Here we go. I promised a real, thought through and coherent book review of Rosie Blake’s The Hygge Holiday. And a promise is a promise, isn’t it? 🙂
If you haven’t read my spur-of-the-moment book reviewish post of last week then I suggest you do so first. Because it can’t get more honest than that. The Hygge Holiday really blew me away. Something I feel almost silly about, which in turn I hate myself for. Life is really complicated some times.
I mean: why should you feel bad about being really, really, REALLY excited about a book with a pink and gold cover that makes the whole book look as cute as something that should be in a cupcake shop? (Well, that made no sense whatsoever…) 🙂 Why? And I have the answer. That’s not the problem. I know why I feel bad. I just… URGH!
A little while back I wrote a blog post about why I hate the term “chick lit” and why I think that contemporary women’s fiction isn’t less of a quality genre than any other genre there is out there. So if you are interested in that, head over there. I don’t want to waste precious blog space here. 🙂 Just let me say the following:
The Hygge Holiday belongs to contemporary women’s fiction and it follows the same patterns as those other books do. It has a female heroine, a male romantic interest and treats issues that we all know out of our daily life. The writing style is light and easy to follow and it’s a book that you can read in one go without it being tiring. But most importantly, it touched something in me and made me think. Which is all I really want from a book. So I’m going to stop feeling bad and go on fangirling (yes, that’s a word…) about Rosie Blake and her awesome book.
There were two things that made me pick up the book in the first place. Or maybe three. 🙂
- The cover. I mean. Have you looked at it?
- Its autumnal theme. Are there any other seasonal books?
- The toyshop. I’m always up for a good shop-book.
To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much from it. Because I can tell from experience that the books with the loveliest covers sometimes make for the worst reads. Don’t judge a book by its cover definitely applies here. But every now and then a book with a lovely cover turns out to be a great book and my belief in nice covers is restored again. 🙂 So thank you Rosie Blake for restoring my faith in book covers. 🙂
If you aren’t familiar with the story yet, let me bring you up to speed. The Hygge Holiday tells Clara’s story who is temporarily shop-sitting a toyshop. It was all a spur-of-the-moment decision really. Or maybe fate?
At the beginning of the book, Clara overhears an argument between Louisa, the shop owner, and her frenemy Roz about how the first has had enough and wants to go to Spain. The next day rolls around and Clara suddenly finds herself offering to look after the shop and Louisa’s quirky animals. Albeit not knowing who Clara is, Louisa agrees and that’s the story of how Clara came to work in a toyshop.
As the book goes on, we are introduced to Louisa’s grumpy, stressed, but (obviously) very good-looking son Joe who works for some big company in London and has no time for anything really. Upon hearing of his mother’s “disappearance” he drives to Yulethorpe to oversee things at the toyshop himself. Not quite what Clara wanted.
But after tying him up with fairy lights (he could be a burglar, right?), Clara soon makes it her mission to introduce Joe to the hygge way of life. And the rest is history. 🙂
Now. There are many reasons why I think that the book is as amazing as it is including one thing that I really didn’t like about it. And as always, I’m itching to write a list. But I feel like writing lists is all I do on here lately. So I won’t. 🙂 I’ll just tell you about it instead and stop beating around the bush.
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about The Hygge Holiday is Rosie Blake’s writing. She is brilliant, really. And I have no idea why I haven’t stumbled across her books sooner. I’m sure I would’ve loved all the other ones as well. Her writing style is so light and funny. Goodness me is she funny! I couldn’t stop myself from laughing.
“You need to feed Roddy and Lady CaCa, obviously, and Lady CaCa refuses to talk to you unless she has a clean cage. She likes the Daily Mail for the lining of the cage – she likes to shit on the headlines, it’s her thing, she’s a very left-wing parrot – and don’t ever give her chicken, or any meat, she won’t talk to you for a month. I once fed her something with chicken stock and she vomited it all up over a picture of Donald Trump, which I’m not sure was entirely undeliberate.” (The Hygge Holiday)
I mean, who comes up with something like that?! This is just one out of many many passages where I had to hold in a full belly laugh.
But it’s not just all funny. There are some passages in there which are really reflective and deep. Because what the book really tries to do is make you reflect your way of living and introduce you to hygge. It’s like the reader is Joe and Rosie Blake is Clara. And at the end of the book everyone is happier because they’ve made themselves a cup of tea, cuddled up on the couch, lit a few candles and are generally enjoying life more because they’ve decided to find happiness in the little things. What a sentence that is. But I’m finding it hard to cut myself short here. Probably because this book has become very dear to me in just one afternoon.
It may all sound a bit over the top here. But I mean every word of it and am in no way trying to push a book on you. But for whatever reason The Hygge Holiday has just completely drawn me in.
I love the fact that the characters are real people with real flaws. Yulethorpe is a real little village and the story consequently is real as well.
I’m going to shut up now. This book review is way too long as it is and you really should be reading the book instead of my ramblings here. But if you take away one thing from this post here, let it not be that I am Rosie Blake’s number one fan :), but that happiness really is found in the smallest things.