The small town of Yulethorpe in the English country is beautiful but shops and restaurants are closing. On holiday, Clara Kristensen stops at the local pub where she witnesses the owner of the local toy shop, an eccentric woman called Louisa, announce that she is leaving to move to Spain. Looking for some stability, Clara offers to house-sit and look after the shop while Louisa is away. Seeing the potential to draw more business, Clara works hard in the shop with the help of her two new friends, Lauren and the pub owner, Gavin. Her hard work is rewarded with more customers but there are two people who don’t seem happy about Clara’s success - Roz who wants to buy the shop, and Louisa’s son, Joe, who would like to sell the shop to assure a future for his mother. Joe is obsessed with his job in the City and, to win him over, Clara tries to get him to relax via the Danish lifestyle of hygge.
What I liked most about this book is the characters. They are honest and relatable and you can’t help liking them. My favourite is Louisa who is funny, blunt and exuberant. Set in the atmospheric English countryside, this is an enjoyable and heart-warming novel that, true to its hygge title, will make you light candles and drink hot chocolate to relax. (NP)
The Hygge Holiday, by Rosie Blake, is all about the art of happiness. The summary says: "It's autumn in the little town of Yulethorpe and everyone is gloomy. It's cold, drizzly and the skies are permagrey. The high street is full of struggling shops. The last stand-out shop - a little toy shop on the high street of the town - has just shut its doors.
Everything is going wrong for Yulethorpe this autumn. Until Clara Kristensen arrives. Clara is on holiday in Yulthorpe but she knows how important it is to be part of a community. She realises that the toy shop was the one last bright spark in town and rolls up her sleeves and sets to work. Reopening the shop, she cleans it all up and starts to bring back magic to the town, running events for local children and changing her window displays every night to the joy of the small people who are convinced that magic elves are doing it.
Until the owner of the toyshop's son, Joe, turns up. He is Very Busy and Important in Business and hasn't been able to get away until now, but he is horrified at Clara. What does she think she's doing? Where is the money? He can't believe that anyone would work this hard just for the fun of making magic and bringing life back to a dying high street.
Can a man who's wedded to the city, his mobile phone learn to appreciate the slower, happier, hygge-r things in life - naps, country walks and falling in love?" The Hygge Holiday is out in September 2017.