Married by Christmas by Scarlet Bailey
Review by: Catriona
The countdown to her winter wedding has begun...
Anna Carter wants the perfect Christmas Eve wedding. It's been on her 'to-do' list since she was a little girl stuck living in a children's home and dreaming of a far happier family life than she'd ever experienced. Now she's found the perfect Georgian country manor as a venue, to which she will be taken in a reindeer-drawn sleigh. She's got a show-stopping designer ivory-beaded wedding dress.
And she's even found her groom. Three years ahead of schedule, funny, sexy, handsome journalist, Tom, had swept her off her feet.
Only, now, two weeks before the wedding, Tom drops a bombshell that threatens to ruin everything.
But nothing is going to stop Anna's plans - not even the pesky inconvenience of discovering her perfect husband-to-be already has a wife...
“And besides, haven’t you learned by now you can’t always be prepared for what life throws at you?” This little moment of wisdom from one of the characters in ‘Married by Christmas’ sums up the essence of Scarlett Bailey’s latest offering, featuring neurotic but lovable Anna, her ‘decent guy’ fiancée tom, best friend Liv and wildcard musician Miles. Any novel which features the term ‘ample bosom’ within the first fifty pages is going to be a sure-fire hit with me! And I really enjoyed my journey through the pages of ‘Married by Christmas’ which was so beautifully signed by the lovely Scarlett Bailey. It’s a wonderful storyline for a festive novel, heart-warming and yet with enough twists and turns to keep you on your toes at every point. The ending isn’t at all predictable, and any reader will be able to loose themselves in the trials and tribulations that Anna encounters along her journey to the altar.
One of the main reasons I think that I enjoyed the book quite as much as I did, was because I completely saw myself in main character Anna. Although she is highly neurotic and incredibly high-maintenance (not unlike myself), she’s still a really likeable character, and all that she wants is the best out of life for her, and for those around her. Her friend Liv is equally selfless, and I found her really easy to like too. She has her own struggles that she has to deal with over the course of the novel, and I found myself empathising with her as well as with Anna. I wasn’t as keen on Anna’s fiancé Tom, controversial I know, especially as his character takes on the role of decent guy, dependable, worth fighting for, “Tom was a very decent man on a world where men like him were very hard to come by.” Despite the fact that, yes, nice guys are hard to come buy, I found myself rooting more for Miles. A musician Anna bumps into in her bid to save her dream wedding, and who turns out to be a pretty decent guy too, looking out for her and helping her to see that, yes, lists and plans are all well and good but life is also there to be lived, and enjoyed. I could quite fancy a Miles of my own!
As usual, this author fully develops her characters and so they are really easy to read, understand, and relate to, and this is one of the really great things about the novel, along with the wonderfully fulfilling storyline, but the setting, is as much of a star as these other two aspects! Whilst the story may begin in the UK, Anna’s journey takes her to New York. The streets of Manhattan are described beautifully and every diner, every bar, every store that Anna enters, the reader will feel like they are entering with her. A Christmas novel with a New York setting, what more could one ask for? Whether you are already a Scarlett Bailey/Rowan Coleman fan, I feel sure that you will enjoy this novel. You don’t have to have read anything else by this author, the novel stands up for itself as a one off festive read, perfect escapism from the run up to Christmas full of joy, magic and romance!