Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cakes

Author:  Sue Watson
Genre:  Romance/Christmas

Five Stars
Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake is a truly heart-warming and hilarious read about sisters, love and finding the courage to be yourself – one snowflake at a time.

For Tamsin Angel, Christmas is always the biggest and best… chic parties and a little showbiz sparkle are a must. This year though, things aren’t going quite as planned…

With bailiffs suddenly at the door and her husband nowhere to be found, it looks like Christmas just got downsized. Moving into her sister’s one-bedroom flat, she wonders whether things will ever be the same again.

After losing her husband on Christmas Eve, Sam Angel has rebuilt her life around her son Jacob and her new business – The White Angel Bakery. She’s also found herself a very handsome, loving boyfriend, but is struggling to let go of the past.

Thrown together with a sprinkle of Christmas magic, Sam and Tamsin might just learn a little more about each other – and themselves. But when disaster strikes at the bakery, will they be able to save the day in time for Christmas?
Tamsin Angel has everything:  Successful husband, two children, a home in an exclusive neighborhood, and more money than you can count.  At the moment she is attempting to top her last Christmas extravaganza, having this one completely in white - including buying new white furniture.  She spends her days shopping and trying to outdo her snotty neighbors.  Tamsin appears to be completely social conscious, only concerned with clothes, shoes, and how she looks to others; but we soon learn that than meets the eye, day her world falls apart when the bailiffs show up at her door and tell her that her mortgage hasn't been paid in over a year and the bank now owns her home.  On top of that, she can't locate her husband Simon anywhere, and she soon discovers that he hasn't been paying anything.  Her 'friends' won't have anything to do with her, she's gone into denial, and the only thing she can now do is move in with her sister Sam and Sam's son Jacob into their tiny apartment above Sam's Bakery, The White Angel.
Sam Angel is a young widow with a six-year-old son.  She has a fledgling bakery and practically nothing.  She has been keeping the memory of her dead husband Steve alive through her small son, including refusing to cut his hair, even though it is causing problems at school for Jacob.  She has a sort-of relationship with a divorced father, Richard, who wants to make it more permanent.  But Sam isn't sure that she wants to, because she is still living in the past and thinking what if something happens and Richard leaves her - she is afraid something will go wrong and the relationship will fail and she'll be left alone again. 
But now her older sister Tamsin has moved in with her (fortunately, Tamsin's college-aged children Hugo and Hermione have been able to stay with friends), and has completely turned her life upside down.  Barely able to keep herself above water, Sam must now deal with a sister who still wants her old life back and convince her it isn't possible.  Tamsin, for her part, must learn to live in the real world without money, a huge home, no husband to take care of her and try to make a life for herself.  So when Sam suggests that they become business partners, Tamsin jumps at the chance and vows to make the White Angel Bakery the best there is.
This is a story of two completely different sisters who, while living in the same household, had two completely different upbringings and it colored their lives.  It is a story that could happen to anyone anywhere (in fact, if you talk to siblings, you will probably find that their recital of the same events at home are completely different, a 'vantage point' if you will.)  They have both lost things in their lives which were important to them, and must not only learn to move on and look to the future, but are learning the importance they have to each other as well.
The story is told in alternating chapters with the sisters narrating.  With each chapter we get first one sister's view, then the next.  It is different, and I liked the fact that we are getting both their viewpoints, not just one or the other's.  You get to see what is happening through both their eyes.  Throughout the book, you see the sisters growing, changing, and learning to love and trust again during the Christmas holiday.  Even when there are what seems to be catastrophic setbacks, they move on with each other's help and love.
It is a wonderful story of loss, hope and redemption.  Tamsin and Sam manage to find new lives for themselves and a new beginning with each other.  Tamsin finds out who her real friends are, and Sam finds out that holding onto the past isn't the best thing you can do for yourself after all.  It is a story that is heartfelt and warm, and perfect for the holiday season.  Highly recommended.

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