Book Review: My Big Fat Christmas Wedding by Samantha Tonge

I reviewed the first book in this series, Game of Scones, earlier in the year – and was pleased when this sequel dropped on to my Kindle.  I also liked the play on ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ theme for the book title – just like ‘Game Of Thrones’ before!

My Big Fat Christmas Wedding

Here’s the Amazon blurb:

“Things don’t always run smoothly in the game of love…

As winter comes to her sleepy Greek island, former hot shot city girl Pippa Pattinson loves her new life of rustic simplicity, running a quaint teashop with her hot fiancé, Niko. But it’s been a quick change to slow living – and you can’t blame a girl for wondering as Christmas approaches, ‘how did I get here?’

As her Christmas wedding approaches, a trip back to snowy England for her ex’s engagement party makes her wonder if those are wedding bells she’s hearing in her mind, or warning bells. She longs for the excitement of her old London life – the glamour, the regular pedicures. Can she really give that all up to be…a fishwife?

There’s nothing for it but to throw herself into bringing a little Christmas magic to the struggling village in the form of a Christmas fair. Somewhere in amidst the sparkly bauble cakes and stollen scones, she’s hoping she’ll come to the right decision about where she belongs…fingers crossed in time for the wedding…”

I have to say I’m a sucker for a sequel – I always like to see how things have panned out for the characters of the previous book, and it feels  like revisiting friends.  This was great – catching up just a few months after the end of Game of Scones – and I still liked Pippa (although occasionally found myself shouting at her just to talk to her fiance!)

I liked the way it was mostly set it Greece – but with a brief trip back to London – it showed the real difference between the Christmas season in both places.

The Greek austerity issues were dealt with well in the book, and you really felt for the families and their fight for survival in the smaller towns of Kos.  However, I felt the refugee crisis was kind of shoe horned in,  It felt as if the book had been written, but then the author felt she couldn’t leave out the current issues facing Kos with refugees, so it had to be shoved in somehow.

I also found it quite odd with the Greek people in the book sometimes speaking perfect English – and at other times complete pigeon English – it just seemed a bit strange and inconsistent (although in both cases way better than my Greek would be!!)

Another random thing – the actual book finished at 84% on my Kindle (which was a bit disappointing and abrupt – I know that they often don’t go to 100% but I was expecting more than it suddenly finishing so far before the end.  This additional 16% (see, geeky mathematician like Pippa!) was preview chapters of another book which I didn’t want to read.)

Also, I’ve ended up ‘unfollowing’ the author on Twitter.  I realise that Twitter is often used by authors for self promotion – but she was posting literally every hour about the book – or her other books – and it all felt a bit exhausting.  It’s a shame – as I do like following authors on Twitter to see what they’re up to, and when new books are going to be out – but perpetual advertising does not make for an interesting feed.

Overall the story was fun, and it was an easy read, and if there is a 3rd book in the series I will probably read it (and look forward to which TV series / film the title is a pun of!)

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Book Review: Game of Scones by Samantha Tonge

Game of Scones

A story of icing and flour…and how love doesn’t always go to plan!

Growing up, Pippa Pattinson’s summers were spent in the idyllic Greek island fishing village of Taxos. There she spent many long hazy days determinedly ignoring thoughts of the life her parents had mapped out for her (a dreary-but-secure accounting job and obligatory sensible husband!) Instead she daydreamed of running her own tea shop – serving the perfect scones – with mocha-eyed childhood friend Niklaus by her side…

Arriving back in Taxos for the first time in years, with suave boyfriend Henrik, Pippa barely recognises the tired little town – but is relieved to catch glimpses of the quaint, charming village she’s always loved. Together Niklaus and Pippa put together a proposal to save Taxos from tourist-tastic ruin, and at the heart of their plan is Pippa’s dream project: The Tastiest Little Tea Shop in Taxos. It’s time for Pippa to leave her London life behind and dust off her scone recipe that’s guaranteed to win over both locals and visitors. And amidst the rolling pins and raisins, it seems romance is blossoming where she’s least expecting it…”

From the outset I knew I was going to enjoy this.  There aren’t many books where the lead female character has a maths degree and trained as an accountant like me!!

It is not highbrow literature, but it is a great escapist read that is still well written and character lead.  I really liked Pippa and was plumping for her at all times.  And who doesn’t love a good scone?!  (But is it scone like gone, or scone like phone – got to love the English language!!)

I haven’t been to Kos for years – but it really evoked the feeling of the Greek seaside.

The plot is not complicated and a little predictable in its conclusion, and there are some huge leaps of plausibility at times, but that means it is quick and easy to read when you’re tired after a long day.

It reminded me quite a lot of Jenny Oliver’s book The Little Christmas Kitchen – which is also set in Greece – and interestingly they appear to have the same publisher – so if you’ve enjoyed Jenny’s books, I am sure you’ll enjoy this too.

I was also very excited to see on Amazon that this says it’s book 1 in The Little Teashop series – so I am looking forward to finding out what Pippa does next!!