Humbugs and Heartstrings is a well-written story filled with fun, vibrant and entertaining characters and it had me laughing from the get go. Ferguson gives us a page-turning Christmas story that in between all the laughing, will make you think about what’s truly important in life; friendships and relationships with people that matter to you. There’s nothing more beautiful in this world than human relationships and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the different relationships in this novel.
Humbugs & Heartstrings by Catherine Ferguson
Publication Date: October 2, 2014 by Maze
Kindle: 329 pages, £0.99
What’s the Story?
This is a tale about love and friendships, complete with a sprinkling of Christmas magic. Perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan and Lucy Diamond.
Two ex-friends. One Christmas to remember …
Bobbie’s boss Carol is a real misery-guts, dedicated to making the lives of everyone around her unhappy in pursuit of every last penny. What makes it worse is that the two women have history: once they were best friends.
When handsome hotelier Charlie steps into the frame the two women go to battle as one sees a romantic future ahead and the other a possible lifeboat for her business. With wonderful warmth and humour, and the odd mince pie fight, the women are forced to confront their shared past, the turbulent present and, most importantly, the potential of the future.
Bobbie, a 29-year-old gal that’s a bit of a pushover, somehow got herself into a less than savory situation working for her ex-best friend Carol. The Boss -as her employees refer to her- is the most frugal and stingy businesswoman that ever walked the planet. She makes Bobbie’s life miserable but Bobbie feels like she can’t stand up to her because then she’d be out a job and moving back home with her mother and young brother. In many ways Bobbie is afraid of life and letting people in and thus leads a somewhat boring life; she never experiments with color, dresses in shapeless, boring clothing that do nothing to show off her youth and doesn’t ever stand up for herself when people push her around. Ferguson gives us a page-turning Christmas story that in between all the laughing, will make you think about what’s truly important in life; friendships and relationships with people that matter to you.
There are quite a few lessons learned throughout the novel and one that struck me the most is how toxic the topic of money can be when it comes to friendships, relationships and work ethic. Whether you don’t have enough of it, you have more of it than you know what to do with, or you’ve always had money because of your parents, money can cause people quite a bit of unnecessary stress. It’s always easy to assume that having a vast amount of money at your disposal instantly makes your life happy and easy, but that’s not always the case. Money can only be the solution to so many problems and most issues have to be solved through communication and compassion for one another. It’s important to ask questions and understand where someone is coming from before you judge them and assume you know what their life is like.
It’s inspiring to see that underneath it all and despite what they’ve been through, people are mostly good inside with good intentions. You have to step out of your fears and comfort zone and work for the things you want in life. Sometimes you have to accept that it’s a process and things aren’t always perfect. You have to let people in, even at the worst of times, in order to let relationships grow and let the people in your life see that they’re important and needed. There’s nothing more beautiful in this world than human relationships and I thoroughly enjoyed all of the different relationships in this novel.
I loved the friendships and romantic relationships that develop throughout the novel and would love to see a few more novels spring from these characters. I’d love to see a book about the romantic relationship that brews for Bobbie’s friend Shona, a book about Carol and where she goes from here or even a book about Ella and her escapades. Ferguson penned wonderful characters and I enjoyed reading about the journey that they go on to get where they end up at the end of the novel. I won’t give away any spoilers but I can tell you that I adored this novel and highly suggest you get yourself a copy.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Thank you to NetGalley and Maze publisher for providing me with A Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.
A quick note for my US viewers, I didn’t realize when I requested this book through NetGalley that it’s a UK novel and not available in the US, but I believe you might be able to order it online through the UK’s amazon site rather than the US’s.
About the Author
About the author found on Amazon profile:
Catherine Ferguson burst onto the writing scene at the age of nine, anonymously penning a weekly magazine for her five-year-old brother (mysteriously titled the ‘Willy’ comic) and fooling him completely by posting it through the letterbox every Thursday.
Catherine’s continuing love of writing saw her study English at Dundee University and spend her twenties writing for various teenage magazines including Jackie and Blue Jeans and meeting pop stars. Then she got serious and worked as a sub-editor at the Dundee Courier and the Aberdeen Press & Journal before moving to Surrey and setting up her own business, Surrey Organics, delivering fresh organic fruit and veg to people’s homes. (She based her very first attempt at a novel on these veggie experiences but sadly, it is still in a drawer!)
Catherine’s first novel HUMBUGS AND HEARTSTRINGS is very loosely based on Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL and is a clever, modern tale about the price of friendship, the cost of enmity, and the value of love. It was the launch title for Avon’s brand new imprint, Maze, and was published in October 2014.
She lives with her son in Northumberland.