Aug 22, 2014

Guest Post by Amy Griffin: Topsy-Turvey Christmas and Parisian Day Dreams

Topsy-Turvey Christmas and Parisian Day Dreams

There are so many things I love about living in Melbourne. The galleries and coffee shops, great little bars hidden down laneways, beautiful arcades, amazing shopping, wineries nearby and amazing food. It is like being holiday every weekend. And while I know I am so lucky to live here, after nine years in Melbourne there is one thing I just can't get used to. Christmas in the summertime. I know, it even sounds wrong, doesn't it?
So when the June and July roll around and my friends back home in Britain are loving the sun in Spain and France, the winter nights are drawing in here in my adopted home town. I love winter. I love wrapping up warm, I love fairy lights in trees and air so cold you can see your breath. And what else to do in the middle of winter but celebrate Christmas? So just last week, I gathered my Melbourne based British friends around me, we put up a tree, roasted a turkey and had ourselves a Christmas in July!

To continue the lovely Christmas theme I lost myself in Lisa Dickenson's Twelve Dates of Christmas. I just loved this book which opens as Claudia finds herself unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend of five years. Worse still - while they are on a date. Worse still - while they are on a date just before Christmas.
Next comes a hilarious run of eleven unexpected dates - nights out with friends, blind dates with dishy men - and it looks like this Christmas might not be so bleak after all. But who will ultimately win Claudia's heart? I love Lisa Dickenson's writing.  Twelve Dates of Christmas is funny, smart and fast-paced and if that weren't enough, it is set in London at Christmas-time. What could be better?
But if I were in Britain during June and July my holiday destination would be Paris, every time. Morning croissants at Moisan, afternoons at the Louvre, a trip to Shakespeare and Company for new holiday reads, sitting next to the tree-lined Canal St Martin with a glass of wine and a cheese board watching the sun go down and the world go by. Heaven.

To accompany me I would have one of my all time favourite books. Chocolat by Joanne Harris. I love to read new authors on holiday but there is nothing lovelier than re-reading old favourites with a glass of wine in the early evening sun. It is like hanging out with well loved old friends. In Chocolat, Vianne and her daughter move to tiny French village and open a chocolate shop just before Easter, much to the disapproval of the local Mayor. While the Mayor tries to turn the village against her, people find themselves migrating towards Vianne's warmth and friendship and towards the delicious morsels they find in her chocolate shop. A book about love, friendship and being true to who you are. Every time I open the cover I fall in love all over again. 

The sequel to Chocolat, The Lollipop Shoes, picks up Vianne's story some years later when she has moved to Paris and while she faces a new set of challenges there I love to absorb myself in the pages of her Parisian life, knowing that she find happiness in the end.
Thank you Lavender Library for inviting me to your blog. I have loved re-reading these old favourite books and have loved sharing them with you. To find out more about what happened during Christmas in July, and for more on my favourite things, please feel free hop on over to my website, I'd love to see you there

Amy Griffin is the author of Before You Say Yes, a romantic comedy in which Ellie is in love with a wonderful man, except that the passion has long since left. Her best friend is getting divorced, her sister just got engaged and now Ellie has to ask herself, is love without sex really enough? Because when it comes to the big decisions in life, you want to be really sure before you say yes.
Amy x

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