Hello, hello and happy Monday! Guys, I have an incredible treat for you today! I am absolutely, totally excited to be kicking off Joanna Bolouri’s blog tour for her new, festive novel “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”. I adore Joanna and her books, I love the way she perceives the world and how downt – to – earth her wriritng is, and also the fact that she makes me cry with laughter, so couldn there be a better start to a new week than to treat yourself to this book? Really, just go and buy it and thank me later for the recommendation!
Thank you, Alainna, for letting me be a part of this blog tour!
The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Joanna Bolouri
Publishing Date: 20th October 2016
Source: Copy provided by the publisher in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 416
Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult), Women’s Literature
A hilarious and heartwarming Christmas comedy. Perfect for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Tracy Bloom & Chrissie Manby.
Thirty-eight year old Emily has a satisfying job, fab friends, an amazing car and, most importantly, a wonderful flat, exactly 411 miles away from the judgemental, batshit crazy, interfering family she reluctantly sees twice a year. In fact, the only minor stress in her life is her twenty-something neighbour Evan and his penchant for flirting, loud music and even louder sex . . . but he’s nothing she can’t handle.
Emily also has a boyfriend called Robert and it’s going really well. So well, in fact, that this year Emily is hoping to take him home for Christmas to meet her family. Finally she won’t be subject to five days of nosy questions from her parents and pity looks from her younger married siblings.
But when Robert breaks up with her a week before Christmas, Emily is gutted. How on earth is she going to face her family now? Enlisting the help of party boy Evan (in exchange for one month’s rent and the use of her convertible) Emily is determined to take Robert home for Christmas come hell or high water, even if it isn’t the real Robert . .
“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is Joanna Bolouri’s third novel, and third that I had a pleasure to read. And also third that I am rating with 5 stars – Joanna is the right person in the right place and I’ve no idea what I’ve done before without her books! Yes, I have the feeling that every novel by her is a little gentler than the previous one but they are still incredibly funny, incredibly sharp observed, with incredibly well developed and memorable characters, and Joanna describes the world just as it is, in this brilliant, sharp, down – to – earth and so realistic way and I think that right now “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is my favourite book by this author – but I love all three of them, so you can imagine, no? And one thing more – in the synopsis it says it is a perfect book for fans of Mhairi McFarlane, Tracy Bloom and Chrissie Manby and I whole – heartedly agree, but I think that soon we will read on other book covers that it’s a perfect read for fans of Joanna Bolouri – believe me, she’s the one and only!
The idea of this book was so simple yet Joanna has masterfully and skilfully and effortlessly created the most entertaining and enjoyable story. Emily is dating Robert, a shark in his job and even is she didn’t want it, he is supposed to visit her family for Christmas. Unfortunately, shortly before Christmas, something happens and there is no more Robert – but as Emily’s family, and especially her mother, are expecting him to come, and Emily knows that when she now won’t bring a boyfriend home there will be no end to harassing her. So what now?
Enter Evan. He’s Emily’s neighbour from next door and to say that Emily dislikes him would be an understatement. But somehow, it happened that Emily persuaded Evan to be Robert and to come with her to visit her family. They have a few days to practice hugging (sic!) and for Evan to step into Robert’s shoes. Only for the sake of Emily’s family, and for them to not tease her mercilessly.
I absolutely, totally loved the interactions between the characters, as Joanna Bolouri is the champion of writing the most hilarious, funny and straight to the point sharp dialogues. I adored the characters and I warmed to them all immediately, well, with the exception of Robert, of course – the real Robert. Evan, on the other hand, was brilliant, and sure, he didn’t agree to help Emily just so, there was a hidden agenda to it, but it was a great hidden agenda, and I kept my fingers crossed for him. He was full of life, he was kind and helpful and he was great to have him around.
Emily is over 30 and she didn’t have a lot of luck when it comes to love, and it’s a thorn in her mum’s side as she would happily see her married. Emily’s family is lovely but they take every opportunity to wind her up so the only thing Emily wants right now is to prove to them that she also has a love life – hence inviting Robert for Christmas extravaganza at her family home.
Emily so changes throughout the story! Even though we get to know her as always complaining, I didn’t have any problem to immediately like her, because her problems were in fact so small that it was somehow funny to hear her moaning about them. Her life, her neighbour Evan being too loud, bad habits of her flatmates, her always unhappy mum, her brother and sister… there was always something to be unhappy about and while usually I’d be fed up with such character, Emily was written in a way that made her hilarious and I adored her, period – please, do not complain about Emily because I’m going to eat your head!
And guys, believe me, Emily’s family was not as bad as she painted them! It was in fact this kind of a family that is my favourite kind and I’d love to spend Christmas with them because under all the picking faults, uptightness, patronising, video – gaming it turned out that they are normal people, with problems, biggest or smallest, but with problems, and it suffice to only tell the truth and not hide in a shell – it was this kind of a family that, only given a chance, will support you no matter what.
I absolutely loved the whole book but it really started to feel festive and even more hilarious when Evan and Emily got going to Scotland. This journey, and then meeting the family, it was entertaining, it has a good feeling and there were the most fantastic one – liners. But don’t think that the book is for belly – laugh purposes only! Oh no! Underneath all this fun there are some more serious issues, issues that affected Emily’s family for long and that finally, eventually exploded like a Christmas cracker only to show that the devil is not so black as he’s painted and no matter what you are and how you are, your family is there for you, and I loved this message in this story.
“The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” is a brilliant novel about family bonds, second chances and the fact that age isn’t important when it comes to love. There was enough Christmas feeling to it and from the start to finish it was an entertaining, laugh – out – loud novel with some much more tender and poignant moments to it, but also with so many sarcastic moments – just what the doctor ordered! So if you still don’t know what to buy your best friends for Christmas, please treat them to this novel, it will be a perfect Christmas gift! Highly, highly recommended!
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