Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry
Publishing Date: 15th November 2018
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 368
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction
When Lizzy writes her annual Round Robin to send out with her Christmas cards, she realises it’s all about the rest of her family. Fed up and exhausted by yet another year of singlehandedly trying to make it a perfect Christmas, Lizzy takes a pile of books, her cosiest clothes and the Ocado order and escapes to a beach hut on the North Devon coast. This year, Christmas is going to be all about her.
Meanwhile, the other inhabitants in the beach huts are trying to escape Christmas too. But somehow, the spirit of Christmas wheedles its way back into everyone’s hearts and Lizzy is at the centre of the activity. By Christmas day there are fairy lights strung up round the beach hut and a turkey roasting on the barbecue!
So when Lizzy’s family track her down, just how will they convince her she means the world to them – every day of the year?
Lizzy loves her family and her home. However this year, shortly before Christmas, she starts to realize that they… well, they take her for granted. she’s always there for them but they don’t respect her wishes and think only about themselves. So she decides to take matters on her own hands and decides to leave. Not for good, oh no, only for Christmas, to think things over and figure out why she isn’t happy any more. She flees to Everdene, where her friend has a beach hut where she can spend her time on her own – right?
The chapters changed between different points of view. Lizzy is actually our main character and I liked her from the very beginning. I could totally get her frustration and her need to just flee after years of taking care of everyone else and putting her own needs behind. She was so relatable, and the way she wasn’t sure what to do next, her feelings and emotions were so easily brought to life by the author. Hats off to Lizzie for doing what she did, it takes for sure tons of courage to make such a step. She was such a great wife and mother but she didn’t feel appreciated, and no wonder, as she was really take for granted.
But the novel also tells us about Harley and Jack who, as well as Lizzy, want to escape Christmas. They all have their own personal reasons for this and believe me guys when I tell you that their stories are poignant and heart – breaking. You will understand those reasons and fell for them quickly. The author seamlessly and effortlessly allows us into the characters’ heads, how gradually we learn about them, about what make them tick, about their background and histories and start to understand them.
The beach hut was so welcoming, and it was a perfect place to stay – I loved the descriptions of it, it really felt as if it was a place where you could forget about all your troubles and problems and I would love to have a possibility to escape there as well.
I was a little afraid to start reading this book as it is the next to “The Beach Hut” and “The Beach Hut Next Door”, both of which I have yet to read, but I can easily reassure you now, after reading it, that it is a perfect stand – alone novel. However, this book didn’t wow me as much as I think it would. There was nothing particularly wrong with it, it was a perfectly nice read, it was probably the last finish touch that I missed. It also felt too slow and there weren’t really many turns and twists. It took a long time for all the threads to come together and there were too many characters with name that started with “H” – Hal, Hayley and I think there was another one, Hattie, and I was confused for a long time before I finally started to tell them apart.
But altogether, it was a very enjoyable book about family, putting yourself first at least but not forgetting about other people, about courage and priorities. Although it is not my favourite by this author, I’d still recommend it to you if you’re looking for a relaxing and relatable read and it is for sure a book that can’t be missing on your Christmas wish – list or reading pile if you’re Veronica Henry’s fan. It touched upon many different issues, some of them more difficult and heavier than the others: mental abuse, grief, taking for granted. Veronica Henry has way with words, she’s a brilliant storyteller and her writing style is easy to follow, light and inviting. It was a heart – warming, poignant, full of emotions escapism, full of stories and characters that are true to life and relatable.