Friday, October 24, 2014

Xmas in October: Christmas at Tiffany's by Karen Swan

Presenting: Christmas in October!

Each day this week, I am reviewing a Christmas-themed book, reviewing how well the book embraces the holiday as well as giving my two cents on the book as a whole. Join me in celebrating the holiday a wee bit early and post your holiday book reviews to comments of any of this week's reviews!

The Book:


Christmas at Tiffany's by Karen Swan
Published November 18, 2011
Source: Received via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.
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Cassie settled down too young, marrying her first serious boyfriend. Now, ten years later, she is betrayed and broken. With her marriage in tatters and no career or home of her own, she needs to work out where she belongs in the world and who she really is. So begins a year-long trial as Cassie leaves her sheltered life in rural Scotland to stay with each of her best friends in the most glamorous cities in the world: New York, Paris and London. Exchanging grouse moor and mousy hair for low-carb diets and high-end highlights, Cassie tries on each city for size as she attempts to track down the life she was supposed to have been leading, and with it, the man who was supposed to love her all along.
Christmas Component:

Christmas at Tiffany's was a huge disappointment on the Christmas front. This book takes place over the course of a year, and so Christmas is only one small part of the bigger story. And while it has a distinct presence, there's a lot of other material here. I wouldn't characterize this as a Christmas book at all, despite the title and cover. I'll give it a generous two trees out of five for Christmas content.

My thoughts:

I had really mixed feelings about Christmas at Tiffany's. On the one hand, I really liked Cassie and I found her journey really fascinating. On the other hand, I was so put off by her friends and the methods they used to try to help her through her year of recovery.

This story is based really heavily with the fashion industry. And so Cassie's appearance, as she's shoehorned into the industry because of her friends' connections, is modified rather significantly with each of her three stops. I couldn't quite wrap my head around some of the more intrusive beauty treatments - new hairstyles and makeup is one thing, but Botox? Waxing? Some things seemed over the line for me. 

I adored that Cassie's friends were so worried for her, and that they were so protective, but it also drove me nuts that they wanted to control so much of her world. I think New York was the worst, and that might be down to the personality of the friend and the nature of the industry there. Mostly, I wanted Cassie to stick up for herself and lay down some boundaries. 

The story is quite rich, and I loved all the twists and turns as Cassie's year unfolds. Watching her confidence and comfort level grow is a treat. There's a lot to be said here about the value and meaning of friendship.

Though there is a romance, it was just shy of fulfilling for me. I needed a little more for it to really blossom. I wasn't really that disappointed though because it's only one small part of Cassie's story.

Bottom line:

While Christmas at Tiffany's isn't the Christmas story that I was hoping for, it's a pretty rich tale of a woman trying to find herself after being betrayed by her husband. I was rooting for Cassie, and while this book made me fear the fashion industry even more, I did find the insights and the *geographically bound* insights in particular to be quite interesting.

4 stars
For fans of chick lit, self-discovery stories, light romance.

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