Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review - - The Great Christmas Knit-Off

The Great Christmas Knit-Off
By Alexandra Brown
Publisher:  William Morrow
Release Date: October 13, 2015

This book was like treating myself to an entire sticky toffee pudding and not having to share: comforting, sweet, and even after gorging myself, I still wanted more. The tale is a familiar one, if you’re a fan of Bridget Jones or books by the Shopaholic author, Sophie Kinsella. A thirty-something single woman of epic bad luck runs from the flaming shards of her life to the countryside, where she finds herself charmed by the rural bucolic existence of a small town and its citizens and romanced by her own Mr. Darcy-like hero. Chaos and merriment ensues.

As Sybil is emerging from her depression after being jilted at the altar by her Star-Wars fanatic fianc√© who subsequently runs off with her twin sister, she learns she may have done the cock up of all cock ups at work and lose her job, so she does what any of us would do: runs to her best friend’s house to have a good cry and get some perspective. Upon arrival in Tindledale, she learns that Cheryl is away on business for the weekend, but she has no interest in going back home so she can freak out all weekend, alone. Instead she makes the best of things and goes to the local B&B, where she is immediately befriended by the owner, Lawrence, but it’s not long before she’s charmed by all the town’s inhabitants, Ruby, the vintage dress shop owner and burlesque dancer; Hettie, the sweet octogenarian who own the haberdashery (exactly the sort of place Sybil dreams of managing someday); Kitty, who runs a pastry shop; and as there is nearly every romantic British novel, a Mr. Darcy, who is the town doctor.

With Lawrence’s help, she gets on her feet and immediately finds a project, helping Hettie save her haberdashery from her villainous nephew who wants to scoop up the land at no cost to build condos and put Hettie in an old folks’ home.  Soon she has convinced Hettie they can pull this off, and with the help of nearly everyone who has a pair of knitting needles, they embark on making (and selling) 75 Christmas sweaters in time for when the Japanese tourists come for their yearly pilgrimage to spend Christmas in an authentic English setting. Soon the haberdashery is thriving in the way Hettie has desperately needed and that Sybil has envisioned. Despite that things seem to continue to go awry and you wonder if Sybil or Hettie will get the happy endings they deserve, a happy ending is procured as plump and sweet as the Christmas pudding (that is part of the knitting project in the back of the book).

I am a sucker for English-themed cozy books with wacky characters; and this book was clearly written with me in mind. I adored it. The only thing I could find to critique about it is that I wanted to read more—but I believe this may be the first in a series and I will get the opportunity to be delighted by the wacky characters of Tindledale. I have half a mind to try the project in the back of the book, or at the very least, find myself a Christmas sweater to wear for this year’s festivities. If you love quirky, cozy British set novels ala Sophie Kinsella, full of cheesy hilarity and romantic staples and Christmas in its traditional peculiar glory, put this on your TBR pile for your Christmas reading list. 


Hellie Sinclair (a.k.a. Fran) was one of the founding members of the Romance Writer's Revenge, where she frequently got to satisfy her love of good books and her need to expound by writing reviews. Hellie loves to craft on projects she rarely finishes, watch British dramas as a sort of Olympic marathon event, and do most anything that fits the description "indolent and pleasurable." Fortunately reading falls into that category.  Connect with Hellie on Facebook


  1. I love christmas stories and Sophie Kinsella I will definetly add this to my TBR list

  2. Definitely adding this to my TBR pile. Thanks for letting me know.

  3. Hoping my library gets it soon...

  4. Hoping my library gets it soon...