I’ve had this adorable Christmas romance title in my reading list for a while. Apologies to Jill Barry and Endeavour Press for the delay. Please read on for my review of
Crazy Days of Christmas
The first I’ve read from Jill Barry, the Town Mouse is struggling and the owner, Lucy, just got more bad news a week before the holiday. Her sous chef and friend, Emily has just walked in to quit, effective immediately, as she is catching a flight. Devastated and needing to find a new direction, Lucy promotes two of her remaining staff to fill in while she gets the Cookery Agent Dustin finds a new chef.
As if that wasn’t enough, Lucy is already short-staffed, and her newly promoted second in command is pregnant and won’t be able to continue working at the moment, just when Lucy can ill afford long delays that will slow service to the customers of the bistro. Full of never give up, Lucy has decided to do the best with what she has, when Dustin calls with a potential chef that she is to interview.
James is not one who will step into any situation without checking it out. Lucy’s website is horrible, but people seem to love the staff and food, so he visits before the interview to see just what is what. A long wait, and his patience is thin: but he steps into the back to see if Lucy will accept his help in the kitchen. She’s confused but grateful, and the night proceeds better than any in recent memory. Only one problem, James won’t share his name – but his work speaks for him.
Imagine her surprise when she’s got an interview with food-guru James, and it turns out to be the mystery chef. Full of changes, suggestions and the attitude that you expect from a chef, the two have plenty of sparks, not all about the menu.
So cute and clever: Lucy is sweet, a bit underwater but with the best intentions. She wants all of her staff to be family, and all her customers friends. Perhaps that stems from her own issues with relationships. James, on the other hand, is just retuning to the food world after a break to handle some family issues and lick his wounds over a failed relationship. Much more business-minded than Lucy, he’s also not afraid of demanding people march to his tune, and not always nice about it. The development of their relationship with plenty of back and forth, a few sparks and some obvious attraction keep this story engaging and clever.
Light, sweet and fun, this is a perfect diversion read to get away from the hectic rush of the holidays.
Title: Crazy Days of Christmas
Author: Jill Barry
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Holiday Themed, Romantic Elements
Published by: Endeavour Press
Published on: 13 October, 2015
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon
Lucy Stephenson is facing a Christmas nightmare.
Her bistro, 'The Town Mouse', is in a bad financial way when her sous chef, Emily, drops the bomb that she’s leaving her in the lurch just weeks before Christmas. Lucy is in a rut, unable to see how she can turn her business around, without a head chef and at the busiest time of year.
She reaches out to Dustin at a cookery agency to find a temporary chef.
In a stroke of luck, Dustin says he has the perfect man for the job. In fact, this candidate seems too good to be true and Lucy doesn’t understand why such a talented and experienced chef is without a job at Christmas and willing to accept a position below his station and salary.
But when James Drummond gets a call from the agency he signed up with a while back, he’s intrigued by the bistro in Dexford. Just back from New York, where he had visited his injured son Sam, James in unsure whether to accept a glamorous job in a London hotel or a stop-gap job in a cosy bistro.
Drummond, professional and practical, never takes a job without scouting its potential and travels to Dexford to inspect 'The Town Mouse' incognito. But when he sees how busy the restaurant is, and how pushed the staff are, he feels guilty not doing anything to help. Thinking on his feet, he charges into the kitchen and offers a hand.
Lucy is surprised to see a stranger in her kitchen, a gorgeous one at that, but she’s glad of the help. As the two work together through the night, feelings stir between them and Lucy in desperate need of holiday help, offers this mystery man a job. He doesn’t respond to the offer and won’t tell her his name. Disappointed to see this beautiful enigmatic man go, Lucy decides she must interview whoever it is Dustin has lined up. She has no choice.
So when the man with no name walks through her door the next day claiming to be her interviewee, Lucy is in shock. Although she’s glad to see him again, she’s not sure she can bare his arrogance.
James’ normal mantra is Get in, Revolutionise, Get out. But will it be that simple with The Town Mouse?
Crazy Days of Christmas was originally published as A Spoonful of Love.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.