BOOK REVIEW: IT STARTED WITH CHRISTMAS BY JENNY HALE

Holly lives with her Nan, as a waitress, in the town of Nashville. After her grandfather’s death, Holly has seen a drastic change in her Nan and is willing to do everything she can to make her Nan smile and have fun again. When her Nan hints at visiting the family lodge, Holly doesn’t wait one second more and they both set off for a snowy, cosy journey to what used to be filled with many family traditions. Holly believes that with a change of scenery for her grandmother and even herself, all loose ends can be tied for them both and a little magic will be brought back in to their lives. When Holly and her Nan arrive at the lodge, they are welcomed by a man, Joseph, fast asleep in one of their rooms, due to being snowed in after his recent stay as a guest. Holly and Joseph immediately get along, much to her Nan’s dismay and begin to spend a lot of time having fun and getting to know one another – except Joseph is prepping for a very monumental moment in his life and Holly’s childhood best friend comes back to win her heart.

I’ve read two of Jenny’s Christmas books before and let me tell you something – they are the cosiest, Christmas books I’ve ever read. It Started With Christmas does not disappoint at all and I enjoyed getting myself curled up in bed on a morning and evening, reading all about Holly and watching her friendship with Joseph blossom in to something special. Setting this book in a cabin, making it as cosy and Christmassy as this one, has really made me want to go away for Christmas away from everyone and just be in my own little bubble with family! The community Holly is surrounded by are such wonderful characters who definitely have her and her Nan’s back with everything – you can definitely tell that they are looked at very highly by everyone and their grandfather was most certainly spoken very highly of throughout.

Holly’s childhood best friend, Rhett, was a character that I sympathised for, but there’s nothing more stressful than when you want two people together so bad and someone has to get in the way of that! Although, he wasn’t the only one that got in the way of their true love, but I won’t spoil that – all I’ll say is one is more innocent than the other. I did admire the friendship Rhett and Holly did have though, they had grown up together since they were just children and reading how close of a bond Rhett also had with her grandfather and Nan, it was very heart-warming.

Let’s finish this post off talking about my most favourite characters of them all – Holly, Nan and Joseph. Holly is such an admirable character. She gave up all of her dreams being an interior designer when her grandfather passed away, so she could stay home to take care of her Nan, who had become a lost soul. It can be difficult to let go of certain dreams, but she always puts her family first and because of this, her dream path paves it’s way to her in many unexpected ways. She’s a very giving woman and would much rather be sentimental than materialistic. What Holly had to go through is possibly one of the most painful experiences a woman has to go through, especially when it comes to never being able to have the man you love and I have to applaud her for all that she did because I certainly would not have had the strength to do the same. Nan starts off being a very grouchy character and doesn’t really interact/have fun with anybody, although that is understandable because I’m sure anyone would be in a permanent mood if they lost their other half – it’s just natural. Watching Nan’s confidence grow and her personality liven up throughout the story was the best part of it all I personally would say – she got herself up on the dance-floor a couple of times, grew fond of Joseph and begun to chat away to the community she’s lived with forever instead of secluding herself. Holly made sure that Grandfather’s memory was kept alive this Christmas and it took Nan by surprise, really warming up her heart and appreciating what she has around her. Joseph is a complete gentleman who didn’t have to socialise with the two ladies or get involved with their lives as much as he did, but that’s the type of person he is and I warmed up to him straight away. Like any gorgeous man, he had a secret that could potentially break Holly’s heart if she fell too deep and it also had the power to break his because the more he got to know Holly, the more he didn’t want to go through with what was coming. There was an instantaneous connection between Holly and Joseph from the moment they met and in all honesty, neither of them hid it that well, nor did they try. There were so many heart-warming moments between the two such as; Christmas shopping for another, dancing, getting to know one another, carrying on Holly’s Grandfather’s tradition, etc. The two of them really bonded and I admired Joseph for making the most of his stay and allowing himself to let loose and have a little fun before he unfortunately, had to return to reality.

Jenny never makes it clear who Holly will end up with, leaving us in a will-they-won’t-they situation throughout the whole story and as I’m sure many was, I was super over the moon with the end results and how it all eventually fell in to place a year later. ‘It Started With Christmas’ is a feel-good story filled with happiness, friendship (new and old), finding yourself, finding true love and most importantly, Christmas.

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