Review – Cora’s Christmas Kiss by Alison May

By | December 14, 2014

Can you expect a perfect Christmas after the year from hell?

Cora and Liam have both experienced horrible years that have led them to the same unlikely place – spending December working in the Grotto at Golding’s department store.

Under the cover of a Father Christmas fat suit and an extremely unflattering reindeer costume, they find comfort in sharing their tales of woe during their bleak staffroom lunch breaks.

But is their new-found friendship just for Christmas? Or have they created something deeper, something that could carry them through to a hopeful new year? 

There’s something slightly surreal about reading about Santa’s grotto in between trips to street markets in Saigon, but I adore my Christmas reads and just couldn’t resist this one when it landed on my Kindle.  Last Christmas, I really enjoyed Alison May’s previous novella Holly’s Christmas Kiss and reviewed it here on the blog: Cora’s Christmas Kiss is the second in the Christmas Kisses series, and picks up the story of Sean’s ex-wife Cora. She’s had a quite dreadful year, and never imagined she’d find herself dressed in brown lycra, a red nose and antlers to be a reindeer assistant in a department store Christmas grotto.  Father Christmas has had an equally strange year – Liam has lost his job as a lead character in a Radio 2 soap opera, and now wonders what the future holds.  

It takes some doing to develop characters enough that you care about them within 179 pages, but the author does so quite perfectly.  I particularly loved the background story of Liam’s childhood, and the whole story left me with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye.  Alison May writes wonderfully – she tells a great story with warmth, perfectly judged humour and a light touch of sadness, and has produced another thoroughly perfect Christmas read.

I’m slightly ashamed to say that Alison’s full length novel – Sweet Nothing – is still languishing unread on my Kindle.  I largely blame Choc Lit for that – if they’d just stop publishing so many “must read” books that stop me catching up on the back catalogue! But if you enjoy her writing, I’d really highly recommend you also follow her blog – I read every post avidly, whatever the theme (and there are many) and really enjoy her observations and her take on life.

Cora’s Christmas Kiss was published for Kindle only on 4 December by Choc Lit Lite (my thanks to Lusana at Choc Lit for my copy) – for anyone without a Kindle, remember that Kindle reading apps are available free for a whole range of other devices.  At the time of writing, this lovely novella is available for 99p – go on, I know you’ll love it as much as I did.

Alison May was born and raised in North Yorkshire, but now lives in Worcester with one husband, no kids and no pets. There were goldfish once. That ended badly.  Alison has studied History and Creative Writing, and has worked as a waitress, a shop assistant, a learning adviser, an advice centre manager, and a freelance trainer, before settling on ‘making up stories’ as an entirely acceptable grown-up career plan. 

Alison is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and won the Elizabeth Goudge Trophy in 2012. She writes contemporary romantic comedies, and short stories. 

Find out more about Alison at her website: she is also active on both Twitter and Facebook.