Christmas at Hope Hall – Pam Rhodes

Published By: Lion Fiction
Pages: 256
Released On: 17/09/2021

The march towards the end of the year sees Hope Hall once again buzzing with activity. The lead up to the Harvest Festival sees a stray dog causing a nuisance, and tensions rise between two old schoolmates.

The drama only increases as Christmas approaches, and the pants rehearsals featuring the jocular “Can’t Sing Singers” get into full swing. But the hustle and bustle of the drama in the community stems from the deeper personal stories. Loneliness, loss, and hurt impact the lives of many of the local residents. But where there is community, there is friendship, companionship, love, and most of all, hope.

*****

Thanks to Lion publishing for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

I wasn’t aware Pam Rhodes of Songs of Praise fame wrote books, which pleasantly surprised me when I opened this one. I also didn’t know this was the final book in a trilogy, so maybe I would have appreciated it slightly more if I’d had that previous knowledge of the characters and the setting, but I don’t think it’s completely necessary to read the previous books first.

I’ve read a number of Christmas books recently, and whilst they generally all follow the same pattern, I never get sick of them. They’re a sure fire way of warming me up and enveloping me in a big snowy cuddle. This is very well written and enjoyable, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it an out and out Christmas book, regardless of the title. The first mention of anything remotely linked to Christmas doesn’t come until nearly 40% of the way through. This doesn’t necessarily negatively impact the book or its reading – I still thoroughly enjoyed it – but I personally like my festive books to be all jingle bells and mistletoe and snowy hills right from the get go.

I didn’t like the main character of Ray initially as he wasn’t nice to a dog, and I don’t trust people who aren’t nice to dogs, but he soon won me round. There’s quite a number of characters to keep on top of, but they all have their own individual characteristics and personalities, and none are just put there simply to make up the numbers.

The advanced electronic copy I received did have some formatting issues which meant scenes merged into the next, with nothing to tell you the time, location or characters had changed, which was a bit off putting, but this hopefully has been amended in the final project.

Overall I thought it was well written, very enjoyable and easy to read, but I wouldn’t personally call it a Christmas book. To me, it is more a book with some Christmas elements, than a full on festive extravaganza.

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