“Reading Christmas in London, you’ll feel magically transported!" Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of A Lowcountry Christmas
Set during London's most festive time of year and filled with delicious food, Anita Hughes's Christmas in London reminds us that love and forgiveness are truly the greatest gifts of all.
It’s a week before Christmas, and Louisa Graham is working twelve hour shifts at a bakery on Manhattan's Lower East Side. When a young cooking show assistant comes in from the rain and begs to buy all the cinnamon rolls on her tray, she doesn’t know what to do. Louisa is just the baker, and they aren't hers to sell. But the show burned the rolls they were supposed to film that day; so she agrees.
The next morning, Louisa finds out that her cinnamon rolls were a hit, but the star of the show was allergic, and the whole crew is supposed to leave for London that afternoon. They want Louisa to step in for their annual Christmas Eve Dinner TV special at Claridge's. It’s a great opportunity, and Digby Bunting, Louisa’s famous baking idol, will be there. Even if he does seem more interested in her than her food.
And then there’s Kate, the show's beautiful producer. On their first day in London she runs into the skinny boy she jilted at St. Andrew's in Scotland ten years ago. Now he’s a handsome, brilliant mathematician, and newly divorced. Their familiar spark is still there, but so is the scar of how they left things. Kate and Louisa are busy preparing for the show, but old and new flames are complicating their work.
This enchanting novel is a delicious holiday treat!
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.90(d)|
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Louisa nudged open the industrial-sized oven and thought nothing smelled as wonderful as cinnamon and nutmeg nine days before Christmas. Everything about the bakery's smooth wooden counters thrilled her: the buttery pie crusts waiting for crisp Granny Smith apple slices and scoops of whipped cream, the eggnog custard nestled in white cups, the cupcakes topped with cream cheese frosting and shaped liked Christmas trees. And she especially loved the croquembouche she had convinced Ellie, the bakery's owner, to let her make on her own time.
She learned the recipe for croquembouche at a cooking course in Normandy and never forgot the cream-filled pastry puffs dipped in caramel and laced with spun sugar. She examined it now and thought the puffs were a little crooked and the cream may not be as rich as she used in Normandy, but when she popped one in her mouth she tasted vanilla and a crust so airy it was like a single fat snowflake drifting down from the sky.
That was one of the things people didn't realize about being a pastry chef. It wasn't just about baking a delicious cheesecake or whisking eggs and flour so a soufflé was firm and delicate at the same time. It was about exploring other cultures. She loved to make lamingtons from Australia with their gooey centers and coconut flakes and panettones from Italy topped with powdered sugar and citrus rinds and toffee pudding from England so thick it stuck to the roof of her mouth.
Her phone lit up with texts and she brushed aside a stray hair and picked it up. Her friends urged her to join them doing all the things twenty-something New Yorkers enjoyed a week before Christmas: ice-skating in Central Park or sipping champagne cobblers at the Monkey Bar or braving Christmas shoppers at Bloomingdale's to pick out the perfect party dress.
But there was always the possibility of falling and spraining her wrist when she ice-skated and champagne gave her a headache and even though she loved Bloomingdale's with its decorated Christmas tree and scents of expensive perfumes, she couldn't afford a pair of silk stockings let alone a whole dress.
And besides, every extra hour she worked brought her closer to her goal. She had been saving for four years and by next Christmas she was determined to open her own restaurant specializing in homemade desserts. She'd already started scouting locations — roaming the trendy streets of Chelsea and venturing to the Upper West Side with its leafy sidewalks and elegant brownstones.
In the summer there would be blueberry tarts and upside-down cake with plums the color of lipstick and almond ice cream torte. And at the Christmas holidays! She would serve Baked Alaska and gingerbread trifle with cognac custard and sliced pears.
She stretched like a cat that had been sitting too long in front of the fire and noticed the rain drizzling on the pavement. If she had brought a proper raincoat she would almost look forward to the six blocks' walk to her apartment.
She thought of all the things she planned to do when she got home: read the chapter on chocolate ganache in Gordon Ramsay's new cookbook, try out a new recipe for key lime pie with limes she bought at the corner market, take a bath before her roommate prepared for a date and spent hours in the bathroom doing her hair and makeup.
Every day for the last week Louisa had staggered up the stairs to her apartment and unlocked the door. She'd flipped through the mail and brewed a cup of orange hibiscus tea. Then she'd lain down on her bed fully clothed just to close her eyes. Hours later she would wake with a crick in her neck and her jacket digging uncomfortably into her side.
A bell tinkled and Louisa realized she'd forgotten to lock the bakery door and change the sign to CLOSED. The kitchen door opened and a man of about thirty appeared. He wore a rain-splattered leather jacket and had short light-brown hair.
"I'm sorry, we're closed." She took the cinnamon rolls out of the oven and placed them on the island in the middle of the room.
"You're not closed, actually." He entered the kitchen. "The door of the bakery was unlocked and the red blinking sign said OPEN."
"The sign is new and I always forget to unplug it," Louisa said. "The cash register is empty and the desserts are put away. I'm afraid you'll have to leave."
"Are these cinnamon rolls any good?" He inspected the tray.
"I really couldn't say," she answered. "I just took them out of the oven."
"They smell delicious." He picked one up. "Do you mind if I try one?" "You can't just help yourself!" she protested, wiping her hands on her apron. "I spent hours baking them."
The man inhaled deeply and took a small bite. He finished chewing and looked at Louisa.
"Excellent! Not too gooey and with just the right amount of sweetness," he announced. "Possibly the best cinnamon roll I've ever tasted."
"Do you think so?" she asked, suddenly happy despite herself. "I've been working on the recipe for ages. I use a secret ingredient I can't tell anyone about. And the brown sugar has to have just the right amount of molasses."
"Is that all there is?" He waved at the two trays of cinnamon rolls. "Or are there more in the oven?" "That's two dozen cinnamon rolls! It took me all afternoon." She suddenly remembered that it was 7:00 p.m. and she'd been at the bakery since early morning.
"I'll take the lot." He picked up a tray. "Do you have any boxes? I can't have them getting ruined in the rain."
"Put that down!" she said hotly. "You can't just waltz in here and help yourself to what's on the counter."
"I wasn't going to help myself, I was going to pay you." He reached into his pocket and took out a wallet. "How much are they?" "They're not for sale." She shook her head.
"Of course they're for sale," he countered. "This is a bakery. You didn't make twenty-four cinnamon rolls to eat before bed."
"They're not for sale now. They're for the morning," she clarified. "They're our most popular item the week before Christmas. People love them with a cup of coffee or hot chocolate."
"I need them now." He riffled through his wallet. "Will one hundred dollars be enough? I can't imagine you charge more than six dollars a cinnamon roll even if this is the East Village."
"One hundred dollars for twenty-four cinnamon rolls!" Louisa gasped.
Ellie had asked Louisa what they should charge and Louisa suggested three dollars apiece. She was terrible at pricing her own desserts. It was a tug-of-war between being grateful people liked them enough to pay for them and wanting Ellie to make a profit. "I'm sorry, you can't have them. I'm not the owner and I'm not allowed to sell the products after hours. I'd be happy to hold them for you when we open tomorrow morning, if you'd like to come back then."
"Two hundred dollars, then." He handed her two hundred-dollar bills. "And an extra fifty if you find me a box."
"That's very generous, but then I wouldn't have any left for the morning rush hour," she explained. "We have to sell cinnamon rolls the week before Christmas. It's our most requested item."
"You have other pastries. They can buy Danish or croissants," he suggested.
"Any other time of the year perhaps, but not now." She shook her head. "People allow an extra fifteen minutes to get to work just so they can pick up a cinnamon roll. It's the high point of their day."
"Have you heard of the cooking show Baking with Bianca?" he asked. "We're filming a Christmas special in a brownstone nearby and there was a small fire in the kitchen. The snowball cupcakes look like they were roasted over a campfire and the fig crumble bars are burnt to a crisp. There isn't time to bake anything else and the other bakeries are closed. I need something for Bianca to hold in front of the camera."
"It's the most watched cooking show in New York." She nodded. "At first I was a little put off by Bianca's lipstick. How could you taste your own desserts without getting bright-red lipstick all over the spoon? But I've tried some of the recipes and the steamed gingerbread pudding is delicious."
"Bianca wears waterproof lipstick, it wouldn't come off during a monsoon," he murmured.
Louisa noticed that the man's eyes were blue and there was an ink smudge on his cheek. His cheeks were smooth and when he smiled crinkles formed around his mouth.
"I'm sorry, they're not mine to sell," she insisted. "Ellie, the owner, is at The Nutcracker with her daughter, Chloe, and I can't interrupt her. You can try again tomorrow."
"I've got a stylist and a lighting guy and a camera operator who will report this to the union if we go a minute overtime," he pleaded. "And think of the viewers. They're going to tune in to learn how to bake something special for Santa Claus or bring the perfect Christmas gift to Aunt Mary in the hospital and be disappointed."
Christmas was Louisa's favorite time of year because people were so nice to each other. All month the spirit of doing the right thing was intoxicating. People jostled to give up their seat on the subway and when she walked down Fifth Avenue she heard the sound of coins dropping into Salvation Army cans. She wanted to help him, and in exchange Bianca could mention the bakery on the show. It would be wonderful publicity and Ellie would be thrilled.
"I have an idea," she suggested. "What if Bianca says on air that the bakery is one of her favorite spots in Manhattan? Ellie would get free publicity and you would get your cinnamon rolls." She paused. "I will have to come in early and make more, but I don't mind. I'll do anything to help the bakery succeed."
"You're a lifesaver," he said and kissed her on the cheek. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to do that but you've made me so happy." He stepped back and grinned. "My job is to make everything on the set run smoothly and Bianca was roaming around like a lion with an injured paw. Even our producer, Kate, couldn't placate her. Kate is usually as soothing as a warm brandy before bed."
"That sounds perfect right about now," she said with a sigh. "I arrived so early this morning the homeless man was still asleep. Every evening I give him a stack of blankets and every morning when he wakes up he returns them."
"You give a homeless man blankets?" He stopped. "Doesn't that encourage him to hang around? I'm sure your customers don't want to see him when they're ordering their morning cappuccino."
"No one sees him, he sleeps in the covered alley in the back. Even Ellie doesn't know he comes," she said. "The shelters are so crowded, sometimes it's hard to get a blanket at all. I give him a cup of leftover coffee and blankets I keep in the storeroom." She paused. "No one knows, please don't say anything."
"My lips are sealed. I have to go, or I'll be fired and looking for a handout." He picked up the trays. "I'm Noah, it's a pleasure doing business with you."
"I'm Louisa." She nodded. "I hope it all works out."
He walked to the door and turned around. "You've saved my job, I don't know how to thank you."
Louisa watched Noah cross the street and thought she shouldn't have said yes. Now she'd have to be back at the bakery at 5:00 a.m. Her shoes would barely have time to dry and she wouldn't be able to wash her hair before work. But it was too late now. The cinnamon rolls were gone and she had to get home before the soft rain became a downpour.
She closed the front door and studied the white Christmas tree decorated with gumdrops and peppermints in the bakery window. The red sign still flashed OPEN and she laughed. She unlocked the door and unplugged it. Then she covered her head with her hands and hurried down the street.
Louisa poured a cup of coffee from the bakery's silver coffeepot and added cream and sugar. She took a sip and stared at the cup blankly. She had been there so long she couldn't remember how many cups she'd already consumed.
There was the shot of espresso she gulped down when she arrived. The stone floor was freezing under her moccasins and the coffeepot took too long to heat up. She made an espresso in the espresso machine and drank it while she assembled brown sugar and cinnamon.
Then there had been the cup of coffee with a splash of vanilla she sipped after she handed the cinnamon rolls to Danielle, who worked the bakery's counter. That was the best cup of the day. It was fresh and hot, and she could savor it slowly.
But then Danielle needed a tray of pecan crescent cookies and Louisa groaned and returned to work. Now it was early afternoon, and the coffee was so stale it needed a large dose of cream and two packets of sugar just to swallow it.
The kitchen door opened and Louisa looked up. Noah wore a long wool coat and blue jeans.
"Not you again!" she exclaimed. "Because of you I woke up so early, I banged my foot on the radiator in the dark. I had to hobble six blocks and when I arrived the bakery was like the inside of an igloo. I made two trays of cinnamon rolls and three cranberry logs and a persimmon pudding. If you have any designs on my pecan crescent cookies, you better think again. They're for the evening rush, and I'm not going to make more."
"They look excellent but I'm not hungry." Noah glanced at the tray. "And I'm sorry you hurt your foot. I'm in a bit of trouble and need your help."
"I'm a firm believer in helping others, especially at Christmas." She poured the coffee in the sink. "But everyone has their limits. I was about to drink coffee that is so stiff you could put it behind a frame and hang it on the wall. I'm afraid this time you'll have to solve your own problems."
"The cinnamon rolls were a huge hit. The crew fought over who took them home and the producer, Kate, said they were the best she ever tasted," he began. "Kate is very particular, she's worked with Anthony Bourdain."
"Anthony Bourdain!" Louisa's eyes were wide. "Did she really say they were good?"
"Her exact words were 'they are so rich and flaky they should be served at afternoon tea at the Waldorf.'" He paused. "Are you happy?" "Very happy." Louisa imagined getting a plug on national television for her restaurant when it opened. Then she studied Noah suspiciously. "But I'm exhausted. If you need more cinnamon rolls you'll have to wait until tomorrow. As soon as I finish these crescent cookies I'm going home."
"The only person who didn't react favorably to the cinnamon rolls was Bianca." He lifted the lid of the coffeepot and inhaled. "She took a few bites to show the camera how delicious they were and an hour later her lips blew up like a blowfish. Whatever you used, she was allergic."
"It must have been the nutmeg, that's my secret ingredient!" she gasped. "Some people are allergic. I should have told you. I'm sorry, it's my fault."
"Unfortunately she has an extreme case," he finished. "Her doctor said she'd look like that for a week."
"I feel terrible. Should I send an apology note or a fruit basket?" She stopped. "But why do you need my help? I'm the last person Bianca wants to see."
"Tonight the whole crew is flying to London to prepare to film Christmas Dinner at Claridge's. Top chefs from around the world are going to prepare Christmas Eve dinner at one of the most famous hotel restaurants." His eyes darkened. "Bianca was supposed to bake her layered fruitcake with crème fraîche frosting. Except now she's going to be lying in a dark room watching Scandal and drinking milkshakes with a straw."
Louisa's cheeks paled and a shiver ran down her spine. "Oh, I see," she breathed. "That does create a problem."
He glanced at the clock above the oven. "In four hours and thirty-six minutes I have to be at the British Airways lounge at JFK. Before I hand over my boarding pass and receive my complimentary glass of champagne, you're going to help me find Bianca's replacement."
"How would I do that?" Louisa demanded. "I'm a twenty-seven-year-old pastry chef at a bakery on the Lower East Side. I don't know any famous chefs and I've never been invited to a restaurant opening." She turned back to the crescent cookies. "I'm happy to write an apology, but I can't find a replacement."
"You don't understand," he urged. "I'm the one who brought the cinnamon rolls to the set. If I don't show up with Bianca's replacement, I'll be fired."
"Aren't you overreacting?" she offered. "You didn't mean to make Bianca's lips blow up like a blowfish. She must have insurance for these situations."
"Insurance doesn't cover the press releases that have been sent out, and the promotional ads that have been filmed, and the fact that working alongside those chefs will be a huge boost for Bianca's career," he spluttered. "Someone has to take the blame, that's how television works. It will be my head rolling around the network floor like a cabbage at Trader Joe's."
Excerpted from "Christmas in London"
Copyright © 2017 Anita Hughes.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Thank you to Net Galley for an ARC of this book. I've read a few Anita Hughes books and I must say this is her typical writing style. I find her books, and this one included , as very predictable and fluffy. That being said this was an entertaining holiday book. If you are looking for an easy, quick holiday read I would recommend this book. I will continue to follow and read Anita Hughes" books as sometimes I just need some escapism!
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings For me with Anita Hughes books, there is no in between, I either love them or completely dislike them. This one just didn't work for me. There were two female leads - Louisa and Kate. Louisa, I just couldn't understand nor like. Kate was fine, but wasn't enough to overcome my dislike of Louisa. Louisa is plucked out of obscurity when she is working late in a bakery in New York. She is asked to fill in for a famous chef and fly to London to film a show. Kate is a producer on that show and needs this show to go well to ensure her job. But she will run into her past in London and will have to make some decisions.
Ugh! I requested this book for the cover and a little something to get me into the Christmas mood. I read the whole book and still not sure why. A story of two women, one a pastry chef, Louisa, and one a television producer, Kate. Louisa was a huge dingbat with big ambitions. Kate wasn't as bad. I guess Kate kept me reading. They both had two men after them. Stupid men. Why either of the ladies would bother with them, I have no idea. I guess the biggest part of the enjoyment I somewhat felt was Googling the images of the places that they visited in London. That really added to my reading pleasure. A dingbat, a lost woman and 4 stupid men. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
If you like to read about magical places, delicious food, love and the most wonderful time of the year, this book will not disappoint!
Christmas is here during the summer! I enjoyed everything about this book, except that samples of the food were not included (or even sniff samples)! The story flowed easily and once I began reading, I didn't want to put the book down. You can feel the chemistry between Louisa and Noah, as well as Kate and Trevor. You wish for happy endings all around. A delightful, poolside Christmas read that has me in the holiday spirit!
This is my first Christmas book on 2017. I read it when it was 80 degrees out and could not put it down. Anita Hughes is already on my must-read list so I knew when I saw this was available I could not wait until it was more Christmas like to read it. I love the idea that normal, no-body baker from a little bakery in Manhattan can be discovered and given the chance of a lifetime to make her dreams come true. Louisa shows how wise she is to take this chance and make the most of it. An all expense trip to London, the chance to show her baking skills on a national TV show alongside well know bakers, and being able to sight see all the must visit tourist spots is not an opportunity many would pass up on. I loved that Louisa knew what she wanted (a famous restaurant) and knew that she had to do everything she could to make that happen. Nothing, not even love, would get in her way. Luckily she had wise friends who would help her find her way. The other story, Kate’s story, was fun. The idea that her best friend from high school just happens to be in the same town at the same time and they run into each other just proves how small the world is. I liked that they were able to confront their history, fix some miscommunications, and find their friendship again all while knowing that they would be separated again soon. Anita Hughes took London and brought it to life for me. I am not a traveler and have never been to London but I enjoyed taking a tour of the city through Anita’s words and Louisa’s eyes. The reader visits the well known sights as well as those that are less known allowing them to get a peek into life in London. This is the perfect holiday, winter time story. I am excited to tell my friends that I found the perfect winter read. Thank you Ann-Marie at GetRedPR and Brittani Hilles at St. Martin’s Press for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Louisa is a talented pastry chef working long hours in a New York bakery. She loves creating delicious goodies including making pastries from other countries. One night, a man named Noah comes into the baking pleading with Louisa to allow him to buy the cinnamon rolls she had just made for the next morning. He needs them for a cooking show that is being filmed this evening. Everyone on the set is impressed and loves the cinnamon rolls. But one key person on the set is allergic to the nutmeg and has a reaction that causes her lips to swell. Now, Noah is asking Louisa to be the replacement for this person in London where they will film Christmas Dinner at Claridge’s. World-wide top chefs will be there preparing Christmas Eve dinner at the famous restaurant. Upon arrival in London, Louisa is given a lovely suite at the hotel and beautiful clothes to wear. Oh, but she just wants so much to see the sights and taste the local food. Noah has a tight schedule for Louisa and she will also be working with Kate who is Noah’s boss and the producer of the cooking show. Kate attended university at St. Andrews some years ago with Trevor Skylar. Now, he is married to a wealthy woman who is related to the Queen. Kate and Trevor were very close back then. Now, Trevor and his wife are separated. As Kate and Trevor see more of one another while in London, they reminisce about the fun times they had and remember that they were at one time very much in love. The story follows the days leading up to Christmas with lots of descriptions of the beautiful places in London and the delicious food. We see Kate and Trevor attend a cocktail party at Kensington Palace and Louisa hobnobbing with famous chefs. Oh, but love is never far behind. I enjoyed this book very much and the descriptions of everything made me drool to be right there along with the characters. Anita Hughes writes beautifully and I love her books. Copy provided by NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Noah is in a bind. His star on his cooking show has had an allergic reaction and cannot get to London to film. He manages to capture Louisa (in more ways than one). She agrees to be an understudy and Noah whisks her off to London, at Christmas course. Kate is the producer of the show. While she is in London she runs into more than one old flame! Right off the bat, you need to be warned! DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT READ THIS IF YOU ARE ON A DIET! The food in the book is mouthwatering! There are two storylines in the read, Noah and Louisa and Kate and Trevor. Noah and Louisa are just learning about each other and everything is fresh and new. Kate and Trevor have been here before. There have been some past hurts which they need to overcome. I just love the characters in their story. Trevor is my favorite. He is a smart, charming introvert! He and Kate have a lot to work through. Noah is also a super sweet guy. He just needs to be a little more confident. He gets there in the end. The setting is so freaking amazing!! The sights and sounds of London peel through this book. I LOVED reading about London at Christmas. I do not know why, but I have never even considered London at Christmas. But now it is on my BUCKET LIST. Oh and the awesome pastries and the smells of famous recipes…oh MY!! I think I gained 10 pounds just reading this book! This is A charming and enchanting read! It is the perfect book to get you into the Christmas spirit. (In October no less!) I received this novel from the publisher and Netgalley for a honest review.
I love armchair traveling especially at Christmastime (in the story. It's October in real life). I have been lucky enough to see London at Christmastime in real life. It's been years but I can see it like it was yesterday. The first main character you met, Louisa Graham, is a baker. Reading about her concoctions made me so hungry I actually made brownies (from a box...she'd probably be ashamed that they weren't from scratch). I'm not always the biggest fan of dual stories but I really liked Kate, the producer of the TV show that brings Louisa to London to bake for the annual Christmas Eve Dinner TV special at Claridge's. Thanks to the dual main characters you have story lines for two types of romantics...fans of second chances and fans of new love. But as everyone knows there's no guarantee that you'll get a happily ever after. "I received an advance review copy of this book from the Great Thought's Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own."
What a beautiful love story!!! A beautiful setting, London at Christmas time!!! Louisa is a baker and a tv show ruins their cinnamon rolls and their producer comes into Louisa's bakery to buy some to replace theirs. The star of the show ends up allergic to Louisa's rolls and the tv show asks Louisa to come to London to replace the host! Of course she says yes, who wouldn't! There in London, Louisa meets Digby Bunting her idol but he likes her a lot more than her food! I loved the food descriptions, you could almost smell what was being cooked! I also loved the descriptions of London it felt like you were there. This is a beautiful love story set in a magical place! I received an advance review copy of this book from the Great Thought's Ninja Review Team. All opinions are my own.Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Griffin for an ARC in return for an honest review.
Christmas in London is a memorable story about Louisa, a pastry chef from New York City, who is asked to fill in for a celebrity chef on a television cooking show being filmed in London. Louisa's dream is to open her own restaurant and knows the publicity she gets from being on the show will help the bakery she currently works at and her new restaurant when she opens it. So, she reluctantly agrees to go to London to film the show. While in London, Louisa meets other well knows chefs including one who she idolizes, Digby Bunting. But in the end, he isn't what she expected. Noah, who is in charge of Louisa during the filming, tries to warn Louisa about Digby's reputation with women, but Louisa doesn't listen and finds herself in a sticky situation. Noah is starting to have feelings for Louisa and just wants to keep her safe. They both believe there isn't room in their lives for love. But, they soon realize they were headed towards love since the day they met. In this book, there is also the story of Kate, the show producer, and her college love Trevor. They haven't seen each other since college after a misunderstanding that caused them to split up. It was nice to learn how they reconciled. As the story plays out, it is easy to visualize the sights and sounds of London and imagine eating the incredible food. This book is a wonderful holiday tale not to be missed.
MY REVIEW OF “CHRISTMAS IN LONDON” by Anita Hughes Christmas in August? It is the end of August and I have just finished reading “Christmas in London” by Anita Hughes. Kudos to Anita Hughes for bringing the nostalgia and joyous feeling that accompanies Christmas. The author’s descriptions of the food, the Christmas trees, the presents, the partying, the snow gently falling down, creates the wonderful images of a Christmas season. Even better, the setting starts in New York and travels to the descriptive destination and sites of London. Anita Hughes takes us on a tour of the museums, stores, little shops, restaurants, cafes, and even Buckingham Palace. The genres for this novel are Fiction, Women’s Fiction and Romance. What better place for a romantic background than London? The author describes her characters as complicated, complex and confused. It was the week before Christmas and Louisa Graham is working in a bakery in Manhattan. It is a very busy time of the year, and Louis, a trained chef, is working long hours with her goal to open her own restaurant that specializes in her fabulous desserts and baking. As she is closing the bakery for the night, a man comes running in and pays extra for her cinnamon rolls, that she has just pulled out of the oven. Noah is a Cooking Show Assistant and has been looking for a bakery that is open to buy a replacement for the rolls that burned on the show. The cinnamon rolls are a huge success on the show. The star of the show got an allergic reaction , and Noah offers Louisa the opportunity to take the star’s place for a week in London, where they will be filming the show. This is a great opportunity for Louisa to go to London and work with famous chefs. The producer of the cooking show is beautiful and capable Kate, who arranges for Noah to transform Louisa into a “star” for the week. Kate’s goal is that the show must go on, and everything has to be perfect. Noah has a goal to be an attorney and works long hours as an assistant for the cooking show to be able to afford law school. Kate also works long hours and has very little time for a social life. As Kate is arranging details for the filming of the show, she runs into someone special from her past. The author discusses the importance of working towards the right goals, friendship, forgiveness, trust, love and hope. This was a delightful and charming story and I would highly recommend this for readers of Women’s Fiction and Romance Genres. I received this Advanced Reading Copy from The Great Thoughts Ninja Review Team for my honest review.