Published: 13/12/2015 11:46 - Updated: 13/12/2015 11:50

REVIEW: A Gift for You


Comfort reading
Comfort reading

by Patricia Scanlan

Simon & Schuster

£14.99 (hardback)

Bestselling author Patricia Scanlan looks to corner the feel-good market with a collection of short stories that celebrate life’s special occasions.

Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, birthdays…

Plenty of scope there.

The blurb puts the reader at the heart of the matter. Writes Scanlan: “This book is for someone very special: you! For maximum enjoyment make an occasion of it. It is to be read snug beside the fire, under the duvet on a wintery rainy day or in the garden or on a sunny beach on holidays.”

Now while that might sound ever so slightly syrupy, there are a few twists and turns and some dark moments too to maintain a pleasing balance. Take True Colours, which falls into the “Difficult Days” section of the collection. Opening line: “I’d better tell you straight away before we go any further – I think I murdered my husband.”

The general feel of the collection though is better represented in the title story, A Gift For You, which centres on Magdelena as she prepares for the birth of her first child, knowing her family are in another country. Does her husband have a special surprise in store for her for Christmas?

We meet fairweather friends who need to be ditched and wily grandmothers who have a thing or two to teach the next generation.

Unashamed escapism and stories that centre around issues that almost everyone can relate to, Scanlan makes no pretensions towards great literature. She’s found her niche and exploits it well – as an endless string of bestsellers testifies.

This is comfort reading – throw in a mug of hot chocolate and a packet of biscuits and you’ve got the complete package. Go on – indulge yourself!

Hector Mackenzie

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