Welcome to my stop on The Gift of Happiness book blog tour. I could not wait to post it… I had to really hold off on putting my review out sooner as I think you should get a glimpse into the village of happiness and honestly I think you should all read this and it’s prequel.
I am a massive, massive fan of Holly Martin and she mad kindly offered me a chance to read a few of her books before publication date in return for an honest review, a few things, 1) you all know I love reading so I was never going to turn that offer down, 2) I adore Holly’s work so I almost bit her hand off and finally, 3) I write my blog because I love to write and share, but it is a huge dream of mine to write things people find interesting and may help them, so overall, I love Holly’s work and she has given me a chance to fulfil a dream so I really do.
Anyway, I’m rambling again onto my review:
A sparkling, thoughtful romantic tale which gave me tingles and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Christmas stories are my favourite kind of stories.
For me, it’s always about the characters. If I fall in love with one or all the characters, then it’s going to be a yes from me. The Gift of Happiness is no different, I love the characters – but then again, in a Holly Martin story, I always do! Like with people in real life, there are characters you will grow to love and some that you instantly fall in love with. Willow in the first book was an instant for me, Ruby was a bit of a grower, but I think she was written that way. You have to follow her journey, understand and learn why she is the way she is. I accepted her character early on as we should with people, she is the way she is, and she doesn’t want to change for anyone and I like that but I didn’t love her, not right away anyway, but when you start to learn her story and see her interactions with Willow, the villagers and Jacob and it soon wasn’t long before I’d fallen for her characters charm too, just as Jacob did.
I love how the characters were established a little in the first book and then grow in this one. I adore Hollys books where we are given a story and characters in one book but still get to hear from them in other stories. I love immersing myself in the Little Village of Happiness. Who wouldn’t want to live in this lovely, beautiful and unique place? I’m actually very jealous of all the characters.
I do find it hard to believe that both brothers could be so beautiful in real life but in a book I am a sucker for it. I read to escape and travel to new places and meet exciting new people. I am happy to suspend reality for a few hours and fall in love with two beautiful and amazing brothers.
I am not usually one for spoilers as I’d rather just give my open and honest opinion and hope this is enough for you to decide to go pick it up, on your own but on this occasion. I do want to give a little insight into the book and I will have a spoiler below, so if you don’t want to know please skip this next section.
The opening of the book sees Ruby, who we met in the previous book moving into Happiness. She had a few days of amazing sex with Jacob when she visited Willow in the summer but she is a lady who does not wish to settle down and is happy with no strings fun, or is she? As with all romance stories, this is just the start of Ruby’s journey. It’s Christmas time in Happiness, and the village is alive with all things festive and as always the gossips are out in full force as Ruby comes to town. Can she live in the village for the next year without falling into Jacobs arms, bed or heart?
The main theme throughout this story is dealing with loss, our fears and overcoming them. Although, we won’t all have the exact same experiences as Ruby, her story still resonates with me, as we all do often let our past, our fears etc dictate our futures. The loss of Ruby’s partner had me choked up and I cried whilst reading this chapter. A]if a character in a book can make me cry just by a few simple words, you know you are reading a good story. But more than the sadness of the tale, it was the understanding from Jacobs character which was incredible and got to me most. I love and hate reading, as real life men don’t always live up to literary ones.
Deaf awareness and understanding in this story and it’s prequel is truly beautiful! Add to this, the inclusion of a Paralympic and the way he is living his life too, is remarkable. What an inspiring read! I would love to believe that if people were more like the characters in stories like this, the world would be a nicer place. Having health/mental/ physical differences doesn’t make the characters less of a person or ever come across as a negative. I love how it’s part of the characters but it’s not the defining feature. I especially like Ruby’s reasoning for learning to sign, “she knew it was partly to expand her skills and learn a new language and to be able to help understand people who might struggle to be understood.” People who learn languages so when they travel they can try to speak to the natives of that area is wonderful, I am one of those. I like to think that although my skills might not be great I am trying. Learning to sign to communicate with people who might struggle is, in my eyes even more wonderful. Imagine if we all did this, imagine if we all tried harder to communicate with everyone. Beautiful.
I love Christmas – the idea of carrying Christmas spirit/ magic all year round is something me and my mum have always done and I like to hope I’m passing that onto my kids! I always say we are Spirit of Christmas ambassadors. I love a Christmas story but a Christmas story about a lady I can relate to well that was perfection in a book. It’s not a secret that Holly is one of my favourite authors, it’s not often I pick her up her books and don’t instantly fall in love with everything about it. I love how she helps you connect with the characters and the story, but also with the places. Each time I discover a new place in Holly’s books, I want to go to and explore and find some of these treasures for myself. Happiness is almost a character itself. Overall, a book by Holly is probably going to be a hit in my house, a book by Holly about Christmas, well Christmas has arrived early in my house, and a little warning to my friends and family, you may all be receiving this book as a gift this year.
As a final note, I’d like to say a massive massive thank you to Holly for choosing British Heart Foundation as the charity her character chooses to support and for choosing to write about heart conditions and opening up discussions about BHF and what they do. I lost my dad quite young and he suffered with heart conditions. The work and research they do is so important and they don’t get government funding so all the help they get from donations etc is really appreciated. I would have loved this book anyway as Holly is one of my favourite authors, but when you add all the positives, the connection to the British Heart Foundation and everything about Christmas, it might actually be one of my all time favourites.
Overall, I love this book and if you want a festive, feel good read which will leave you feel all warm and fuzzy inside but also might make you jealous of all the beautiful, friendly and romantic feels – this is the book for you!