Book Review: With Love at Christmas by Carole Matthews PLUS Author Interview

Can the imperfect family really have the perfect Christmas?
Juliet Joyce adores Christmas. She loves the presents, the tree, the turkey, the tinsel...just everything! Already the festive season is upon her, which is just as well as this Christmas things are just starting to get a little out of hand.
Her son Tom is out of work and bringing home a slew of unsuitable partners; pregnant daughter Chloe and her little boy have moved back in; Juliet's father, Frank, is getting over a heartbreak of his own and Rita, her eccentric mother, is behaving more erratically each day. And has the chaos got too much for Juliet's husband Rick?
With the big day fast approaching. Juliet hopes that she can stop everything spiralling out of control, because the only thing she wants is her family all around her and her home to be filled... With Love at Christmas.
I've been looking forward to starting my festive reading and Carole Matthews' latest book was an excellent way to begin. With Love at Christmas is such an enjoyable read. Carole Matthews has captured a quintessentially British Christmas; family, sprouts, shop bought Christmas pudding and advocat.
Juliet Joyce is a legend. Matriarch of the Joyce family, she has so many different things to juggle on a day to day basis. Her ageing mother, her heartbroken father, wayward son, selfish daughter, demading grandchild, preoccupied husband and the perfect family Christmas to plan.
It is such a busy time of year and we put so much pressure on ourselves for it to be amazing, With Love at Christmas highlights the fact that all that matters really is each other. Not presents or Christmas pudding or a beautifully decorated tree but friends and family instead.
Juliet and her husband Rick go out of their way constantly to help others but they seem to have forgotten to look after each other. When Juliet finds some suspicious texts on Rick's phone, she worries that maybe her husband has been at the bottom of the list of priorities for too long.
With Love at Christmas has many funny moments and I found it to be a very entertaining and heart warming read. It is the perfect book to get you in the mood for the impending festive season and as a reminder of the important things in life.

Dot Scribbles Rating: 5/5

I have been lucky enough to be able to ask the lovely Carole Matthews some questions, here's what she had to say:

1. I'm really excited about your new book With Love at Christmas, can you tell us a little bit about it? 
I’m really excited about it too and am already in the Christmas mood! Lovely Kev is refusing to put the tree up yet though and he’s quite alarmed about the amount of glittery products making their way into Matthews’ Towers!
With Love at Christmas is about a chaotic family Christmas featuring the Joyce family - the same family that featured in That Loving Feeling, a book which I wrote about 3 years ago. When I decided to do a Christmas book about a family-based Christmas, it was lovely to pick up with them again. It’s not a sequel. We pick up with the Joyce family 2 years later, just as they approach Christmas.
Juliet Joyce is a mad, keen Christmas fan and has been loving forward to this Christmas since the last one! This year, however, she’s juggling all kinds of problems. Her children have both come home and need her help. On the other hand, her elderly parents are having issues and need her to be with them. Juliet is pulled in a dozen different directions. Then she discovers mystery texts on her husband’s phone and wonders if she’s neglecting him just too much. All Juliet wants is everyone to be happy and her home to be filled With Love at Christmas, but can the imperfect family ever have the perfect Christmas?
It’s a funny, touching story that I hope will make readers laugh out loud and shed a tear.

2. When did you start writing this book and how did you manage to get into the festive spirit?
I wrote it during last summer, so I had to make sure I had lots of mince pies to hand when I started it! The nice thing about writing a Christmas book is that it gets you in the mood for Christmas really early and now I think about it virtually all year round.

 3. At this time of year I like a good cosy read or something with a bit of mystery! Do your reading habits change in the winter?
Well, now I read lots of Christmas books, which I love. But I also love a good ghost story during the winter months. I’m looking for something really scary this year. A book that’s quite a bit darker. I also like an historical novel filled with intrigue.

 4. Obviously, we're not far from Christmas now, what's your favourite thing about the festive season?
I just love being chilled out at home with family and friends. Nothing too exotic. A bottle of fizz,  a big box of chocs and a cheesy, sentimental film and that’s me sorted. I love it when friends drop in unexpectedly and I get cracking on the turkey butties. That’s what Christmas is all about.

 5. Have you started on the next book and if so can you give us any details?
In the new year my next book, A Cottage by the Sea is out. This is about what happens when three old friends go on holiday together and, of course, not everything turns out as they’d planned.


Dizzy C said...

Sounds perfect for the festive period.
I do feel such pressure at Christmas that I no longer enjoy preparing for it.

Thanks for the review

carol x

Nadia said...

Dot, this sounds like the perfect holiday novel - I can't wait to read it! Christmas is my favorite holiday, so this will definitely put me in a Christmasy mood ;)

Kim said...

I really must read this book and your review has made it all the more urgent that I get a copy! Thank you for a great review, Dot.

Ellie Warren said...

I started my festive reading this week, will keep an eye out on this one. These sort of books are great for getting in the mood before it all kicks off!

Jo said...

I have yet to start my festive reading, but I really want to. Not read any Carole Matthews so will look out for this.

Off now to get all my Xmas books ready!

Nikki-ann said...

I've been looking for Christmas themed books to add to my TBR list, so thanks for this great review and interview!

Dot said...

Thanks lovely ladies! There are some great festive books out this year!

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