What could be more magical at Christmas than a fairy tale come true?
It's the festive season and the members of the Newbay Theatre Society, more commonly known as the NEWTS, are preparing to put on a show. Being cast as Cinderella is the realization of a dream for newcomer Kirsty, not least because she hopes starring in a panto under the direction of her boyfriend Jon will bring them closer together.
But Kirsty soon learns that it's not all glitter and good cheer behind the scenes at the amateur theatre as bitter rivalries nurtured through decades, wardrobe mishaps and suspicious near-fatal accidents threaten to derail the production. And then there's Prince Charming himself. Will working together with Jon bring Kirsty her happy ever after... or reveal their love to be nothing but a 'showmance'?
With Christmas just around the corner, it's going to take more than a Fairy Godmother to get Kirsty and her cast-mates to the ball.
Set in the fictional seaside town of Newbay, the town looks forward every year to its annual Christmas pantomime and this year local boy Jon returns to produce the event with decidedly interesting consequences. Following Jon to Newbay is Kirtsy his long suffering girlfriend who puts her own life on hold so that Jon can fulfill his dreams. But behind the glamour and the glitz of the festive season, Kirsty finds that playing the lead role of Cinderella doesn't necessarily guarantee that she will find her perfect man....or does it?
What then follow is a delightful story about the trials and pitfalls of producing a pantomime and of all the angst that goes on behind the scenes, which I thought was especially well done. The author writes well and makes sure that all her characters get equal attention, however, some of the supporting cast I liked more than others and from the start I knew who was going to be Kirsty's Mr Right but that didn't detract from my overall enjoyment of a lovely story. I especially enjoyed seeing how Ben and Thea’s story played out as their father / daughter relationship was such a joy to read. Within the novel as a whole, there are some really nice moments of light and shade, which make the story all the more poignant.
There's something quite lovely about this modern day Christmas fairy tale which stays with you long after the last page is turned.
Best Read with ...one of Judy's mince pies and a cinnamon spiced latte...
Chrissie Manby is the author of twenty romantic comedies including A Proper Family Holiday, The Matchbreaker and Seven Sunny Days. She has had several Sunday Times bestsellers and her novel about behaving badly after a break-up, Getting Over Mr Right, was nominated for the 2011 Melissa Nathan Award.
Chrissie was raised in Gloucester, in the west of England, and now lives in London.
Follow on Twitter @chrissiemanby
My thanks to Hodder for my review copy of this book