Review – Secret Santa by Scarlett Bailey

By | December 14, 2014

A self-confessed Christmas queen, Sue Montaigne prides herself on organising the annual nativity pageant in her small Cornish village of Poldore.

But this year, what with having to deal with the repairs on Castle House after it was wrecked by a terrible storm, training a new – and frankly flighty – Virgin Mary and managing a Joseph who is allergic to sheep, she is distinctly lacking a little bit of ‘me time’.

And then there are the auditions for the new Santa. But nothing prepares her for the beautiful man who turns up, a twinkle in his eye and a promise to make her Christmas dreams come true…

And another Christmas novella that I found it quite impossible to resist!  I’ve made no secret of how much I’ve loved Scarlett Bailey’s previous Poldore novels – I’m sure you’ll have seen my reviews of Just For Christmas and Two Weddings And A Baby, and I think I could now find my way blindfold from The Silent Man to Castle House – and this Kindle-only novella was a lovely opportunity to visit old friends again. 

Sue Montaigne has always been one of my favourite characters, the powerhouse behind the annual Christmas pageant, the saviour of Poldore during the flood, the supreme organiser paddling furiously beneath the surface to keep her family life together. It was lovely to get to know her better, and to see her experiencing a little Christmas joy and romance in her life. The mysterious Nick who takes on the role of Father Christmas is a quite wonderful creation: but it was equally lovely to catch up with Alex and Ruan, Tamsyn and Jed, and there’s a wonderfully chaotic Christmas lunch featuring my favourite dog Buoy and his sidekick Skipper. 

I guess you don’t need to have read Scarlett Bailey’s other Poldore books to enjoy this one – but why wouldn’t you? Scarlett Bailey is the alter ego – perhaps the badly behaved twin – of Rowan Coleman.  So the writing is excellent – wonderful touches of humour, believable characters, a lovely romantic story, a really vivid sense of place, and in this lovely novella all wrapped up in a beautiful small package.This really was a perfect Christmas read – I loved every one of its 106 pages.

Secret Santa was published for Kindle only on 6 November by Ebury Digital, and is available for 99p at the time of writing. For anyone without a Kindle, I’ll mention again that Kindle reading apps are available free for a whole range of other devices.

Scarlett Bailey has loved writing stories since childhood, before becoming a novelist she worked as a waitress, cinema usherette and bookseller. Passionate about old movies, Scarlett loves nothing more than spending a wet Sunday afternoon watching her favourite films back-to-back with large quantities of chocolate. Scarlett also writes novels under her real name Rowan Coleman. Currently she lives in Hertfordshire with her husband, five children, her new puppy and a very large collection of beautiful shoes.     

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