When I asked Trisha Ashley her favourite Christmas novel, she chose Wrapped up in You, by Carole Matthews. She said she particularly liked it because was so different, and I have to agree – after all, how many Christmas novels take you to the plains of the Maasai Mara?
Published by Sphere in 2011, Wrapped up in You is the story of 30-something hairdresser, Janie Johnson, whose single status is a constant source of gossip for friends and clients.
Janie’s only half listening, when one of her regular clients enthuses about her recent fabulous holiday in Kenya, although she’s captivated by the amazing photographs.
After a disastrous blind date, and hearing that her ex is not only getting married Christmas week, but is also about to become a father, Janie tells him she’s off to Africa. She doesn’t know why she said it. She had no intention of going away at all. However, with an unwanted suitor stalking her and two weeks’ holiday left, it suddenly seems a great idea.
Leaving her cat, Archibald the Aggressive, in the care of neighbour Mike, who is also single and clearly (although not to Janie) more than a little in love with her, Janie arrives, with four other travellers, in the baking African heat.
The spectacular scenery and the beauty and nearness of the wildlife aren’t the only things to take her breath away. Their guide for the trip is Dominic, a tall, handsome Maasai warrior. By day he shows her the wonders of his homeland. By night he stays outside her tent, to protect her and calm her fears of becoming a hungry lion’s midnight snack.
The week races by and all too soon, Janie’s back in the cold and the rain. She misses Dominic terribly and while her friends think she’s just enjoyed a holiday romance and should forget Dominic, Janie believes there’s more to their relationship. She’s hurt by their attitude towards Dominic and plans to go back and see him again, selling her only good jewellery to pay for the ticket.
When she returns this time, she brings a very special souvenir back with her. But just when her friends should be supporting her happiness, they seem to be doing everything to spoil it … And if you want to know what happens next, you’ll have to read the book!
Carole’s novel for this Christmas is Calling Mrs Christmas, which is calling me loudly from my bookcase and I can’t wait to get started on it. I asked Carole about her favourite Christmas novel and she said Skipping Christmas, by John Grisham. So my next post will be about that and if I can get hold of Mr Grisham, I’ll find out what his favourite is …