Cover Image: The Country Village Christmas Show

The Country Village Christmas Show

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Member Reviews

Clare finds herself going back to her childhood home after her marriage breaks down. A home without her dad and where her mum who was always difficult and withdrawn waited. 
Her mum seems depressed and without much will to live and desperately worries Clare. She used to have so much drive,  both in her career and in the shows that were put on in the community centre. But it burnt down years ago and the new one has hardly been used. 
As the weeks before Christmas begin and Clare's son Kyle arrives can Clare and her mum build bridges, and find common ground ?
A lovely story set at Christmas but with a lot of focus on the fickle nature of relationships.
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I really enjoyed this book! The storyline was unique and not your typical Christmas romance, and the characters were brought to life beautifully and they were all so likeable from the start. 
Claire's journey throughout this book is truly moving as she discovers who she truly is, and learns how to love herself, and love others again. 
When Sam and Claire's romance really picks up it made my heart soar, both characters had been through so much in their lives, so seeing them adapt and adjust to life as they moved along together was so moving.
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Another enjoyable read from Cathy Lake. 

This festive story centres around Clare, newly divorced and returned to the village of Little Bramble, the village she grew up in and where her mother still lives. Since leaving Little Bramble, Clare has dedicated her life to looking after her family so is returning more than a little jaded, feeling disappointed that she has failed. 

However, when she returns she finds that her mother isn't her usual self following the destruction of the village hall to fire. Once a prominent member of the village, Elaine is now a shadow of her former self who hardly leaves home much to Goliath's (the great dane) disappointment. 

Clare starts involving herself with village life and, during a walk with Goliath, makes acquaintance with the local vet, Sam. 

A little predictable and a fast moving love story but a lovely festive, feel good read
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I enjoyed this very Christmasy book set in a small village with a range of likeable characters. This one will get you in a Christmas frame of mind.
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A brilliant heartwarming family story. Clare is trying to come to terms with her divorce and returns to her family home to be with her mother, unsure what the future holds. Always being a Daddy's girl she finds this hard but to bond but realises that her mother is suffering too. With Goliath her Mum's rather large and uncontrollable dog by her side, she realises what is needed is a bit of community spirit. With the help of her son who has come to stay, the local residents and a dishy vet the newly built community hall is brought to life and with new found romances on the horizon for more than one of the villagers, the sparkle is injected back into village life.

An unputdownable book that will leave you feeling upbeat. Brilliant.
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I like the setting (small village with a sense of community, wintery and snowy stuff too). The thing I didn't like is there's no romance as I was told, and what I found is a story about a 40 something divercee woman finding and accepting herself. I loved the family bonding that happened and some of the situations were pretty funny. But overall as an ok book, nothing really interesting happens. Also, it's a bit repetitive. The romance was bland and the conversation between them was robotic, not even a bit natural. Anyway, it was ok but definitely not a romance or something to read as a christmassy book.
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When Clare returns to the idyllic country village of Little Bramble she does so with a heavy heart for her marriage is over and whilst it wasn’t a truly happy marriage, facing the uncertainty of life alone in her mid-forties isn’t entirely filling Clare with glee. However, moving back to her childhood home and spending time with her mother gives Clare the chance to start to put her life back together again. She has much to consider in her new life and the author highlights Clare’s very realistic problems and does so with warmth and a natural talent for making her characters feel like ‘real’ people with real life issues.

This is something of a slow burner of a book and it takes a while before everything starts to feel comfortable but once I had the characters firmly fixed in place I started to enjoy the story more. The author explores some interesting relationships, namely that between Clare and her mother, and also that of Clare and her son Kyle, who turns up in Little Bramble, with his own set of problems. Running throughout the book is the burgeoning relationship between Clare and Sam, the local vet, who she in initially meets in a less than perfect situation involving dog poo and a Great Dane called Goliath!

The Country Village Christmas Show is a delightfully entertaining festive story about finding unexpected romance and of being brave enough to take a second chance at love when it’s offered to you.
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Claire is going through the break up of her marriage and her son is going to university.
Having to sell the family home Claire decides to move back in with her mum in Little Bramble.
While trying to sort herself out Claire decides to get the community together and do a Christmas show
Her son also helps her as he returns suddenly from university.
This is definitely a book to curl up with.
Thanks NetGalley
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The Country Village Christmas Show by Cathy Lake was a great read. This book focuses on the main characters of Clare and Sam, about families and finding yourself and moving on. It left me with lots of Christmas spirit after I had finished it. A great festive treat.
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„The Country Village Christmas Show“ introduces us to Clare – recently divorced, as her husband has decided he needs to „find himself“. Losing her job, selling her house, with a son being away at the University, Clare moves back to the village where she grew up. She’s sure it’s not a solution for ever, she only needs to get back on her own feet. However, at home, she starts to notice that her mother is not her old self anymore; her son comes suddenly back with a broken heart; and an absolutely not promising first meeting with a local vet is about to change her fate.

I started reading the book with high expectations – I mean, I really liked the sound of it. However, and rather quickly, I found myself struggling with it. The already highlighted in the title Country Village Christmas Show was mentioned for the first time at a 64% mark and I was already thinking that maybe I’m reading the wrong book? Then, of course, it felt much too rushed, the whole organization or auditions and – and it pains me to say – there was nothing that made it exceptional or different – it was very, very half – hearted.
I also had problems with the characters. Please forgive me but Sam must have been the most boring and uninspiring background character ever. The mood immediately changed when Sam was mentioned, his passages and chapters were filled with unhappiness and gloom. He came across as very passive – aggresive, always moaning about something and all the time having some strange angry outbursts, and I had no idea why.

The book promised community focus, and I love books with community at their heart. Sadly, I didn’t find it so community focused. It was a lovely village, yes, but the characters lived more for themselves, and really, the auditions didn’t have much to do with community, as everything was in Clare and her family’s hand. Meh.

I found this novel too superficial and lacking in storyline – there was not enough plot development to keep me interested and eventually I found myself skipping the text and skim – reading. Sadly. Because there was so much promise but the book simply didn’t deliver. The romance between Clare and Sam is so unbelievable and sudden, this falling in love bit didn’t convince me at all – there was little interaction between them and no chemistry.

The author likes words and to tell – there were many, many descriptions and they were nice but they were leading to nothing – apologies if it sounds harsh but this is how I feel. Still, I’d rather love more of „show“ than the telling. I also had a problem with the dialogues that simply felt unrealistic and lacking in depth and characters’ internal monolouges started to feel repetitive.

It is a story about relationships among a family, about friends and community. I can’t say that it was a romantic feel – good read, like advertised, but nevertheless do not feel put out by me, perhaps you will like it much better than I did – just give it a chance and it might turn out to be your ultimative perfect Christmas read.
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Thank you to Netgalley, Bonnier Zaffre and Cathy Lake for my arc of the County Village Christmas Show in exchange for an honest review. 

Published: 29th October 2020 

The Country Village Christmas Show sees Clare at a crossroads in her life. Recently divorced, made redundant and with her only son off at university she is back living with her own mother in the hamlet of Little Bramble. So when cage finds herself running the village Christmas Show she discovers a purpose for herself again. 

I'm sad to say that this book wasn't exactly what I was looking for. I thought it would be a fun festive read but it is fact in places quite the opposite. The character's stories are in fact all quite sad. I also wasn't a fan of the writing style which I found to be a bit overly descriptive and childlike in places. Which is sometimes expected of a debut author. Sadly not for me!
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I'd say this was a pleasant, meandering read. I was expecting drama, as often happens in books of this genre, but it was far more gentle. I like the characters and enjoyed the story. It was a story that I could pick up and put down again and that was exactly what was needed.
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This is the perfect festive read and really gets you in the mood for Christmas. The story in this was so so good, and I really loved the character Clare. She has just been through so much and we see her start to move on in her life and its exciting and you really just want Clare to get her happy ending. 

Honestly when I was reading this I really wished I was there in that little village, the way it is described you can really imagine it well. It sounded like such an exciting place especially with all the festivities. 

This is a book that once you pick it up you won’t be able to put down so best get cosy and curl up with this. 

I am excited to read more from this author, I love her style of writing and she comes up with the best storylines.
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really enjoyed the country village Christmas show, a real feel good festive read full of romance, Christmas cheer and fun! Perfect reading for a wintry night whilst your cuddled up on the sofa.I grew up in a little village community very similar to the book and can totally relate to the community spirit, friendliness and camaraderie that Clare experienced on her return home after her divorce, to be back in familiar surroundings with familiar faces, old friends and the sense of coming home can allow you to recharge/ heal/ mend and begin to live again! Optimism, new beginnings and opening up your heart are central to this lovely read, delightful characters both human and canine, a Christmas show,and cold frosty nights make for an enjoyable read.
Thank you net galley for this early read.
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A wonderfully written book. The characters were likeable and you could actually believe the journey they were on.  I looked forward to picking up my Kindle and following the exploits of Clare, her Mum Elaine and Son Kyle. I could picture the village of Little Bramble and wanted to move in and help with the Village show. This was my first Cathy Lake book, it won’t be my last.
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Lovely book, but not overly festive, by a new author for me. Not too many characters and a lovable Great Dane called Goliath who gets up to mischief on occasions. Claire returns to her childhood home to stay with her mother, following her divorce. She reconnects with Jenny, her best friend from school who finds herself pregnant with twins. Claire also meets the village vet Sam on a few occasions and there are some will they, won't they moments. Beautifully written and I hope this book is a success for Cathy.
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I love Christmas stories set in a village and this certainly didn't disappoint, well written and a rea; pleasure to read. This could so easily be a true story as the characters were true to life. 5 stars and I recommend you enjoy this.

Thanks to Netgalley and publisher for this ARC in return for an honest review.
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A heartwarming and festive story that made me smile and root for the characters.
I loved the small town descriptions and the well thought cast of characters.
The plot is tightly knitted and kept me hooked.
It's recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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2 stars!

I'm really sad to only be giving this books 2 stars but unfortunately it really just wasn't what I was expecting at all. Advertised as a romantic feel-good read, it really is anything but that. 

The Country Village Christmas Show follow Clare as she moves back to her small hometown after losing her job, getting divorced and selling her house. Being back in the village Clare grew up in is challenging but she decides to organise a Christmas show in the village to bring the community together and spread a little holiday cheer. And maybe along the way find love. 

The cover, the title and the premise of this book make it seem like it would be the perfect Christmassy romantic read. However, this isn't romantic and it isn't feel good at all. In fact, a lot of the aspects of this story are quite sad and quite negative and there are never any attempts at turning them into a positive. That is of course excluding Clare's and Sam's developing relationship which I believe is meant to come across as a beautiful love story of two lost people finding each other but is instead just a very tepid love of two very two dimensional characters for whom it is convenient to fall in love. 

This leads me to Sam, our love interest in the story. Whilst I could enjoy Clare's character, Sam's gave me a lot of issue to work through. From the very first moment we are introduced to Sam he is shown as a passive aggressive guy with some temperament issues and these are never really acknowledged or fixed throughout the story. He just goes on to have angry outbursts with everyone and then weakly apologises and somehow makes it all okay. Another aspect of Sam that really ruined the character for me was his relationship with his sister Alyssa. Alyssa is Sam's younger sister who has had an accident growing up and ended up in a wheelchair. I would've been delighted for this disability rep if it wasn't for Sam trying to make it all about him. More than once when Sam talks about his sister and her accident he shifts the narrative to himself as if he is somehow the victim. In fact when he tells Clare about it even Clare ends up saying that Sam has "endured a lot" his whole life. This makes no sense to me? His sister is the one who is paraplegic but somehow we are meant to feel and for Sam because he is a weird aggressive and overprotective brother who has to look after his sister? The whole Sam-Alyssa relationship is very strange and doesn't sit right with me. 

I was hoping for a wonderfully magical Christmas setting and a feel-good talent show that would create happiness and togetherness but the actual show was rushed and the setting of the book wasn't ever Christmassy at all. 

With all that being said, I did appreciate the disability rep in Alyssa and Kyle's pansexuality being introduced and dealt with in a very positive and mature way. 

Over all this just wasn't at all what I thought it would be but that doesn't mean it won't be the perfect Christmas read for someone else so please don't let my experience with it dissuade you from reading it and giving it a chance.
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This lovely story boasts page after page of deliciously delightful characters. From Clare’s wonderful mother, Elaine to her quite lovely son, Kyle there’s every reason to plan a visit to Little Bramble.
There’s something for everyone in this book, I just loved every moment.
Clare is the centre of the story and it’s her metamorphic path that carries the sequence of events to their festive conclusion.
Of course, with an ungainly Great Dane, Goliath, sharing centre stage, it goes without saying that there must be a hunky vet on the horizon.  Rest assured, Sam is very much the perfect guy for that role.
There are some fabulous extra characters including Clare’s best friend from her schooldays, the vicar and the postman, who has a special relationship with Goliath. 
I am finding it hard to pin-point the best bits but, the candidates include – Tai-Chi in underwear, the ‘I’m Spartacus’ style confessions to burning down the village hall and Clare’s inability to avoid mud.
I found that this was a wonderful story which wasn’t simply a Christmas tale but a glimpse at how returning home can be good for the soul.
Take a visit to Little Bramble, you won’t be disappointed.
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