Maybe it’s because I live in a warm climate, but I really do enjoy reading books set in cold weather during winter. I don’t actually want to be in snow, but it’s fun to read about it while staying nice and warm! The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller is perfect for this–lots of Christmas trees, tromping through snowy woods, etc.
Olivia, the “city baker” of the title, finds herself in a tiny town in Vermont, the home of her best friend, after an embarrassing incident at her job in Boston. She takes a job baking for the local inn, which is run by a prickly older woman. Olivia becomes enmeshed in various town dramas, joins a local band, and generally becomes part of the town life without really meaning to. Although there is a bit of romance in it, it’s not really a romance book; it’s much more about the friendships Olivia develops, and the relationships among the other people in town. It’s a sweet, lovely book, perfect for curling up on the couch under a blanket with a cup of hot chocolate.
The other book I started but did not finish has a completely different feel: Christmas Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella. I’m not sure why I bought this, except that these books are so popular that it seemed worth a try. But…yikes. The titular shopaholic, Becky, narrates the book, and she’s just awful and self-centered and completely under the spell of consumerism. It takes talent to create a totally unlikeable character, so it’s not that the book is poorly written. But what I wanted was a cheerful, happy, pleasant Christmas read, and this just depressed me! It’s not in the Christmas spirit at all.