Eve Halligan is back in her hometown for Christmas after a whirlwind few years touring with her band, the Molotovs. A lot has changed since she left, but two things have stayed the same. One: Eve is head-over-heels in love with Lucien Malikov, the Molotovs’ bad boy lead singer. Two: Lucien is completely indifferent to her.
Still, Eve dreams that this could be the Christmas where she convinces Lucien that they’re made for each other. But when childhood friend and local caterer Theo Wright comes back into her life bringing with him festive cupcake and sausage roll conundrums, Eve begins to question whether her Christmas dreams have been wasted on the wrong man …
That’s right. The ‘C’ word. Christmas is coming (just in case you hadn’t tripped over the tinsel or the stacked high tubs of Quality Street/Roses in your local supermarket yet), and Happy Christmas Eve by Jackie Ladbury is my first festive read of the season.
Happy Christmas Eve is a short and sweet read, featuring – I have to say – one of the most infuriating female characters in Eve. I liked her, I really did, but her indecision where Lucien was concerned, drove me up the wall! I was invested in her though, and I was championing her to find a backbone and live up to her potential – because beyond the willingness to turn a blind eye and be treated as a doormat, lay a truly talented young woman.
Her developing relationship with Theo is lovely, but for me, this was less about the romance, and more about Eve’s journey, it feels almost as if she grows from an overgrown teen into a woman within the space of this novella. It is a tale of self discovery and I feel that the true romance is Eve learning to love herself enough to take control of her own life. The realisations along the way are perfectly plotted and although I really felt for Eve, particularly in the gift-giving scenes, I was also desperate for it to be the thing that tipped her into standing up for herself.
It’s a lovely, enjoyable story, festive (although, at this early stage I have to say the Christmas cheer was perfectly pitched and not too OTT) and with a great cast of characters who form a fantastic community around Eve.
An ideal companion to a mince pie and a warming mulled wine!
*I received a copy of Happy Christmas Eve from the publisher. The decision to read was my own and this review forms my honest opinion.