This book is not Sheila O'Flanagan's usual offerings and is more like a collection of short stories all brought together. This book opens at The Sugar Loaf Lodge and we meet the owners Neil and Claire. They are suffering in the economic crisis and are worried that at the beginning of December they still have many rooms available. Thankfully they appear to have a Guardian Angel and surprisingly all of their rooms are eventually booked.
The Sugar Loaf Lodge has a number of rooms and each room is named after a mountain, and so too is each chapter. Each room and chapter tells us a different story about its occupants and how they ended up at the Lodge for Christmas.
We meet some really interesting characters and it's surprising just how much we learn about each of them and their situation. That's not to say that each person has a happy ending but it definitely gives you an insight.
I have personally found myself wondering what various people are doing and how they came to be at a certain place. Although normally in my situation it is when I am killing time in an airport and trying to work out who is flying where and who is married to who. This is what in one respect drew me to the book. Usually I am not over keen on short stories but this seemed so different.
The book focuses on the place but then integrates everybody's story and take on the situation. The characters were also fantastic and were an eclectic mix of people which kept it interesting. We meet a young girl who is heartbroken and trying to move on, a young coupled looking for peace and quiet, and a family group as well as others. The family group that appeared in this story were actually the family that appeared in Sheila O'Flanagan's book `Anyone but Him'.
Although not a hefty book like hers usually are, this was still a decent size read at 320 pages. The title indicates along with the timing of publication that this was a Christmas themed book. I must be honest and say that this was a wonderfully light and easy read for any time of year. Sheila O'Flanagan has still produced a great book with her absorbing style of writing that fans like me love.
There is no predictability to this book as there is no real depth to the linking of characters and we only see short snippets of their life, but in my opinion this is what stands this book apart a little bit. It was very refreshing to read something where you don't wait for the linking of characters to come together and you are just finding out about each characters life. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and think it would make a lovely present at this time of year!