Book Review – “The Christmas Spirit” (Author: Susan Buchanan)

The Christmas Spirit


From Goodreads:

Christmas is coming, but not everyone is looking forward to it.

Rebecca has just been dumped and the prospect of spending the holiday period with her parents is less than appealing.

Eighty- two year old Stanley lost his beloved wife, Edie, to cancer. How will he cope with his first Christmas without her?

Jacob’s university degree hasn’t helped him get a job, and it looks like he’ll still be signing on come New Year.

Workaholic Meredith would rather spend December 25th at home alone with a ready meal and a DVD box set. Can anything make her embrace the spirit of the season?

The enigmatic Natalie Hope takes over the reins at the Sugar and Spice bakery and café in an attempt to spread some festive cheer and restore Christmas spirit, but will she succeed?

I’d attempted to read Susan’s first novel, “Sign Of The Times”, whilst I was on holiday.  Unfortunately, due to my lack of attention span for larger books, I didn’t get round to finishing that book.  (It’s still a big fault of mine, even though I’ve managed to get through three “chunksters” in 2013).

However, as I’m a sucker for the Festive season, I decided to give Susan Buchanan’s Christmas novella, “The Christmas Spirit”, a go… and I’m glad that I did because I was rewarded with a story that has the eponymous Christmas Spirit in abundance.

This tale primarily centres on a bakery, Sugar and Spice, and the attempts by its temporary manager, Natalie Hope, to bring a spark of festive hope (pun very much intended) to four people who have lost it for various reasons.

I have heard that there have been comparisons to Joanna Harris’s novel, “Chocolat”.  As I am unfamiliar with this story, I can only compare it to one of my favourite “Christmas” films in “Love Actually” – not so much in the romance stakes, although romance does make an appearance, but in the way that the four primary storylines weave in and out of each other with the bakery acting as the central hub for the novel.

Whilst all of the tales are touching, I must admit that I was particularly drawn to Stanley’s tale – one of an old man who has lost hope in Christmas following the recent passing of his wife.  That said, there are contemporary themes which are touched upon in all of the stories including relationship break-ups, unemployment, the loneliness of the elderly and the need to overwork to maintain a career.

Given that there has been the Christmas period, which interrupted my reading, “The Christmas Spirit” is a nice little page turner as the writing provides sufficient emotional investment in the characters which enables you to root for them right up to the end.

A nice novella which will give the reader a warm festive glow.

Rating: 5/5


One thought on “Book Review – “The Christmas Spirit” (Author: Susan Buchanan)

  1. Hi
    I loved this book. It was so heartwarming. Stanley and Jacob were my favourite characters to follow too. It is definitely one for a winter evening on the sofa and I so wanted to try the cakes on offer at the bakery. 🙂

    I recently reviewed this book also on my blog if you would like to read it at


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