21 Dec 2010



It's Christmas at Sugar Loaf Lodge and everyone checking in to the luxury hotel has their reasons for spending the holiday away from home.

A heartbroken guest tries to put the past behind her; a stressed couple long for peace and quiet; a young woman eagerly anticipates a romantic night with the man she loves - although he should be spending it with somebody else.

And it's not just the guests who are hoping for a happier New Year. Worried about their business surviving the recession, the hotel's owners are determined to make it a holiday to remember.

As many more tales unfold, and a visitor from times past prepares to make her own journey, we watch and wonder: will everyone's Christmas wishes come true?
...... From the inner front cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Prologue): The Sugar Loaf Lodge wasn't really a lodge at all.

MEMORABLE MOMENT: Because as the tears streamed down her face, she felt another presence move towards her, a familiar warmth as her mother's arms enfolded her.
"You silly, silly, girl" said Charlotte. "You should have cried before. Then I could have reached you."
"Mama" Louisa had never felt like this before. Never felt so peaceful and so right.
"Yes," said Charlotte. "It's me. You've come to us at last."

The only book I've actually bought for this Holiday Reading Challenge. When it arrived I was worried it was going to be too soppy for my tastes  - with its pinky-purple, glitter embossed cover and a hotel named Sugar Loaf Lodge, I only hoped this wasn't going to be as sugary sweet as it suggested.

Not to fear, not overly sweet (well not all of it), I found A Season To Remember a wonderfully heartwarming seasonal read.

Not technically a set of short stories, this novel told the stories of several different people, all of whom, for one reason or another, was spending Christmas at the Sugar Loaf Lodge.

Really all about relationships this was quite a topical book in many ways as it looked at issues such as recession, redundancy, marital affairs/break ups and parenthood amongst other things. Sounds gloomy? Not at all, this had a real feel good factor about it which left me feeling all warm and Christmassy.

My favourite story? Two Rock (all of the books chapters are named after mountains that can be found close to the hotel) and the story of Jim and Laura (the stressed couple longing for peace and quiet), new parents of Kirstie. After having had the baby, like many couples, financial necessity forced Laura back to work, leaving her daughter in the care of two sets of caring though over-bearing grandmothers both of whom want to spend Christmas with their granddaughter. AND, for a totally different reason, Berleagh and the story of Louisa (the visitor from times past) which brought tears to my eyes several times. Quite an old fashioned tale in many ways, I think the author wanted to include something different and this was perfect.

My least favourite? Kilmashogue and the story of Holly (the young woman eagerly anticipating a romantic night) and Sam (who should be spending it with someone else). I don't want to include any spoilers but suffice to say that, trying very hard not to be judgemental, I found this story quite hard going and couldn't bring myself to like either of these characters despite the author trying very hard to portray Holly as some kind of fragile creature who was simply caught up in events beyond her control.

Though the Holiday Reading Challenge only calls for us to read between one and five books I couldn't resist adding this, a sixth book. In order to add any reviews of your own and/or see what other bloggers have been reading click HERE and for your Challenge wrap-up posts (mine will follow shortly) click HERE.


Misha1989 said...

I don't have any Holiday books to read so will be adding this to my TBR. Thanks for the review!

Arti said...

A good book for Christmas... Loved the first line, it really sets the tone for the entire story!!
Have a wonderful day:-)

Mary said...

This will go on my list for next year. It sounds perfect for the season. Looks like the Holiday Challenge was a success for you. I managed 4 (I think). Not sure I'll have time to fit another in this week.

Melissa said...

I've yet to read this one...I don't really read Christmas books, and I'm not really sure why! Great review though :)

A said...

I will probably not read but I have to admit your book reviews are excellent.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year :))

GMR said...

I was worried when I saw the cover....not your typical "taste" so to speak, but glad you were happily surprised. It sounds a tinge sappy, but not over the top... Congrats on completing the reading challenge as an overachiever.... ^_^ ...knew you'd have no trouble with it. Happy holidays...and happy reading!

Melissa Gill said...

I might have to try this, because I always trust your taste. (I'm reading The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise right now and LOVING it.)

Vivienne said...

I would happily stay at Sugar Loaf Lodge. It reminds of the 80's programme Hotel set in a big American hotel. I shall look out for this one for next year.

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

Sounds like a good book for Christmas. Thanks to your great review.
And Tracy, I would want to wish you-from the bottom of my heart- a Merry Christmas!

Lots of love and hugs!!


Oddyoddyo13 said...

I just love how you defy the rules and add an extra book to the pile-now that's holiday spirit!

Sounded pretty darn sugary to me, but I'm glad you said otherwise. :) Thanks for the review!

Carrie at In the Hammock Blog said...

awww this looks so sweet! i'm really into the holiday reads this year.

Dizzy C said...

Sounds like a great seasonal read.

I find it hard to warm to characters where infidelity is present.


Kelly said...

I was prepared not to like this one, but it actually sounds like something I would very much enjoy.

The advent calendar was especially fun today! I hope you are clicking on the stockings as well!

Suko said...

This holiday reading challenge sounds like fun. Terrific review of A Season to Remember!

NRIGirl said...

Ah! How I wish your review was longer.. I just felt like going on and on and on listening to your story - I mean the book review.

Merry Christmas to you and your HD!

Mamakucingbooks said...

This book sounds great.

naida said...

Sounds like a good holiday read. I can relate to the part about being judgemental during the one story. That happened to me with the last book I read.

Wakela Runen said...

Now that I have my reading for this challenge behind me, I am venturing out to see what others have read.

This sounds like a great read. I will have to check it out for next years challenge.

I have mine up at Wakela's World