After traveling to New York and Paris, I’ve decided to take our Christmas fun back to the UK today with Lilly Bartlett’s Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse. The book has already been published back in 2016 under Lilly Bartlett’s real name Michele Gorman and the title The Reluctant Elf. So maybe you’ve already heard of it.
Since I’m attempting to read 24 books until Christmas, due to my Bookish Advent Calendar, I had to mix it up a bit. Which is why I’ve decided to listen to Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse rather than read it. And the reason I’m mentioning this here, is because there is a great difference between reading a book and listening to one.
I’ve recently discovered audiobooks for myself and I might just do a separate discussion post about my new discovery. But more on that later. Let’s focus on Lilly Bartlett’s novella Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse for now.
What Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse is about.
The book follows the story of Londoner Lottie, her 7 years old daughter Mabel and Danny the taxi driver.
Lottie is in over her head when she has to host Christmas at her aunt’s Inn for critic Rupert and his family. The House is literally falling apart, so all Lottie can do is damage control. Toothpaste for the holes in the wall and baths instead of showers. Dinner has to be served at tea-time in order to avoid the wall-rattling 7:30 train that is bound to destroy everything.
Danny, who Lottie has hired as a cook, soon turns out to be less promising than she thought he’d be and cooks things like salmon wrapped in salmon.
Will they be able to get a good rating out of Rupert?
What I thought about Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse.
Lilly Bartlett is funny! Really funny! She had me laughing out loud from the very start. Not necessarily a good thing when you’re out and about.
And Gemma Dawson did a fabulous job of reading all the different characters. Mabel sounded sweet and very wise and I just loved the Welsh accent. Now, given that I’m not from the UK, I have no idea whether it was accurate, but I enjoyed it all the same.
But on to the book now. I love me a good Inn or B&B story. Throw in Christmas and a bit of romance and you can hardly go wrong. It was the same with Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse. The descriptions were to the point and I felt like I was really there with Lottie, Danny and Mabel. And the Inn seems like a place I’d love to go and help renovate. It is the perfect home-project. Like a canvas that you can paint on.
The characters are lovely and real. They deal with much the same problems as all of us do. But they never lose hope and are cheerful pretty much all the time. Even when they have to wear aunt Katie’s old opera outfits to house their make-believe Victorian Christmas.
The only thing that bothered me, was the fact that I just didn’t get into the whole romance thing and the relationship developed a bit too quickly for my tasting. But then again that might be due to the audiobook versus real book issue. I generally find it harder to catch on to the in-between-the-lines vibes when I’m listening rather than reading myself.
Would I recommend Christmas at the Falling-Down Guesthouse?
Yep. Especially if you are looking for a fun and entertaining read to keep you occupied for a little while. Since it is a novella and thus rather short, it is the perfect read for when you only have a limited amount of time and feel like reading something.
What will I be reading next?
The Little Christmas Kitchen by Jenny Oliver. I bought the new edition as well, just because the cover is so lovely.
This post is part of my 2017 Blogmas series. So I’d be happy to see you back here tomorrow. And maybe you’re interested in checking out yesterday’s post which was also a Jenny Oliver review of her book The Parisian Christmas Bake Off.