I’m late, I’m late, I know. But I have a good reason! I had to finish Jenny Oliver’s The Little Christmas Kitchen. And boy was it good!
If you’ve been around here for a while, you might know that I’m Jenny Oliver’s official number one fan. I think I have now read all of her books and can safely say that they are very readable 🙂 But The Little Christmas KitchenThe Sunshine and Biscotti Club might just be my favourite so far. Might have even topped . And that one’s a hard one to top. Just so you know.
What The Little Christmas Kitchen is about.
The book is told out of Maddy’s and Ella’s perspectives. The two sisters have long lost touch after an argument fifteen years ago, following the divorce of their parents. Ella followed their father and his new wife to London and Maddy stayed with their mother in Corfu.
Their lives couldn’t be more different. But when Ella’s shiny and controlled life in London falls apart, she suddenly finds herself in her mother’s restaurant back in Corfu, sponsoring Maddy’s trip to London, a place her little sister’s always wanted to go, just to see if she could make it in the big bad world.
In a way, the two of them swap life. And in doing so, they soon discover that there are always two sides to a story and that sometimes it’s no one’s fault and you just need to forgive each other.
What I thought about The Little Christmas Kitchen.
Since there is literally nothing I could complain about here, I’ll just give you a list (surprise, surprise…) with all the things that I loved about the book.
The Little Christmas Kitchen was nothing like what I thought it would be. I expected another Christmas romance and instead got a story about family and how it’s never too late to fix something that is broken.
Maddy, Ella and their parents – Edward and Sophie – are carrying a heavy burden full of anger, hurt and heartbreak at the beginning of the book. Each and every one of them is holding a grudge against someone, which has torn the family apart. Put them on two different countries and built two parties where there should have been one.
But as the book evolves and the two sister’s are confronted with each other’s lives, everyone has to realize that it’s okay to just forgive and move on. And maybe sometimes that’s all you can do. Because you can never really change the past. And if you can’t forgive your family on Christmas, when can you really?
But perhaps everyone needed to be given the chance to change. Perhaps, she realized, there were no victims. Just people. And what if it was no one person’s fault, but everyone’s?
They are so freaking real!
I wanted to hug both Ella and Maddy several times throughout the book. They became my friends from page one on. With their flaws, wishes, dreams and insecurities they reminded me a lot of myself. Ella’s need to control everything and Maddy’s naïve belief in the good in everyone, are character traces that I only know too well.
And then there’s the way the two of them pull themselves together to create the best Christmas the circumstances allow. Maddy preparing a feast for all of Ella’s neighbours and all the people she’s met in London. And Ella helping her mother to cook up a storm for all the tourists stranded on the island. Maddy and Edward munching a McDonald’s burger at the airport and Ella catching a fish and letting it go. Random snippets, but for me, it was the little things they did that made them all so special to me.
The Christmas Memories
I count myself lucky to have had many Christmases amongst family and friends, packed with little memories, pictures, scents and sounds. And I’m fully aware that not everyone is that lucky. Take for example Walter, from The Little Christmas Kitchen. A Christmas children’s book author who over the years has come to hate Christmas, wishing that growing up, he’d had all the things he described in his books.
His story not only reminded Maddy that she should treasure all those memories, but also me. There might come a time in my life when I will no longer be able to spend this special time with all of my family members. And it is for those days that I want to soak up every little thing, put away my phone, watch the view and store every smell, sound and moment somewhere in the back of my head, where I won’t ever forget them. They’ll always be there for the harder days to remind me that everything will be okay and that there are people out there who love me and who I love very much.
Jenny Oliver’s writing
Again, I want to use this post to give Jenny Oliver a raging 5 star review for her writing. She manages to invite her readers into her world, show them around and make them feel at home. There wasn’t one dull moment in the entire story, not one page that could’ve been left out. Everything was exactly like it was supposed to be and I can’t wait to read more of her stuff.
3. Would I recommend The Little Christmas Kitchen?
In a heartbeat. Without even thinking about it twice.
The Little Christmas Kitchen is a beautiful story about life, family and forgiveness. It touches something deep inside you and makes you run to your family and give them a great big hug. Just because.
So if you only pick one book from my Bookish Advent Calendar, make it The Little Christmas Kitchen. You can thank me later 🙂
This review is part of my 2017 Blogmas series. So why not hop on over to my last post which was all about Bookish Christmas Settings. And! Make sure to come back tomorrow. I promise, I’ll be better in the future 🙂