Review: The Christmas Party - Carole Matthews
Louise Young is a devoted single mother whose only priority is providing for her daughter, Mia. Louise has a good job in a huge international corporation and she's grateful for it. The only problem is her boss who can't keep his hands to himself, but Louise can handle him. What she really doesn't have time for is romance - until she meets the company's rising star, Josh Wallace. Louise usually says no to evenings out but she's decided to let her hair down tonight. It's the office Christmas party, she has a pretty dress to wear and she's looking forward to some champagne and fun. She's completely unaware that others around her are too busy playing dangerous games to enjoy the party - until she's pulled into those games herself . . .
Romance is in the air and secrets are about to be uncovered. It's going to be a night to remember at The Christmas Party.
Print Length: 417 pages
Publisher: Sphere (August 7, 2014)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
About the Author
Carole Matthews is the Sunday Times bestselling author of twenty-five novels, including the Top Ten bestsellers A Cottage by the Sea and Calling Mrs Christmas. In 2013, Summer Daydreams was shortlisted for the Melissa Nathan award for Fiction about Life and Love. Carole was also shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association Romantic Comedy RoNA in 2012 and inducted into the Reader Hall of Fame by the inaugural Festival of Romance. Her novels dazzle and delight readers all over the world. She is published in more than thirty countries and her books have sold to Hollywood. For all the latest news from Carole, visit www.carolematthews.com, follow Carole on Twitter or join the thousands of readers who have become Carole's friend on Facebook.
Review: Christmas is there to liven us up – or the real deal at the corporate HoHo
For starters, the first time I ever read something written by Carole was with ‘Let’s meet on Platform 8’ – her first novel ever. Of course, I didn’t read it in its publishing year – come on I was a child back then and now just at the age of 26 I can say that her stories are always a marvelous ride. I got her first book a few years ago from my mother as some sort of a present for starting my apprenticeship in the corporate world of a pharmaceutical company. And must I say I loved that book. Funny fact, I was always reading it while being on the train to get to work. Get it? - train and platform 8 J
So that book back than got me started with Carole’s novels and I found myself noticing that her books are always the perfect read. So when I learned about her new masterpiece ‘The Christmas Party’ I had no other choice but to get my fingers on it as soon as possible. As I couldn’t wait for it to be translated into German I just bought it in English – that’s what I usually prefer when reading books. Getting them in their original tone. Of course, only if I am speaking that language as well.
Speaking of ‘The Christmas Party’, I won’t go into much detail of the plot b/c I think it’s worth it for you all to discover that yourself. There’s the main character, the ever devoted single mother Louise who works as hard as possible to give her lovely daughter Mia everything she needs. Also, Louise’s Ex has left her drowning in depts – so she has no other choice than starting in the corporate world to make a living. Because of the decent financial imposition she’s decided to move back home to live with her parents. The best grandparents you could imagine. They share so much love, tenderness and kindness with Mia and Louise and are as supportive as it can get.
In the corporate world of Fossil Oil things aren’t as loveable and neat as at home. Her boss – the Mr. Golden Balls Tyler Benson, just can’t keep his hands of her. In every possible moment he tries to make her fall for him. Louise is a smart young woman who has a hard time handling that, but she re-establishes his boundaries over and over again. She simply doesn’t want a romance to happen with a colleague. There’s is this one rule she just won’t break in order to keep her job:
“Don’t get your honey where you get your money.”
But as it is the Christmas season and the office’s Christmas Bash is about to start, things seem to get worse. The party takes place in a stunningly fancy and festive manor and there’s a free bar to be abused by all employees of Fossil Oil. Free drinks, Champagne and a loosened atmosphere is all over the place. A place that suited itself up with the most feastful décor one can think of. Not exactly what Louise envisaged it to be like. Everyone’s just partying, getting extraordinarily pissed and throwing themselves at each other - no matter the consequences. Louise soon finds out that there is a corporate reason behind that oh so glamorous function – you may just call it the corporate Russian roulette. That is b/c the chairman of the company will give a brief address to the employees that will change everything for them and not in a positive way. At least so it seems…
Everyone’s just playing games at that party to get what they want. Secret affairs amongst the leaders of Fossil Oil’s top men and their wives are to be uncovered and trust is abandoned at all. And there’s so much deception, infidelity and destruction that it will take some people down. For example Mr. Golden Balls: He just isn’t the devoted husband he should be. There’s some secrets to be revealed that will change his and his wife’s fate forever. And it all starts with a visit from the past that will rock and shake Mrs. Benson’s world to the core. It will lead her to one inevitable conclusion:
“It was what wives did, wasn’t it? Sacrificed themselves on the altar of their husband’s career.”
Top men’s wives needed to be all shiny and glittery on the outside without any life or actual perspective and personal fulfillment for themselves. Just the perfect accessory in the corporate world. But she’s done with that, now. She’s going to live her life and start over. Same accounts for Melissa – another corporate wife – who will cross the inevitable finish line of her marriage with the chairman.
As for Louise, she will encounter a romance at that party with the handsome top seller Josh Wallace. Something she actually did never want to engage in. But fate is fate. And being drawn to that irresistible Josh will lead her and her position as Tyler’s assistant to a dramatic change. What that is? Just find out for yourselves in reading this splendid novel. Just one thing: Never mess with Mr. Golden Balls. But if you do, make sure you’re not on your own.
To sum things up: Fossil Oil’s Christmas Party is a night to remember that will show you the real deal on how the corporate globe works. It is as festive and glittery as it is destructive and painful if you’re not taking care for yourself. Secrets unravel themselves. Relationships fall apart. A magician is on the loose and it all ends up in flames. But from the ashes arises something that will be a twist and turn in surprises.
I really enjoyed reading that novel because I remember how it is working in a corporate business. It’s not always that bad, no, but of course there’s always more to it than the outer appearance and there’s always these little games. You’re just one fish in the sea and need to find your own way to survive. If you’re good at what you do and if you are a decent and respectful person, you’ll manage corporate hurdles such as this Christmas party and you’ll climb up the ladder of success. Sometimes offices parties can be exactly like in this book – okay it is a little over the top, but just because it is trying to make a point here.
‘The Christmas Party’ was easy and nice to read with a perfectly defined storyline. Carole’s style of writing is unique and full of warmth, visual and festive. She uses a lot of humour and depth when describing her characters and their relations. The change of perspectives within the book’s chapters gives you more insights to the little secrets everyone is hiding, but not keeping. That is gold to the novel. A novel which is less about the Christmas spirit as it appears and more about power plays in the business world. But it only seems so. If you’re looking more into the story itself you’ll find yourself being surprised by all the love and festivity and heartiness that is being shown. Shown in the small things such as Christmas decorations and family traditions, and then also in brighter and wider spheres such as a colleague that will risk his job for you. It is a beautiful story about your own inner force and the power of love. A power that can move mountains, that can break rocks. A story that seems real and also shows that Christmas is there to liven us up. Thanks Carole for that lovely and intriguing ride.
As said before: The perfect read – a gem among stones – go and make sure you fetch that novel.
-- Jil Aimée