2020 Book Reviews

The Unwrapping of Theodora Quirke by Caroline Smailes

The Unwrapping of Theodora Quirke by [Caroline Smailes]

Hey guys, I cannot wait to tell you all about this book. It is not very often that a book this special comes into your life! I read this book TWICE, no seriously, as soon as I finished it I just was not prepared to say goodbye and so I read it again. I then carried around with me for two weeks, I couldn’t bare to be parted from it.

This is your typical Christmas book but it also isn’t your typical Christmas book either! I know that sounds confusing but I will explain… Christmas is a time of hope, love, families, friendship, giving and joy but it is also a time of sadness, loneliness and a chance for new beginnings. Which is exactly what St Nicholas is about to do for Theodora.

You see, St Nicholas isn’t the jolly fat guy that you know and so rightly love. He doesn’t even sneak into your homes on Christmas Eve to deliver gifts underneath the Christmas tree. No, St Nick is the real ‘Santa’, the guy before the stories and Chinese whispers that turned him into Jolly old Father Christmas, the guy who helps those living despair to learn to love their life and actually live, rather than just survive. Also most importantly he is not clean cut and well spoken, in fact he is quite the slob who tells it exactly how it is. Something that Theo is disgusted by, which I think old St Nick quite enjoys. I think he totally played up to it and the more disgusted Theo was the more disgusting he acted. (Which I LOVED by the way)

Theo is surviving through life, existing rather than living. You see, she lost the absolute love of her life. Her best friend and the only person in the world who understood and loved her. No one else really got Theo, but he did. But now Gabe is gone and Theo is grieving. This is when St Nick decides it is time to turn up and show Theo that she must live and stop grieving, because that is not what Gabe would have wanted. In order to show Theo she must move on and that it is OKAY to move on, St Nick travels through time with Theo in order to allow her to relive moments of her life. Moments that will explain that she was truly loved by her mum and not just abandoned. But also moments that will hurt, by giving her a chance to be with Gabe when he died, so he wasn’t alone.

He does all of this whilst wearing insane clothes that are dirty and also belching and swearing. But all of that just makes Theo like him even more!

Alongside Theo’s story, we have the story of Dottie Smith. Who years ago was ‘saved’ by St Nick and tells her story through Facebook and a secret group she founded, in order to find others that were visited and saved by St Nick. They want to connect with others and hear the stories of the good he has done and also hope they can track his movements through history.

This meant we had two stories being told as one, the back and fourth between the two, all about St Nick, was done so brilliantly. I was forever wanting to get back to each part and discover what was going to happen next.

I LOVED Theo, I wanted to wrap her in my arms and tell her she wasn’t alone. That she was loved. Because losing her mum and Gabe, made her loose sense of who she was and that she mattered. Theo was so wrapped up in her grief she didn’t open her eyes to everything that was around her. Dottie was very likable too, my heart BROKE into pieces when I found out why St Nick paid her a visit. All her life choices came back to that moment in her life and I just wanted her to be okay. St Nick was bloody brilliant, I equally found myself repulsed by him and a little in love with him. How can you not love him… this is a guy that helped people find their way in life again.

Caroline’s writing is special, it grabs a hold of you and seeps into your skin. You don’t just read her words you live them, you grieve with her characters and cry with them, you feel that devastating loss when Theo is forced to relive Gabe’s passing and by living through these moments with her, you want nothing but everything to work out okay for her and for her to be able to move on and live her life, not to let grief take over, but to be able to live along side it and let it only visit occasionally. But more than that you want to have her understand that her life is in her hands, no matter how shitty things seem, she has the strength to push through all of that and be happy.

But alongside all the sadness, Caroline manages to write with genuine humor and warmth. They are entwined within the story perfectly, never forced upon you. It is very natural and the sign of someone who has mastered her craft and knows how to deliver an absolute belter of a story.

I loved this book with my entire heart and it is one I will be rereading again and again. The Unwrapping Of Theodora Quirke is the perfect Christmas book, it will have you crying with devastation but also with sheer happiness, but ultimately leaving you warm and fuzzy.

Enthralling, impossible to put down and a story you will never forget. The Unwrapping Of Theodora Quirke is out NOW and I implore you all to go put on your best Chritmas Jumper, get a hot chocolate and settle down to a Northern, sweary, christmas miracle!

3 thoughts on “The Unwrapping of Theodora Quirke by Caroline Smailes

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