Review: Joanna Chambers – Merry & Bright

Author: Joanna Chambers
Reviewer: Lucy
Publisher:  MacMillan
Genre: Mm

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Summary: Three seasonal love stories from Joanna Chambers


Quin Flint is unimpressed when his gorgeous colleague, Rob Paget, asks for extra time off at Christmas. As far as Quin is concerned, Christmas is a giant waste of time. Quin’s on the fast track to partnership, and the season of goodwill is just getting in the way of his next big project. But when Quin’s boss, Marley, confiscates his phone and makes him take an unscheduled day off, Quin finds himself being forced to confront his regrets, past and present, and think about the sort of future he really wants…and who he wants it with.

Mr Perfect’s Christmas

Sam Warren’s new job hasn’t been going so well so the last thing he’s in the mood for is the obligatory office Christmas party, particularly since Nick Foster’s going to be there. Nick–the guy whose shoes Sam has been trying to fill–seems to take very opportunity to point out where Sam’s going wrong. But when Sam receives an unexpected Secret Santa gift at the party, he’s forced to question his assumptions about his rival. Could it be that he’s been misinterpreting Nick’s actions all along? And is it possible that his reluctant attraction to Nick is reciprocated?

Rest and Be Thankful

Things haven’t been going well for Cam McMorrow since he moved to Inverbechie. His business is failing, his cottage is falling apart and following his very public argument with café owner Rob Armstrong, he’s become a social outcast. Cam needs to get away from his troubles and when his sister buys him a ticket to the biggest Hogmanay party in Glasgow, he can’t leave Inverbechie quick enough. But when events conspire to strand him in the middle of nowhere in a snowstorm, not only is he liable to miss the party, he’ll also have to ask his nemesis, Rob, for help.

Review: Okay, let’s be honest. I am a fangirl of holiday stories and Ms Chambers does them well. I can’t even say which is my favorite (Mr. Perfect, fine) because they are all so lovely. These are re-released stories so I had previously read Mr Perfect’s Christmas and re-read it and then read it more. So I was very excited to get to see two more stories by this author for the holidays.

Humbug Quin is a focused manager and he has a five year plan that includes being made partner. However he has to act to make that happen, he will. When one of his employees, Rob, asks for a little extra time off at Christmas, Quin acts like a total jerk about it and never bothers to find out why. That, combined with a morning face off with his BFF, Freddy, sort of sets off a chain of events where Quin has to face some harsh truths about himself. The way he treats his friends, even his best friend, the way he treats his employees, his nonexistent life outside of work, all these come into account as he has to face some unpleasantness about himself.

Quin is a total work absorbed jerk at first but I really liked him. He realizes through the story that he hasn’t handled things well. “Somewhere along the line I’d got used to not being someone anyone looked forward to seeing.” And how sad is that? But he does manage to get it together and he wants to make it different. I loved that and I loved reading his change of heart.

Mr Perfect’s Christmas L.O.V.E. this story. Sam had been a lawyer in the city and he was let go, soon after breaking up with his boyfriend. Now he is in a much smaller place as a temp and he’s trying to take the place of Wonder Boy, AKA Nick Foster. Nick is the wunderkind who had the job before Sam. A job that Sam is struggling with, trying to fit in and do his job. “Oh, I learned it all right. I learned that I couldn’t do the job I was hired for” – Sam let out a long, hard breath, then added-“And I still can’t.” His feelings are made worse because everything he does, Nick has done better.

The company’s holiday party, which Nick is invited to thought he no longer works there, sort of brings things to a head with, of all things, a Secret Santa exchange. Mr Perfect. This one worked for me on so many levels, I loved Sam, loved Nick, even Penny.

Rest and Be Thankful Cam was an accountant and when he was made redundant he put his thought into what he really wanted to do, which was start an adventure company in Inverbechie. How it turned out, however, isn’t what he was expecting. “Apparently, to exist on the poverty line in a remote village where everybody hates me.” The thing is, Cam just isn’t a people person. So he comes across as standoffish, rude and even insulting sometimes but that’s not who he is. When a much needed New Year’s plan falls apart, he has to ask for help from the last person he wants to, Rob, the café owner who due to a presumptuous employee and a public argument Cam no longer speaks to most of Inverbechie
Cam does have a supportive sister and it really is meeting with her that gets the ball rolling for Cam to talk to Rob,. Oh Cam, just tweaked my heart. He’s trying and he’s worried and part of the reason it isn’t working well is his non-relationship with the town. It’s all misunderstandings but they are understandable ones, if that makes sense. And he is so being on being “awlight, okay” that he doesn’t really let anyone help. I loved this one, even as it is more about Cam than anything else.



Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *