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The Christmas Surprise

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Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year in the little sweetshop she owns and runs. But when fate strikes Rosie and her boyfriend, Stephen, a terrible blow, threatening everything they hold dear, it's going to take all their strength and the support of their families and their Lipton friends to hold them together. After all, don't they say it tak Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year in the little sweetshop she owns and runs. But when fate strikes Rosie and her boyfriend, Stephen, a terrible blow, threatening everything they hold dear, it's going to take all their strength and the support of their families and their Lipton friends to hold them together. After all, don't they say it takes a village to raise a child?


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Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year in the little sweetshop she owns and runs. But when fate strikes Rosie and her boyfriend, Stephen, a terrible blow, threatening everything they hold dear, it's going to take all their strength and the support of their families and their Lipton friends to hold them together. After all, don't they say it tak Rosie Hopkins, newly engaged, is looking forward to an exciting year in the little sweetshop she owns and runs. But when fate strikes Rosie and her boyfriend, Stephen, a terrible blow, threatening everything they hold dear, it's going to take all their strength and the support of their families and their Lipton friends to hold them together. After all, don't they say it takes a village to raise a child?

30 review for The Christmas Surprise

  1. 5 out of 5

    Obsidian

    I re-read the third book this weekend just because I was surprised to see it wasn't on my Goodreads read shelf. And then I recall why I didn't add it. I was annoyed the first time I read it and really annoyed and aggravated the second time I read it. This book should have just been called "White Saviors to the Rescue" or "The Blind Side: Part 2". I forgot how condescending and just awful this whole book was. Rosie and Stephen are now engaged and Rosie is happy to be thinking of their future and I re-read the third book this weekend just because I was surprised to see it wasn't on my Goodreads read shelf. And then I recall why I didn't add it. I was annoyed the first time I read it and really annoyed and aggravated the second time I read it. This book should have just been called "White Saviors to the Rescue" or "The Blind Side: Part 2". I forgot how condescending and just awful this whole book was. Rosie and Stephen are now engaged and Rosie is happy to be thinking of their future and running her sweetshop. However, things from Stephen's past come back to affect the couple. Rosie doesn't know if their relationship will be strong enough to get past this. "The Christmas Surprise" honestly is a paint by numbers story. You are going to know what is happening way before it does. Nothing was a "surprise". And as another reviewer mentioned, this book had a lot of serious issues that honestly weighed the book down. It just didn't feel like a happy book, just mostly a book I read and went my God everyone is terrible. The setting of the book moves from Lipton to Africa. And I won't get into the Africa parts in order to not spoil, but my God. Africa is a continent made up of about 54 countries. They are not all similar and it just irked my ever loving soul that when "Africa" makes an appearance in a book it's either people talking about lions or crap, the children who just love to see them and play, or extreme poverty. The ending made me roll my eyes. The fact this is pushed as a "Christmas" book surprised the life out of me.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kate Olson

    A welcome return to this series, but not my favorite Colgan story. Still a sweet one, though!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Wolf

    As an end to a sweet trilogy, it's nice to see everyone get a happily-ever-after, but some elements of this books felt forced and predictable to me. I love these characters and I'm glad I read through to the conclusion of their stories, but this 3rd book just didn't appeal to me the way the first two did. (Full review at Bookshelf Fantasies) As an end to a sweet trilogy, it's nice to see everyone get a happily-ever-after, but some elements of this books felt forced and predictable to me. I love these characters and I'm glad I read through to the conclusion of their stories, but this 3rd book just didn't appeal to me the way the first two did. (Full review at Bookshelf Fantasies)

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lorenzio Phillibuster Fireworks

    I’m almost guaranteed to love a Jenny Colgan novel and especially the Rosie Hopkins stories because they’re set in an English countryside village that snows at Christmas and there’s hot chocolate and everything is wonderful. For that reason alone, aside from the fact that I love these characters the best, I was looking forward to this novel. To me, this novel felt extremely forced and predictable. I knew Rosie was pregnant before she was, I knew what would happen when they visited the African vi I’m almost guaranteed to love a Jenny Colgan novel and especially the Rosie Hopkins stories because they’re set in an English countryside village that snows at Christmas and there’s hot chocolate and everything is wonderful. For that reason alone, aside from the fact that I love these characters the best, I was looking forward to this novel. To me, this novel felt extremely forced and predictable. I knew Rosie was pregnant before she was, I knew what would happen when they visited the African village and I knew what the real ‘Christmas surprise’ reveal was going to be. I don’t mind knowing where the lovely happy ending is going and that everything is going to turn out to be fantastically alright by the end, but this novel just felt entirely too formulaic to be fun. It also lacked the trademark charm of Colgan’s writing – the love interests were fighting about some pretty serious issues, the surrounding townspeople lacked a lot of the humour and loveableness that attracted me to them and Lilian – the real gem of the novels – felt like an afterthought or a cameo appearance. There was a lot of serious drama to wade through in The Christmas Surprise from heavy financial burdens to serious medical problems and deep family rifts. It felt to me that in trying to work out all these very serious issues, the book didn’t have time to get around to the fun and the magic of Christmas. Considering that Colgan’s was one of the first Christmas books I read, and something that got my heavily into the genre, this novel felt like a disappointment.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Esmé Boom

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Yeah this is not for me and I knew it a hundred pages in. Seriously annoyed with all the 'I will show you Africa' or 'this was it: Africa' kind if stuff (reminder: Africa is not one country). Not woke, though it pretends to be. White saviourism everywhere. Character building was lazy with the 'villains'. Eugh. Should have DNF'd, but as I expected, I did enjoy the happy ending a little bit - but why did the social worker have to get a burnout for Rosie and Stephen to have their happy ending? Why Yeah this is not for me and I knew it a hundred pages in. Seriously annoyed with all the 'I will show you Africa' or 'this was it: Africa' kind if stuff (reminder: Africa is not one country). Not woke, though it pretends to be. White saviourism everywhere. Character building was lazy with the 'villains'. Eugh. Should have DNF'd, but as I expected, I did enjoy the happy ending a little bit - but why did the social worker have to get a burnout for Rosie and Stephen to have their happy ending? Why the sudden change in some characters? Why am I still writing a review of a book I so clearly want to be done with?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Hani Tiara

    Reading this book make my heart warm and cosy. Beautiful and perfect ending ❤

  7. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    Everyone who knows me how much I adore Jenny Colgan books. I love the Cupcake series and the lovely Rosie Hopkins series so I couldn't wait to start this, which I did on 1st December to get me into the Christmas spirit. It hits the spot perfectly and catching up on Rosie and Stephen's lives is like meeting old friends. It's just a lovely cosy feeling book and as always I had tears at the end. I didn't want to leave my old friends Rosie, Stephen, Lilian, Tina etc, so didn't really want to finish Everyone who knows me how much I adore Jenny Colgan books. I love the Cupcake series and the lovely Rosie Hopkins series so I couldn't wait to start this, which I did on 1st December to get me into the Christmas spirit. It hits the spot perfectly and catching up on Rosie and Stephen's lives is like meeting old friends. It's just a lovely cosy feeling book and as always I had tears at the end. I didn't want to leave my old friends Rosie, Stephen, Lilian, Tina etc, so didn't really want to finish it. I won't say anymore, just to say read it and get lost in it like I did. Just lovely. Happy Christmas everyone :-)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    A great end to my 2015 Christmas readings. I always enjoy a Jenny Colgan book!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jodie- Readthewriteact

    This book is great for a Christmas read. It is both light and emotional at the same time, while filled with hope which seems to be a Jenny Colgan speciality. I must say that I did find the plot more predictable than the previous two books, which for me was a bit of a let down. Despite this, the journey to the end (regardless of its predictability) was still rich and engaging. The author has managed to stay true to the core personality of the characters in this book but also has demonstrated how This book is great for a Christmas read. It is both light and emotional at the same time, while filled with hope which seems to be a Jenny Colgan speciality. I must say that I did find the plot more predictable than the previous two books, which for me was a bit of a let down. Despite this, the journey to the end (regardless of its predictability) was still rich and engaging. The author has managed to stay true to the core personality of the characters in this book but also has demonstrated how they have grown, especially regarding the relationship between Rosie and Stephen. Some of the other storylines did seem a bit farcical, but it is fiction after all. Quite a nice, happy read even if it is somewhat predictable.

  10. 4 out of 5

    fran🌛☆

    I loved the first festive instalment and this one was just as lovely and cosy as the last... Definitely one to pick up if you’re a sucker for heartwarming yet funny Christmas reads! :)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Melliott

    I liked it and there were many sweet moments, but I downgraded it from four stars to three for being so predictable, and also for having a pretty pat ending. Still enjoyable, though, as part of the franchise.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Shelley Lawrence

    5+ stars This story, my friends, is one of my all-time favorites. It is the conclusion of a trilogy that I absolutely adored, characters, setting, sentiment and all, and what a magnificent conclusion it was. This story was everything I love about reading. It was charming and picturesque, totally atmospheric, cozy and lovely. It’s the place I’d dream of living, with people I’d want to surround myself with. This story made me laugh and also made me tear up. It made me pause and think, and it transpo 5+ stars This story, my friends, is one of my all-time favorites. It is the conclusion of a trilogy that I absolutely adored, characters, setting, sentiment and all, and what a magnificent conclusion it was. This story was everything I love about reading. It was charming and picturesque, totally atmospheric, cozy and lovely. It’s the place I’d dream of living, with people I’d want to surround myself with. This story made me laugh and also made me tear up. It made me pause and think, and it transported me to another place, time and culture. I lost myself in this story. Everything about it just totally worked for me and made me feel so good reading it, but also a bit heart-broken to see it end. It was a perfect reading experience, the quintessential Christmas story, and I am so grateful to authors who write books that are truly long-lasting gifts to their readers.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karen Biegert

    More of a 3.5 than a 4. Heartwarming story about the life you dream of versus the life you have. Some parts seemed to drag on at times, but the humor made up for it. Some parts didn’t make sense: for example, Stephen is posh, but he & Rosie have money issues. Also, since the first book of the series, Rosie has wanted to get married. By the end of the series, she’s still not married (although she has a fiancé & an adopted baby). Overall, a sweet book. This is my second favorite book of this serie More of a 3.5 than a 4. Heartwarming story about the life you dream of versus the life you have. Some parts seemed to drag on at times, but the humor made up for it. Some parts didn’t make sense: for example, Stephen is posh, but he & Rosie have money issues. Also, since the first book of the series, Rosie has wanted to get married. By the end of the series, she’s still not married (although she has a fiancé & an adopted baby). Overall, a sweet book. This is my second favorite book of this series.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This book felt solidly fine. It was nice to return to these characters and community again but I never really got into the story. At times the problems or characters felt to contrived or like caricatures it was almost comical. There were also some comments made about characters weight or physical disabilities that felt very dated and inappropriate. It was a nice conclusion to the series and tied everything up with a bow.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Iona Sharma

    Wildly enjoyable book as ever but loses a star for a really egregious case of Africa-as-a-country. There is a whole substantial plotline involving a main character's time with Medecins Sans Frontières and the people he met while he was working for them, and how he spoke perfect French as a result of his time in this richly described village in a richly described landscape - but it's just "Africa". WHERE. Wildly enjoyable book as ever but loses a star for a really egregious case of Africa-as-a-country. There is a whole substantial plotline involving a main character's time with Medecins Sans Frontières and the people he met while he was working for them, and how he spoke perfect French as a result of his time in this richly described village in a richly described landscape - but it's just "Africa". WHERE.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sonia Cristina

    This is the richest ending to a sweet trilogy. I don't have words. It's such a heart warming book, simple, sweet, cute. Everyone knows that a book featuring a child is always the best and this book is just one more proof of that. More than a child, it's about family, community, helping, enjoying the simple pleasures of life and of living. Jenny Colgan, again, proves her talent. This is the richest ending to a sweet trilogy. I don't have words. It's such a heart warming book, simple, sweet, cute. Everyone knows that a book featuring a child is always the best and this book is just one more proof of that. More than a child, it's about family, community, helping, enjoying the simple pleasures of life and of living. Jenny Colgan, again, proves her talent.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Whittaker

    It’s a shame you can’t give half a star as this would be a 3.5 stars from me. Nice to catch up with Rosie again. Lovely story. Happy ending. A nice, feel good Christmas read which, after this absolutely awful year, we all need.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kerry

    Loved it! So sweet!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I needed something warm, bright, and quick - this fit the bill perfectly!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Stead

    Nearly a DNF, unfortunately didn't enjoy this one. Nearly a DNF, unfortunately didn't enjoy this one.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    i found this harder to get into then her previous book. i felt that it didn't flow as well this time. i found this harder to get into then her previous book. i felt that it didn't flow as well this time.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Eleni

    I started this series with this book. I loved Rosie's and Stephen's story and look forward to read more about them! :) I started this series with this book. I loved Rosie's and Stephen's story and look forward to read more about them! :)

  23. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    This book was such a lovely escape!!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrea

    Easy, cutesy, Christmas read . I enjoyed it well enough 😁 ⭐️⭐️ (2.5)

  25. 5 out of 5

    Samantha

    Jenny Colgan has become a favourite for me; you know what you are going to get with her, a good storyline, good characters and a feel good factor and this novel lived up to all of those. If you have not read the others in the series it is of little importance as this could easily stand alone and Jenny does give a little update of where we are with Rosie at the start so it's easy to pick up where the previous novel left off. There's no point in my retelling what happens and I'm not into 'spoilers' Jenny Colgan has become a favourite for me; you know what you are going to get with her, a good storyline, good characters and a feel good factor and this novel lived up to all of those. If you have not read the others in the series it is of little importance as this could easily stand alone and Jenny does give a little update of where we are with Rosie at the start so it's easy to pick up where the previous novel left off. There's no point in my retelling what happens and I'm not into 'spoilers' although it's not difficult to guess what will happen. Yes it was predictable and easy to guess what was going to happen but somehow it didn't really spoil the book because the characters are so well developed and 'familiar' that the reader takes the journey with them confident that everything will always work out OK. It is a happy ever after kind of book but it is so charming, so full of descriptive narrative and realistic dialogue that you just want it all to work out for them. All the characters from previous books are here, Lilian, Tina, the relationship between Rosie and Stephen and of course his haughty snobby mother and all the problems that come along with all the characters. We meet Pamela Stephen's sister and learn another aspect of this dysfunctional family and their dynamics which brings a welcome slant on this otherwise predictable novel. I love Jenny Colgan's writing, in many ways she reminds me of the successful Sophie Kinsella in that she can laugh at and with her characters in such an entertaining way that reading her novels is so easy. Breezed through this book, thoroughly enjoyable and although it was not entirely about Christmas it was a good seasonal read - definitely worth a 4 star rating. I would like to thank the publisher for sending this in exchange for an honest review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Best Crime Books & More

    I rarely dislike a Jenny Colgan book and the Rosie Hopkins books are no exception. For those that plan to read these books in order it’s maybe not a good idea to carry on reading. The one HUGE thing I loved was that Jenny Colgan does a little ‘wrap up’ of all characters and where they are at up to date giving you a quick refresh. It’s a great idea and I immediately knew where I was joining the story again. Rosie Hopkins has now settled into the village of Lipton and with the refresh at the beginn I rarely dislike a Jenny Colgan book and the Rosie Hopkins books are no exception. For those that plan to read these books in order it’s maybe not a good idea to carry on reading. The one HUGE thing I loved was that Jenny Colgan does a little ‘wrap up’ of all characters and where they are at up to date giving you a quick refresh. It’s a great idea and I immediately knew where I was joining the story again. Rosie Hopkins has now settled into the village of Lipton and with the refresh at the beginning of the book I was reminded of all the local characters that make an appearance. Rosie is now living with boyfriend Stephen and regularly visits her aunt Lilian who is resident at a home nearby. We also see reappearances of local GP Moray, Rosie’s friend and colleague Tina and many more. One particular character which makes a brilliant ‘star’ performance in this latest book is the local dentist Roy. One thing that quickly became clear was that the early part of the book was certainly not all flowers and romance. We witness both Rosie and Stephen face some harsh, bleak and very sad moments. This results in them making a trip back to Africa where Stephen had previously visited. I’m not deliberately being vague, but it’s difficult to mention parts of the story without fear of plot spoiling. Upon Rosie and Stephens return it seems the whole village goes into meltdown meaning last minute arrangements have to be made for Tina and her upcoming wedding. In addition to that we meet Stephens Sister Pamela who I thought was an absolutely cracking character to read about. Overall, although not my favourite ‘Rosie’ book this was another brilliant read. It is well worth reading the two previous books, but if you haven’t and you come across this don’t let that stop you. I certainly enjoyed revisiting Lipton and all its characters and can’t wait to see what’s next for all of them!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Helen

    So I recently started reading this book after seeing it in a lot of book shops and thought it would be a nice easy novel to get stuck into over the christmas period. I will start with the positives; it is easy to read and understood the plot straight away. I think she makes a good point of giving you a list of the characters before you start the actual story to shed some info on who they are when they pop up in the story ! Very useful. I haven't read any other books by J.C before and this was my f So I recently started reading this book after seeing it in a lot of book shops and thought it would be a nice easy novel to get stuck into over the christmas period. I will start with the positives; it is easy to read and understood the plot straight away. I think she makes a good point of giving you a list of the characters before you start the actual story to shed some info on who they are when they pop up in the story ! Very useful. I haven't read any other books by J.C before and this was my first book by Jenny Colgan. But I'm afraid having spent some good money on buying this book I did not think it was worth the cost! I found in a lot of parts it felt a little bit shallow and not very well thought out...what annoyed me was the fact she seem to brisk over things so easily. So when I came up to critical points (what I thought in my perspective would have been an almost life changing experience in reality) it was met with a brief moment of sympathy from the character(s) with an immediate feeling that the character had completely forgotten about the matter in hand! They felt as though they were acting unrealistically and didn't appear to have much sense about them. Therefore I struggled to relate to. Sorry Jenny but think I will be turning this book into a decoration piece instead of a addition to my book collection.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Hannah Symonds

    I am a big fan of Jenny Colgan, and couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book. Normally I wait until it comes out in paperback but I literally couldn't wait so bought it in hardback as a treat. There are a couple of other books before this one which I would suggest you read but if you didn't want to, Jenny does come recap about what had happened at the start of each book. This story had a brilliant little plot, some people would probably say they could tell what was going to happen, b I am a big fan of Jenny Colgan, and couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of this book. Normally I wait until it comes out in paperback but I literally couldn't wait so bought it in hardback as a treat. There are a couple of other books before this one which I would suggest you read but if you didn't want to, Jenny does come recap about what had happened at the start of each book. This story had a brilliant little plot, some people would probably say they could tell what was going to happen, but I don't mind that as Jenny has a way of writing where you feel that it doesn't really matter. There was some brilliant characters in this book including Rosie, who I am very envious of as she owns a sweetshop and little baby Apostil, who just seems so cute. I love the fact Jenny has a map in the front of her book and a timeline, it makes you feel as if you are included in the story. If you know what I mean. Fantastic recipes at the back of this book and all of her other books, that you simply must try out as they are brilliant. Rather than a 5/5 I would definitely give this book a 10.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Kate Forrest

    I picked this up as I had just been bought Christmas at Rosie Hopkins sweet shop so I thought what more to get me excited about this wonderful time of year than two Christmas books? The Christmas Surprise pretty much follows straight on from the previous book and I loved every second of it. It filled me with happiness and joy and I did shed a few tears! Im originally from Derby so that aspect made me happy and able to relate to parts of the story. I love Jenny Colgan's books and have just starte I picked this up as I had just been bought Christmas at Rosie Hopkins sweet shop so I thought what more to get me excited about this wonderful time of year than two Christmas books? The Christmas Surprise pretty much follows straight on from the previous book and I loved every second of it. It filled me with happiness and joy and I did shed a few tears! Im originally from Derby so that aspect made me happy and able to relate to parts of the story. I love Jenny Colgan's books and have just started the Little Beach Street Bakery and I look forward to being as engrossed in this as I have the others :)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Umut

    I didn't read the rest of the series before I read this. And I picked this book up for a light, chick lit Christmas read. I don't think you need to read all the rest of the books because the writer makes a good introduction to charachters and makes a very sharp summary of their lives before. However, I really did not enjoy the book although it was a very easy, light read. It was too shallow and narrow. It didn't provoke any emotions, as it felt a bit forced. So, I wouldn't recommend this book eve I didn't read the rest of the series before I read this. And I picked this book up for a light, chick lit Christmas read. I don't think you need to read all the rest of the books because the writer makes a good introduction to charachters and makes a very sharp summary of their lives before. However, I really did not enjoy the book although it was a very easy, light read. It was too shallow and narrow. It didn't provoke any emotions, as it felt a bit forced. So, I wouldn't recommend this book even for a light read.

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