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A Festive Surprise (Scottish Island Escapes #10) by Margaret Amatt

A Festive Surprise


She can’t abide Christmas. He’s not sure what it’s all about. Together they’re in for a festive surprise.

Ambitious software developer Holly may have a festive name but the connection ends there. She despises the holiday season and decides to flee to the remote island of Mull in a bid to escape from it.

Syrian refugee Farid has made a new home in Scotland but he’s lonely. Understanding Nessie and Irn Bru is one thing, but when glittery reindeer and tinsel hit the shelves, he’s completely bemused. Determined to understand a new culture, he asks his new neighbour to educate him on all things Christmas.

When Holly reluctantly agrees, he realises there’s more to her hatred of mince pies and mulled wine than meets the eye. Farid makes it his mission to inject some joy into Hollys’ life but falling for her is an unexpected gift that was never on his list.

As their attraction sparkles, can Christmas work its magic on Holly and Farid, or will their spark fizzle out by the end of December?


What a lovely holiday story bringing two opposites together by the magic of Christmas.

Farid is a Syrian refugee trying to grasp the meaning of Christmas in Scotland when he meets the independent and outgoing Holly who hates the very thought of the holiday. Can they teach each other the true meaning of home and Christmas?

This is my first Margaret Amatt book and even though it is number 10 in a series, it reads well as a standalone. I admit I’m a sucker for holiday love stories and Amatt does an excellent job explaining the many variances of Christmas to someone who is new to the season. Watching the kind and lonely Farid embrace the many traditions of Christmas is so heartwarming as he slowly convinces Holly to share everything with him. Farid’s background is so tragic as he is tortured for his outspoken beliefs in his country, is pulled apart from his family, and tries to start over in a new country. His loneliness is overwhelming as he dreams about being with his family again and this reader hoped he could find his happiness. Is Holly the ideal woman for him? I didn’t think so at first. She seemed too abrasive and overwhelming with her sexual innuendos and one-track mind toward Farid. I thought Farid deserved more than someone who wanted in his pants. Holly’s hatred of anything Christmas is palpable and when the reader finds out why it is very sad, but a little extreme for one to change their life so drastically. As she said to Farid, it is small and insignificant compared to his life journey. Holly does come around eventually, I mean how can you say no to Farid who has a beautiful way with words and a heart of gold?

Again, it’s delightful experiencing the meaning of Christmas with the love of home, family, and friends. Who doesn’t enjoy caroling, decorating, and eating Christmas Cake? The characters are charming and the location is gorgeous. 

Thank you to Ms. Amatt for giving me the opportunity to read this book with no expectation of a positive review.


A Festive Surprise

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Margaret AmattMargaret is a writer, mummy, wife and chocolate eater (in any order you care to choose). She lives in highland Perthshire in a little house close to the woods where she often sees red squirrels, deer and other such tremendously Scottish wildlife… Though not normally haggises or even men in kilts!

She has published nine books and written many more. Margaret won a short story writing competition in 2012 and her winning entry was performed live to an audience at Pitlochry Festival Theatre as part of their Winter Words Event. This spring boarded Margaret’s journey from writing for fun to novel writing – though she still enjoys every minute of it.

Margaret is also a keen amateur photographer, who enjoys drawing, reading, and talking about books.

Follow Margaret on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and website.


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