

For me, Scarlett Bailey is the QUEEN of Christmas novels. They’re always perfect, with just the right amount of romance, magic, festivities and cosiness and this delightful short story lived up to all of my expectations.
I loved returning to Poldore, it’s fast becoming one of my favourite villages and it was great to catch up with the residents and also to be introduced to some new characters at the same time.
I was rooting for poor Sue right from the start – how much can one woman take? I really admire her spirit and my opinion of completely changed. I now think she’s one heck of a woman who only wants the best for her friends, family and Poldore. I loved seeing her transformation from stressed, worn out mother to some super-hot lady dining out with a movie star. (As you do…)

I also really liked Nick (or should I say Santa!?) He was a perfect example of how Scarlett infuses her story with that little bit of magic. Nick brought a smile to my face and his dialogue and interactions with Sue are pure brilliance.
Secret Santa is one of those short stories that doesn’t feel unfairly short, unlike some novella’s which end and leave you thinking ‘Whaaa!?’ There’s plenty of action and excitement packed into the story, yet there’s a satisfying ending for the characters too.
I’ve no doubt that Secret Santa will put you in a Christmassy mood if you’re not feeling especially festive yet. It’s the ideal novel to enjoy on a chilly afternoon; it’ll being a smile to your face and give you a warm fuzzy feeling at the same time.


I would give this novel a million Christmas Puddings if I could (only I don’t have the graphic…Sorry!) It’s packed to the brim with all things festive, but by now I suppose we should expect no less from the amazing Scarlett Bailey.  It begins on 22nd December and leads us right the way up to Christmas Day, meaning there are presents, Santa’s and turkey’s in abundance. Needless to say, I was one very happy Holly reading this.

I’d like to thank publishers, Ebury for approving me on NetGalley to read Secret Santa. Big Christmassy thanks, guys!


Scarlett BaileyA lover of Christmas, romance and old movies Scarlett wrote her first Christmas romance ‘The Night Before Christmas’ in 2011. Her second novel ‘Married by Christmas’ and a digital novella ‘Santa Maybe’ are out now.

Scarlett BaileyTwitter | Facebook | Goodreads |

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