I read this book for the 12 Tasks of the Festive Season and read it for task the seventh: the Christmas.
I bought the book because the description sounded cute and hey it was set during Christmas. I have heard about Jenny Colgan before, so thought this would be an okay book to step my toe into.
This book is after the events that took prior with Rosie staying in the small village of Lipton running her aunt's sweet shop and living with her boyfriend Stephen. Rosie is happy to spend Christmas in Lipton and then she gets news that her family from Australia is coming to stay for several weeks during Christmas and if that's not enough, a tragedy causes changes to Lipton and also to Stephen.
I did like the character of Rosie though at times she was a bit frustrating. She knows about her family visit for a long while and pretty much tells Stephen the day before and knowing that she would have to put them up in his home she acts angry that she has to ask. I swear I tilted my head at one point and was all is she for real right now? Rosie definitely has a good heart and loves Stephen, the village, her aunt, her mother, and the kids that come into the sweet shop. But it was nice to see that she had some blinders on regarding her family (and I think she still does in the end) and was angry at Stephen for not reading her mind.
Stephen readers should know is still recovering from a landmine accident and is excited and apprehensive to start teaching the village children. Another accident occurs leaving Stephen reeling. And I honestly thought it was odd that Rosie didn't realize or think for one second what the accident could be causing Stephen to relive. She was more angry that her mother (who was awful) was demanding to know what Stephen's intentions were to her and she seemed to be torn between staying with Stephen or going back to Australia and helping her mother raise her brother's kids.
There was a secondary story involving Rosie's aunt Lilian that I found a bit hard to swallow. I did like the character of Lilian since she better than most saw through a lot of crap. But seriously when the bits and pieces regarding Lilian's past come back to the present I thought the whole thing was a bit too Lifetime for me.
We have some secondary characters like Rosie's assistant in the shop, and her friend and the local doctor, but we don't really get a chance to look into these characters much. I am sure that book #1 did a better job of that.
The writing was really good, though the flow was slow at times. I think because of the Rosie and Lilian plots the book didn't mesh together well at times. It ended up working in the end though.