You’ve seen Mark Darcy in the reindeer jumper his mother gave him, now meet Marco Cavelli in this season’s Christmas knit!
For single mum Maggie, Christmas has always been a family occasion – her daughter Ellen filling the house with her bubbly warmth and mistletoe, her dad Paddy having one too many festive tipples, and the traditional family Christmas tree looking like a drunken elf vomited a rainbow all over it.
But this year, with both Ellen and Paddy away for the holidays, Maggie’s facing a truly blue Christmas – alone with nothing but a bottle of Baileys and an M&S turkey dinner.
Until walking the snowy streets of Oxford, Marco Cavelli quite literally crashes into her life – and, complete with broken leg, becomes her unexpected houseguest. All dreamy brown eyes and 6’5” of gorgeousness, the man is hotter and more delicious than a freshly baked mince pie.
Though Maggie always thought it’s a truth universally acknowledged that you never kiss a man in a Christmas jumper?
Marco Cavalli causes quite a stir when he frequents his local park with what appears to be his baby son in tow. All of the yummy mummies are drooling over the handsome man wearing a Christmas jumper (including Maggie, despite the fact that her daughter is now very much a teenager AND she wouldn’t necessarily describe herself as being ‘yummy’ – but she is only just onto her ‘best before’ date, so it’s not all bad…)
However, when wedding dress designer Maggie ends up colliding with Marco on her bicycle during what she later labels her Worst Day Off Ever, it looks as though Maggie is going to end up seeing a lot more of Marco Cavalli over the Christmas season…
Debbie Johnson is well and truly shaping up to be a pretty fantastic author. I adored her Christmas novel last year, Cold Feet at Christmas, so when I first heard about Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper I was thrilled. Even more so due to the fact that the character of Marco is the twin brother of Rob (from Cold Feet at Christmas). I love it when we get to re-visit old characters and it was such a joy to become reacquainted with some of the stars of Cold Feet at Christmas, especially Leah who was one of my favourites.
I also can’t even attempt to write this review without mentioning two important things. The first is the GORGEOUS cover. Just look at it. It makes me happy just looking at this Chrismassy cover of delight and if I saw this book sitting on a shelf there is no way on this earth that I would be able to resist it. Not only do HarperImpulse produce fabulous authors but they always seem to release the most gorgeous of covers for their books, too.
The second important thing is the title. Is Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper not one of the best titles you’ve ever heard!? I absolutely LOVE it.
Ok – now on to the story. Despite the brilliant title and festive-theme running through this story, don’t be misled by this novel. Whilst there certainly is a sack full of humour, love and romance, there are also a few tear-inducing and more sobering moments within the pages of this story which I wasn’t expecting. I think Debbie Johnson has struck the balance between the two perfectly and has crafted a hugely enjoyable and immensely readable story. The way she has woven together the warmth and love of Christmas with the sadder, tender moments, should really be applauded.
Oxford is the perfect back drop for this Christmassy romance and is really brought to life through Debbie’s writing. I had no difficulty at all imagining the settings throughout the story which really made it extra special for me. I also love Debbie’s style of writing as a whole. It’s light, clever and such a dream to read. She keeps the story interesting, exciting and fast-paced, and as a reader you quickly feel involved in what’s going on.
The characters are another factor that played a vital part in making the novel so special. I felt as though I quickly bonded with Maggie. She was likeable, hardworking, self-deprecating and you soon realise all that she’s overcome after having her daughter Ellen at just 16. I desperately wanted Maggie to have her happy-ever-after and was dying to find out what (if anything!) was going to happen. Seeing the gradual change in her character was believable and an utter joy.
Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper is one of those novels that you’ll become instantly submerged in and won’t be able to stop reading. It’s a race-through-in-one-afternoon-because-you-can’t-put-it-down job and is perfect for losing yourself in on a cloudy afternoon whilst sat by the light of the Christmas tree. (Sounds dreamy – right?)
I am so RIDICULOUSLY excited to see what Debbie Johnson brings us next. Her books just seem to get better and better and I simply cannot wait for The Birthday That Changed Everything to be released (FYI – 28th Jan. Finally something to look forward to after Christmas!)
Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper is fun, merry and utterly romantic. If you’re daunted by the sheer amount of Christmas novels doing the rounds this year then your search is over – don your festive knit and read this one. It truly is the perfect Christmas read.
A huge thank you to Debbie Johnson and Felicity at HarperImpulse. ♥
Debbie Johnson lives and works in Liverpool, where she divides her time between writing, caring for a small tribe of children and animals, and not doing the housework.She writes romance, fantasy and crime – which is as confusing as it sounds!