Friday, 6 December 2013

Book review: Make My Wish Come True by Fiona Harper


My edition: Paperback, published on 1st November 2013 by Mills & Boon, 384 pages.

Description: Family-orientated and Christmas-dinner cook extraordinaire Juliet is trying to keep it together in the wake of her marriage breakdown two Christmases ago, but the cracks are beginning to show.

Bright and vivacious Gemma was always the favourite daughter... So she has no qualms about leaving Christmas in her sister Juliet's capable hands; and escaping the pressures of her glamorous job, and the festive madness by jetting off to somewhere warm.

When Gemma shirks responsibility once too many and announces she’s off to the Caribbean (again!); Juliet finally snaps. Gemma offers her sister the perfect solution - to swap Christmases: she’ll stay home and cook the turkey (how hard can it be?) and Juliet can fly off into the sun and have a restorative break.

In the midst of all the chaos, there’s Will, Juliet's dishy neighbour who's far too nice to float Gemma's boat and may secretly harbour feelings for her sister; and Marco, the suave Italian in the villa next door, who has his own ideas about the best way to help Juliet unwind.

Will the sisters abandon caution and make this a Christmas swap to remember?


Rating:



I was very pleasantly surprised by Fiona Harper's Make My Wish Come True. I admit that initially when I was offered a review copy I felt a bit sceptical as I wrongly assumed that a novel published by Mills & Boon would always be a smut or erotica read. And while there is nothing wrong with that, it isn't what I generally enjoy reading myself. So I was ready to decline the kind offer, until I read the book's blurb and saw its enticing festive cover (I adore Christmas, so festive books are pretty much my favourite thing in the world), which made it sound much more like a chick lit novel and right up my alley - and I am very glad I gave this book a go!

Fairly recently I read Jane Green's excellent novel Life Swap (find my review here) and the premise to Make My Wish Come True rang very similar, even if in this case it's two sisters swapping lives and not two strangers. It's always so easy to believe that the grass is greener on the other side when you're swamped down by the problems in your own hectic life but when experiencing the other person's day to day routine, as both Gemma and Juliet get the chance to do, it not only shows that perhaps the other side isn't quite as perfect as you think it is, but it also gives the sisters some much-needed perspective on their own actions. The sisters have a very forced relationship and by not being able to get past old issues and misconceptions this doesn't ever get a chance to change, until they step into each other's shoes and for the first time can see what it's like to be on the other of the accusations.

Both Gemma and Juliet were well-rounded characters who became very real people with each page that I turned. As the story progressed I became more and more invested in their lives and the burdens they've been carrying with them for so long. Juliet's children were a joy to read about; the sullen teenager Violet who perhaps felt more responsibility than she should have on her young shoulders, the incredibly wise Polly who usually sounded like a 40-year-old instead of the 10-year-old she is, and the young twins boys who brought some much-needed joy and mischief into the house. And let's not forget Will, the gentleman neighbour who is quite a dish to look at too, I wouldn't mind having a neighbour like that myself!

Despite being a fairly light and flirty read for the most part, the sisterly relationship was quite intense at times and as the story unfolded and secrets unraveled some of the revelations made it a heart-breaking and though-provoking novel too. Thankfully the Christmas setting also added a lot of warmth to the story and author Fiona Harper truly managed to paint that hectic but oh so wonderful atmosphere that goes hand in hand with crazy Christmas cooking schedules and eclectic gatherings of friends and family members who under any other circumstance would have been unable to spend more than a few minutes in the same room.

Harper describes the complicated family dynamics central to the story with a lot of heart, and with her witty writing style she also adds a charm which turns a novel which could so easily have been too intense or dull, into something engaging and heartfelt. And after reading Make My Wish Come True I'm not only very keen to check out one of her other books, but she's also single-handedly changed my perspective on Mills & Boons novels, which are definitely worth checking out - even if, like me, you're not a big reader of their more traditional romantic titles.

You can purchase a copy of the novel from Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.com or your own preferred retailer.



Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:

Website: www.fionaharper.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/fionaharperauthor

Twitter: @FiHarperAuthor


Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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