Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Book Review: Wrapped Up in You

By Melissa Amster

I am normally not inclined to read Christmas themed novels, for religious reasons. (That's just my own personal preference though.) However, I couldn't resist a new novel from Carole Matthews, especially one with lots of glittery snowflakes! And "Wrapped Up in You" was definitely a warm treat for the winter that is creeping up on us these days.

Janie Johnson is a hairstylist in her mid-30's, who constantly has to justify to her clients why she's not in a relationship and lives alone with her anti-social cat. When her best friend sets her up with a less than desirable blind date and she finds out that her ex-boyfriend is engaged, she decides to go to Africa on a whim. The last thing she expects to find there is love, and with a Maasai warrior, no less! Will she be able to survive the holiday season without him? And will their distance and differences come between their chances at a relationship?

I really enjoyed "Wrapped Up in You" and could not put it down. The chapters moved along quickly, allowing me to feel like I was reading a lot at one sitting. The dialogue was realistic and clever, drawing me into the story right away. Janie is definitely a sympathetic character and she even allowed me to walk a few miles in someone else's shoes. Her cat, Archie, is a riot. I rarely see cats in novels with as much personality as he had. Dominic, Janie's romantic interest, is very interesting to visualize and even hear in my mind. Ms. Matthews paints a vivid picture of him. The other supporting characters are easily distinguishable and it's very clear who we should like or hate. I especially love the old ladies in the village. They are so full of life and personality.

The only criticism I have is that it "wrapped up" too neatly. All of a sudden, everything just fell into place and that was it. However, I wanted a fairy tale ending of sorts for Janie, as she was put through the wringer so often in the story. I also wish that Janie's trip to Africa involved more "roughing it" than this resort lifestyle she got to experience. That would have been fun to see.

Overall, "Wrapped Up in You" was light and fun, and a sweet romantic story to boot! I put one of Ms. Matthew's previous novels, "The Chocolate Lover's Club" on a pedestal for a while and have been measuring her other books up against it. "Wrapped Up in You" could easily take a spot next to it on that pedestal! It reminded me of "With or Without You," which is also a great story by Ms. Matthews. There's not even that much about Christmas in the novel, as compared to the rest of the story, so that aspect didn't bother me as much as I was expecting it to. I look forward to reading her next novel, "Summer Daydreams," as soon as it hits the shelves in May, 2012.

Don't miss out on your chance to read "Wrapped Up in You." (It's currently 99 cents for Kindle!) If you want to know what Janie has been up to after everything "wraps up," Ms. Matthews has a short story sequel at her website. Just sign up for her newsletter to access it.

More by Carole Matthews:


Carole Matthews said...

Thanks so much, Melissa! C : ) xx

Nicola said...

This looks like my kind of thing, can't wait to read it. Thanks for the review! :)

Len Lambert said...

I've got two of Carole Matthews' books - It's a Kind of Magic and The Sweetest Taboo....I must get this one for Christmas!!!! :) Thanks for an awesome review.