Review: Mistletoe and Wine by Faith Bleasdale

Title: Mistletoe and Wine

Author: Faith Bleasdale

Pages: 74 pages

The Blurb

One office party, three couples, lots of secrets. What could possibly go wrong?

Harry Augustus, the third generation boss of Augustus Estate Agents, is hosting the biggest and best Christmas party yet.

He is pulling out all the stops and has a big announcement to make.

Gabby, the glamorous office manager, is in charge of the festive bash.

But she’s also sleeping with the boss.

Their office romance has been anything but subtle and is made more scandalous by the fact that Harry is married with two kids.

But theirs is not the only secret relationship in the office…

Caroline, Harry’s dutiful PA, is dating her irresistible colleague, Rob Sharp, who wants to keep their relationship private so it won’t affect his chances of an upcoming promotion.

But Caroline is at her wits end; she’d rather face the inevitable gossip than the icy from Rob puts on in the office.

Why does she feel like she’s the one having the affair?

Gabby takes Caroline for a drink at the ‘Olive’ to plan the party and tells her she thinks Harry is going to leave his wife for her.

That’s what the announcement is going to be about.

While leaving the bar, Gabby sees Evie and Joseph, two juniors at the company, sharing a tender moment.

She thinks they’d make a cute couple but Evie has set her sights on Rob…

As Gabby, Caroline and Evie grow closer, their secret relationships threaten to catch up with them.

Trouble is brewing…

What is Harry’s speech going to be about? How will the couple cope when the truth is revealed during a not so secret ‘Secret Santa’ present swap?

Can mistletoe and wine save the day?

The Review

Fair play to Faith Bleasdale. Initially, I was unsure about whether Mistletoe and Wine would work. You see, the story has three main narrative threads and only 74 pages in which to tell the story of three women. Now those of you who have read my short story reviews before will know that I am not a huge fan of the format but Faith Bleasdale manages to get all three stories out there. Expositon to Ending. Kudos.

Mistletoe and Wine centres on three women – Gabby, Caroline and Evie – who all work together in an estate agent office; their lives are not only linked by their jobs but also by their willingness to fall at the feet of their male colleagues. The only problem is that one of the men is married and the other man is using two of the girls.

Yes, the girls are initially fooled and if I am completely honest come across as doormats. They fawn over men that are using them and rather than stand up for themselves they just remain the playthings for their lovers. It is a pitiful state of affairs but fortunately the fickle finger of festive fate is lingering over their Christmas office party to help the girls find their way.

Bleasdale manages to jam pack her short story, closing all threads and creating three main female characters who are, admittedly, somewhat misguided in their romantic pursuits but also likeable enough to come through the darkness of seedy affairs and office fumbles.

This is a quick, no-nonsense, Christmas romp that will, if anything, encourage you to be on your best behaviour at your office Christmas party.

Mistletoe and Wine by Faith Bleasdale is available now.

Follow Faith Bleasdale (@FaithBleasdale) via Twitter.

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