Book Review: Merry Ex-Mas

Author: Sheila Roberts
ISBN: 9781921795800
RRP: $29.99

‘Tis the season to be jolly, to curl up with a good book and relax, to surround yourself with loved ones and for many authors to release a Xmas book. Often these books are a Christmas release but not a Christmas story. This is also the season for many Christmas focused stories to be released and I happened to pick one up late last week, and wonder if I was going to be able to get it read and reviewed on time.

Merry Ex-Mas is a very Christmas oriented story set in Icicle Falls where Christmas is very different to what we are used to here in Australia. It’s all about winter sports, roaring fires and warming spiked egg nog; all things romantic and the elements you would expect to find in heartwarming xmas stories and that are seriously lacking in an Australian Christmas.

Not everything is rosy and romantic in Icicle Falls this Christmas, as we learn from best friends Cass, Charley and Ella. These friends are not spending their Christmas the way they had planned and getting through the holiday season unscathed could be quite the challenge.

A lot of the story is quite formulaic and predictable as it travels along the bumpy path to happily ever after. Yes there are many predictable elements to the story but the situations are not ones that you would come across every day.

Cass is helping her daughter Dani plan a short notice wedding, just before Christmas which happens to be her busiest time of year at work, in a small town which attracts tourists come Christmas. Which means there’s no room at the Inn, any Inn, for Dani’s dad and his new wife so Cass eventually agrees to put aside her personal feelings and put them up in her house.

merry exmas

Charley is also visited by her ex-husband, the man who was caught having an affair and left her for the other woman, he comes back begging forgiveness and feigning remorse to get back into Charley’s good graces, and her bed.

Ella’s is the story with the most potential for both happy endings and endless misery. You know early on where you hope her storyline will go but there’s enough setbacks that you are never sure which way it will go.

Merry Ex-Mas is a heartfelt Christmas story about love, friendship and family. A book that tells of a small town community that pulls together when things don’t go to plan, and there was an awful lot that didn’t go to plan in this book – as was to be expected.

The women in Merry Ex-Mas are everyday women with the same issues, insecurities and vulnerabilities that many of us share and they all begin the book on their own, though surrounded by people, and still healing from the past hurts of their broken marriages. Ella misses her ex-in-laws while living with her ex-husband and waiting for the house to sell, not an easy situation to be in when you are heartbroken and trying to fight the feelings you can’t switch off.

Merry Ex-Mas is a story about moving on, growing up, second chances and the healing power of friendship – and Chocolate, that really is something that’s universal. Any crisis can be made bearable by the arrival of friends bearing chocolate, which is extremely easy to do when one of your best friends owns a chocolate company.

As an added bonus for those who love to bake, and fell in love with the fabulous featured cupcakes there is a section at the back of the book with cupcake recipes so that you can create your own Icicle Falls cupcakes and I love that authors are beginning to do this, offering a way for you to have a little of their world in your own home.

I did quite enjoy this book, a light and easy Christmas read to help get you in the festive spirit. It was nothing that set my world on fire but it did bring me to the verge of tears when we came to the end. I really am becoming a sucker for a happy ending. I would definitely read more by Sheila Roberts but I don’t think I will be sitting impatiently anticipating a next release, enjoyably festive and great for the season.

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