The publisher has provided a copy for review.
★★☐☐☐ I had high hopes for the book. Maybe I had in my head a sweet "Life in Medford" tale because of the title. And I was in a Christmas mood, considering decorating a tree or two (though the weather is in the 80s where I live).
Isn't Christmas all about God's faithful love and goodness? So what's the draw in two immoral bed-hopping daughters and their friends. Their dad (the vicar) is so "loving" that he looks the other way? Yikes. I cringed at inappropriate twists in the story and left feeling a bit stunned. (You'd have to be really jaded to think the interactions in the vicarage were wholesome.)
The setting was pretty. The book was an easy read once I got past the plethora of adjectives. But I'm getting frustrated by the insertion of gay characters in every modern novel. C'mon people! We don't need blatant cultural agendas in every book (and every film or sitcom). I started to check out completely when I realized I could never trust a vicar who thought it humorous to turn the lovely invitation of God upside down by choosing a lesbian couple for Mary and Joseph. I guess I also wouldn't consider trusting people as blatantly uncommitted to their friends and spouses as the novel's characters.
Sigh. So the story line wasn't appealing. I stayed hopeful to the end, wanting a redeeming story - but the premise of "no one gets hurt if I'm the unfaithful one .. but oh how it hurts when someone does the right thing" was jarring. So sadly, I can't recommend this.
I gave it 2 stars for the setting, the cover, and the title. I love British villages. And Christmas. And committed pastors who shepherd their flocks carefully and well.