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Part 1 – BOOK FEELINGS: So these were first offenders on my list, I will review them in turn but first a bit of background. One of my good friends left work in September, and as we share a love of books and often talked through plots and characters, I decided the best leaving present was obviously ‘The Eyre Affair’ by Jasper Fforde. However, I might have bought myself a small present at the same time…’Neverwhere’ by Neil Gaiman.

I saw his ‘American Gods’ and thought about that  becoming my latest addition, but I am a sucker for an aesthetically pleasing book so bought the illustrated version of ‘Neverwhere’, because quite frankly, it is beautiful. As with many of my purchases it sat, on a shelf, in my bag and then finally graduated to my bedsit cabinet.  There it was until New Years Day and the reading itch needed a scratch.

Now the for background on ‘The Nightingale  Christmas Carol’, my partners housemates have a mini Christmas each year with just them and a mini gift swap. This year it was scheduled for Sat 10th December, but the married couple went into labour and ‘Christmas’ was postponed. My partner and I decided that we wanted to swap a single gift regardless (no comments from you lot about early presents, thank you). Anyway, as I am being fully supported in this madness, I was bought this one of the Nightingale series. I was told it was an easy read as I LOVE ‘Call the Midwife’ and that it was part of a series, so if I did like it then I had some books to put on my birthday list.

PART 2 – REVIEW: So book 1 of the year, what did I think? Well ‘Neverwhere’ was unexpected. It was fantasy, drama  and adventure with a hopeless male lead. Richard’s adventures in ‘London Below’ with Door, Hunter and some seriously bad contract killers. I loved that Rats could talk, Angel Islington is a REAL Angel and that actually there is more to our capital than meets the eye. It reminded me of the ‘Discworld’ series, had some of the same magic as ‘Harry Potter’ but the equal mystery and belief of ‘Rivers of London’. Some characters make you laugh, others make you furious. A very welcome first read of the year.

And now for something for completely different, ‘A Nightingale Christmas Carol. A wartime tale, of love, loss and nursing unexpected POWs. The stories of the ‘Nightingale Girls’, and how they  live, work and grow through the war. Can Dora forgive the Germans for the loss in her family? Can Helen show any compassion to those she can’t trust? Will Kitty find anyone to love her despite her inhibitions? It made me think about the war in a new way and I think as someone who never had to live through a major war, these interlinking stories represent the anguish, empowerment and daily rigmarole of living through the Blitz. Definitely an easy read,  I have added the rest of the series to my wish list. I wanted to find out what happened to them, but in true chick-flick fashion I wished a happy ending.

Happy reading.