The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown

Keep calm and carry yarn.

Title - The Great Christmas Knit Off
Author - Alexandra Brown
Publisher - Harper
Publication Date - 6th November 2014
Format - eBook (Provided via NetGalley) 
Pages - 400

The blurb

Heartbroken after being jilted at the altar, Sybil has been saved from despair by her knitting obsession and now her home is filled to bursting with tea cosies, bobble hats, and jumpers. But, after discovering that she may have perpetrated the cock-up of the century at work, Sybil decides to make a hasty exit and, just weeks before Christmas, runs away to the picturesque village of Tindledale. 

There, Sybil discovers Hettie's House of Haberdashery, an emporium dedicated to the world of knitting and needle craft. But Hettie, the outspoken octogenarian owner, is struggling and now the shop is due for closure. And when Hettie decides that Sybil's wonderfully wacky Christmas jumpers are just the thing to add a bit of excitement to her window display, something miraculous starts to happen...

Becca's thoughts

Firstly, I'd like to say a huge and very grateful thank you to the publishers HarperCollins UK for providing me with a digital copy of The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, I was absolutely over the moon when I received the email informing me that this title was waiting for me on my shelf, and I've been patiently making my way towards it, wading through my to-read pile, growing more and more excited with each book that I've read. And now, finally, I can happily announce that I, Rebecca of Becca's Books, have read and adored The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown. Now, let me tell you why. 

This is going to sound crazy, but this is the very first book that I have had the pleasure of reading by the fabulous author that is Alexandra Brown. Insane, right? I know. *drops head in shame* The truth is that I actually have a few books in the Carrington's series hidden beneath my desk somewhere, and I have been dying to get around to them. Unfortunately, my ever-growing to-read list hasn't given me a break just yet, but as soon as I possibly can, I'm going to dig those beauties out and lose myself to some more of Alexandra's wonderful writing, because after having a taste of the author's style in The Great Christmas Knit Off, I have a feeling I could become seriously addicted, if I'm not already. 

The first thing that caught my attention when I began reading The Great Christmas Knit Off, right at the very beginning, was an included map of Tindledale. This is going to sound absolutely ridiculous, but dear readers, I think I may have been in love with this story before it had even begun, just by casting my eyes across the map and taking note of all the adorable place names within the gorgeous English village that is Tindledale. Things such as the duck pond, the Duck & Puddle Pub and the Spotted Pig Cafe & Tearoom had my romance-fuelled mind overflowing with images of a fictional place that I suddenly wanted to be a part of. To me, it was pretty much what dreams are made of, almost like a toy village with cutesy houses and establishments peppered around, with a fabulous mix of characters and excitement included. All in all, Tindledale is one of those fictional settings that you seem to conjure up in your mind whenever you imagine a getaway, surrounded by woodland and fields, it truly couldn't have been more perfect. 

If Alexandra's characters are anything to go by, then I already know what I've been missing out on within the author's previous novels. Her heroine Sybil (HOW CUTE IS THAT NAME?!) had been dealt such a rubbish hand of cards and she really did deserve a quick getaway. Not only did her relationship with ratty Luke turn out to be a complete disaster, but her job within the council took a decidedly worrying turn for the worst, too! Truly, all Sybil needed was an escape route, and her good friend Cher, who just happened to reside in the Duck and Puddle Pub in Tindledale, was more than happy to provide. Sybil was effortlessly likeable, lovable even, and I dearly wanted good things to happen for her. I couldn't contain my shock when the finer details of her non-wedding-day were revealed to me, and so I was able to understand how desperately Sybs was in need of a break, in need of some place to help her carry on and forget, and I do believe that Tindledale was her perfect destination, and probably mine too, if I had the option. Not only was Alexandra's heroine an absolute joy to behold in every way possible, there were a multitude of vibrant, exciting characters that welcomed Sybil (and me!) into Tindledale. Each fabulous character had their own unique story to tell, and parts of those stories were revealed to the reader as the plot progressed, keeping a few secrets away from until it was time for them to be told. Hettie, who owned Hettie's House of Haberdashery, was incredibly endearing and I wanted to bundle her up into my arms and never let her go. There was also Lawrence who ran the B&B, who was lavish and extravagant and fabulous in more ways than one. Honestly readers, there were just so many marvellous people to get to know within the little village of Tindledale, and by the end of the book, I felt like I had gained a brand new circle of friends. 

Community spirit and friendship were some major themes within this book, so if you're someone who enjoys upbeat and entertaining stories, then this one is for you. It's the feeling of never being alone, of always having somebody to talk to you. Each and every resident of Tindledale had their own tale to tell, and I adored getting to know them all. I was drawn into this world quicker than you can snap your fingers. Alexandra created such a gorgeous place to want to be, full of love and warmth and companionship, and secrets, too! 

Becca's Books is rating The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown with five gorgeous cupcakes! This book was wonderful in every sense of the word. Tindledale is the perfect place to escape to when you're feeling down and out. With so many people to meet, and so much to do, you won't ever want to return to reality! 


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