Sisters Tamsin and Sam couldn’t be more different. Tamsin is a social climber who likes having nice things, money and a circle of friends with the same perspective. Some would say she is a snob but she is definitely one with a heart. Sister Sam is the polar opposite – a free spirit who would rather be shunned by the social hierarchy than become part of the inner circle of bitchiness.
When Tamsin’s world comes crashing down around her it is Sam who picks her sister up off the floor just like Tamsin did for Sam five years earlier when Sam’s husband was killed. An event thay still plagues her and controls her decisions to this very day. Can these sisters pull together and get themselves back on track?
Ok, the basics. I loved the two part narrative. The characters of Tamsin and Sam where clearly defined and Watson managed to create individual voices for them both. It is always interesting to read the same story from other peoples perspectives. Personally, I sometimes find that writers will either fail to create unique characters and they will oftentimes overlap or when they do manage to create the individual voice that they then create a Groundhog Day style of storytelling which becomes repetitive and boring. However, Watson escapes both of these writing potholes and has created a wonderful story that, if anything, is helped by the dual narrative; the pacing of the story is excellent and as a reader you don’t feel like the story becomes stuck or slow-moving.
I loved the way the sisters lives seemed to parallel each others. They both had loved and lost (due to equally distressing by very different reasons) and had to rebuild their lives. They both do this with the help of each other. I think the reason that I found the relationship between Sam and Tamsin so compelling is probably because it is a similar relationship that I have with my sister. I loved that they were best friends. They got on each other’s nerves at times but the underlying love was so evident. They only wanted what was best for each other.
I thought it was especially clever how Watson had her characters overcome their underlying prejudices – Sam and the mothers at school and Tamsin with a world that was less than what she was used to.
The overall theme of family was nicely juxtaposed with the theme of Christmas as both of these things tend to go hand in hand.
Having never read any Watson before (but have accidentally got one of her earlier releases sitting on my Kindle) I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I think the reason that I enjoyed it so much was that the main focus of the story wasn’t a romantic relationship. It was there but the relationship between the sisters was the main focus and I found that very refreshing.
Well done Sue Watson, you have put me in the Christmas mood.
Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake by Sue Watson is available now.
You can follow Sue Watson on Twitter @suewatsonwriter