First entrant in the Christmas-themed books this year is the new novel from Carole Matthews, Wrapped Up In You. In here we meet Janie Johnson, hairdresser in a quiet English village, whose main highlights each week are refreshing the highlights of the local ladies. She’s single (with cat) and approaching thirty and not entirely thrilled at the prospect of turning into the village’s cat lady. As if that’s not enough, Janie’s best friend Nina sets her up on a disastrous blind date – so disastrous, that the date turns into an amateur stalker and keeps popping up on Janie’s doorstep.
Then one week one of Janie’s regulars shows off her photos of her latest trip – a luxury safari in Kenya. From that moment, Janie can’t let go of the thought of chucking it all in and going for a crazy Kenyan safari. And for that matter escaping from her stalker. The idea of blowing your savings just before Christmas, on a luxury 5 days in Kenya, is perhaps a little far-fetched but as it turns out Janie’s on to a winner.
From the first moment of Janie’s touching down in a Kenya I was wishing I was there too. The description of the bus ride through the wild countryside and then the amazing bush camp, is evocative. But what really makes me wish I was Janie is the six-foot-seven presence of Dominic, Janie’s Maasai warrior protector at the camp. And is it just Janie’s imagination or are there sparks flying between herself and Dominic?
I love the African safari backdrop as Janie and Dominic’s relationship becomes interesting, but what’s even more interesting is to consider how they could continue to be together once Janie’s holiday is over. And when Janie tries to include Dominic in her sleepy village life, it is hard to predict how the quiet country neighbours will react.
This is a warm and engrossing tale that would make a great stocking filler and a very charming way to fill in the time between Christmas lunch and Christmas dinner.
Available now: Hachette RRP$29.99