Book Review: Four Weddings and a White Christmas by Jenny Oliver

Four Weddings and a White Christmas

I had forgotten that I’d pre-ordered ‘Four Weddings and a White Christmas’ upon finishing the previous in the series of Cherry Pie Island books ‘One Summer Night at the Ritz’ – so it was a very welcome surprise when it popped up on my Kindle last week – and perfect timing, as the husband and I were away for a childfree break.  Although it did feel a bit strange reading about snowy festive scenes whilst lying on a sun lounger in 40 degree heat!

So here’s the Amazon blurb:

“Hannah’s holidays are normally spent nibbling chocolate coins with her daughter and praying she’s not too old for a stocking on Christmas morning. But this year, she’s been offered the dressmaker’s job of a lifetime: creating a one-of-a-kind a gown for her friend Annie’s Christmas wedding on the picture-perfect Cherry Pie Island.

Many mince pies and one hot-pink organza dress later, Hannah is set to snuggle back into her old routine…until she discovers that there are three more weddings to come – and not a dress in sight!

Four themes, four brides and four parties spent avoiding chef Harry Fontaine, whose cynicism is as much a wedding day guarantee as confetti and cake. Hannah has her work cut out for her! Yet, with a sprinkling of snowflakes and Christmas magic, it could be that this is the year when miracles really do happen…if Hannah will let them.”

I don’t recall having met Hannah before in any of the Cherry Pie books (but am happy to stand corrected if that’s not the case?!) but she was a lovely new character, and the whole book centred around her – both her personal and professional lives as a dressmaker and single Mum.  It draws in the characters from the previous books like you’re catching up with old friends – although would work as a standalone book too, but might be a bit confusing if you don’t already know all of the people, as there are A LOT of people involved.

The book follows Hannah through her dress commissions and the very different weddings they are for. As well as being on Cherry Pie Island – there are also brief jaunts to France and to New York – which are always fun.

I really liked Hannah’s feisty daughter – reminded me of little girls in this house!

As ever with Jenny Oliver, it was a lovely, easy, fun read – and great to catch up with the characters.  My slight concern is that there wasn’t the option to pre-order the next book, which there has been with all of the other Cherry Pie Island books before – so is this the final chapter???? (I really hope not.)

Book Review: One Summer Night at the Ritz by Jenny Oliver

One Summer Night at the Ritz

“One Summer Night at the Ritz is the enchanting fourth story in Jenny Oliver’s delicious Cherry Pie Island series.
For Jane Williams, balmy August evenings are usually spent swimming in the river or lounging on her house boat on Cherry Pie Island. But, this summer, a set of tragic wartime diaries has changed all that.
Now, Jane’s heading for an appointment with Will Blackwell, one of the world’s most infamous hoteliers, in the heart of London’s West End. And, standing under the spectacular twinkling lights of The Ritz, it’s safe to say she’s feeling a tiny bit out of her depth…
But Jane’s about to discover that, sometimes, the bravest steps can lead to the most magical summer nights!”

I have just devoured the 4th in the Cherry Pie Island series in one afternoon!  I have loved the previous books in this series, and this one was no different.  It’s a stand alone book – but with clever nods to the previous books throughout – and the scenes being set for the next.

I’ve never stayed at The Ritz – although have had breakfast there – and the book really gives the feel of the old fashioned glamour of it – and describes London beautifully.  Jane is a lovely character – and you’re rooting for her throughout the book. She also makes me feel less bad about my falling apart Birkenstocks!

I enjoyed the fact the story takes you off Cherry Pie island – but brings you back to familiar ground as well.

As always, a lovely, funny, feel-good, escapist, easy read.

On a geeky, pedant level (both being my forte!) there is a grammar error in the first few paragraphs (story where it should be storey, as we’re in England not America) and about six times during the book there are typos, where an additional letter features in front of a word where it shouldn’t.  I know this doesn’t affect the story overall – but it does grate with me.

** carefully checks I haven’t written ‘effect’ or ‘great’ **

I’m slightly gutted we have to wait until October for the next instalment – although as that’s going to feature Christmas weddings, I guess it’s closer to the festive season.

Oh – and Jenny Oliver has very, very kindly donated the chance for the winning bidder at a charity auction in September that I’m helping to organise to be a named character in a future book – so who knows, one of us could be a guest at one of the weddings maybe?!?  (Obviously I will  blog about how you can bid for this once the auction site is up and running!!)

But for now – why don’t you catch up on the beginnings of the Cherry Pie series?

Book Review: The Vintage Ice Cream Van Road Trip by Jenny Oliver

The Vintage Ice Cream Van Roadtrip

I recently read the first in the Cherry Pie series – and loved it – so when this popped on to my Kindle (got to love pre-ordering) it had to be devoured before I started anything else!!

Here’s what Amazon had to say about it:

“Welcome to Jenny Oliver’s brand new Cherry Pie Island series! There’s nowhere more deliciously welcoming…

If you were to ask Holly Somers how life is going at the moment she wouldn’t have a clue how to answer you… On the one hand she’s embarking on a retro-fabulous road trip in her vintage ice cream van all the way from Cherry Pie Island to the South of France. Plus, she’s sharing the journey with Wilf Hunter-Brown (quite possibly the most attractive man she’s ever met!)

On the other? Well, apart from being unsure as to whether the rickety old ice cream van will actually make it to the Riviera, she and Wilf had a one-night fling a few weeks ago. Even worse, it seems there’s an unexpected little consequence of their impromptu night together. Life on Cherry Pie Island definitely hasn’t equipped Holly with knowledge of the best way to tell a super-rich entrepreneur with a womanising reputation that he’s about to become a Dad!

Despite the heat of the Provencal sunshine you’d think you’d be able to keep cool inside an ice cream van – but the temperature is definitely rising. And with time running out to tell Wilf the truth, Holly’s dream roadtrip is fast becoming a nightmare on wheels! There’s no denying that this will be a journey to remember. When it comes to sundaes, Holly has always been partial to the more traditional flavours – but something’s telling her that this could be the time to take a chance and try something new…”

It was lovely! Like the first book in the series it wasn’t a highbrow doorstop of a book – but was a great, quick, escapist read.  As with all of Jenny’s books – the food descriptions were amazing – and she really evoked the feel of France.

Whilst the main characters in book 2 were different to book 1 there were enough cross references for you to still feel involved with life back on Cherry Pie Island.

I’m already excited about book 3 (and subsequent books!!)