Friday 20 October 2023


Book review: Countdown to Christmas by Jo Thomas [blog tour]

Around Christmas I'm usually busy spending time with family, playing games, and cooking and baking – not so much reading. So I'm delighted to get my festive fix early on with the plethora of seasonal novels that have just been released. I'm one of those people who gets in the autumn mode in late August and a festive one just a few months later, so I never find it too early to crack open snow-covered books and Cadbury Roses. And Countdown to Christmas by Jo Thomas has been a very fitting addition to my Christmas reading list this year. 

About Countdown to Christmas

Chloë was expecting to have a quiet Christmas. Her son, Ruben, is spending the festive season with his dad in the US and instead of accepting a neighbour's dinner invitation, Chloë just wants to watch some TV while wallowing in her misery. But an unexpected call from a heir hunter turn her plans upside down as she discovers that she may be the heir to a plot of land in Canada. 

While it sounds too good to be true, Chloë lets the heir hunter arrange a flight so she can check it out for herself. The town she arrives in, Forêt des Esprits, is immensely remote and it doesn't look like there is much going on. Yet despite a grumpy shop owner making her feel unwelcome, cold snowy nights in a cabin in the woods, and a rampant turkey following her around, there is something that prevents Chloë from immediately jumping on the first flight home (and it's not just the timetable)...

My review

I lived in Canada for a year after university and while I unfortunately never made it to Quebec (well, unless walking the bridge from Ottawa to Hull counts), this book really transported me back to that magical time. It's the stereotypical views people have of the stunning scenery and the nature-loving Canadians as being some of the nicest in the world that really shone through the pages – and all of it is absolutely true.

As soon as Chloë set foot on the snow-covered streets of Forêt des Esprits, I was transported to this magical place in the woods. Author Jo Thomas' sense of place is absolutely wonderful – and I dare readers not to be tempted to book a trip to Canada after reading it. Through our main character's explorations we get to experience all the delights you'd expect from a festive read set in Canada, from maple-covered foods and moose spotting to ice skating and tree lighting. It's absolutely magical. 

But of course, this isn't just about about all the wonders that Canada has to offer. At the heart of the book there is Chloë, trying to figure out her connections with the people and the land that is potentially hers while terribly missing her son. Although he's with her in spirit through an advent calendar he gave her before he left, which is filled with little treats and challenges such as "Say 'yes' to something". His countdown to Christmas takes Chloë out of her shell into the town – and it soon enthrals the people she meets too.

Countdown to Christmas by Jo Thomas hits all the festive spots with its enchanting setting, eclectic mix of villagers, magical advent calendar, and a blossoming romance – all while making you crave maple-covered fluffy pancakes and a cosy up in front of a real log fire. If you're counting down the days until Christmas already, then this is definitely the book for you!

Countdown to Christmas by Jo Thomas is published by Penguin and you can now buy your copy from your favourite local book shop!

Blog tour stops for Countdown to Christmas by Jo Thomas

This review for Countdown to Christmas is a part of the official blog tour for the launch of the book. Make sure to check out the other stops too!

Disclaimer: This book was gifted to me, but this has not impacted this honest review.

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