Cover Image: One Christmas Star

One Christmas Star

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Member Reviews

This was a really cute, perfect for Christmastime read. The plot was slightly predictable, but overall I really enjoyed this and would recommend it!
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Nothing has ever been quite right for Emily since her boyfriend Simon was killed by a drunk driver crossing the street. With her parents unavailable at the best of times, and judgmental all of it, they can’t understand her penchant for vintage fashion or why she would give up the lucrative life as a solicitor and join their firm. Tired of the trappings of “do gooding” without actually doing good, Emily has felt like a disappointment for her entire life, and even her tiny rebellion with her best friend, gay, black and from the housing estates, also has come under fire. Now teaching 6th form in one of the more impoverished schools in the area, she’s constantly feeling as if she’s being judged: helping the particularly trod-on students, never quite feeling as if she’s ‘good enough’ to apply for the assistant Head position, and generally turning herself inside out to do the best for the kids every day, only to return to an empty flat, close to out-of-date ready meals and her bursting at the seams closet full of vintage fashions never yet worn. 

One early morning – there is a disturbance in the school shed, and out rolls a very handsome and more than slightly hungover rock star by the name of Ray Stone, gingerly clutching a hedgehog with a broken leg.  Both the man and the hedgehog are like catnip to the students – so after a particularly spiny first encounter – Ray and the hedgehog are admitted into the classroom and the RSPCA is called to treat said hedgehog – instantly named by the students (Olivia Colman) and Ray is summarily stuffed into the supplies cupboard when the Headmistress arrives.  Of course this is to enforce her ‘rules’ and question the hedgehog’s appearance, while the issue of Ray is quietly and hastily dealt with. Fast forward a couple of days and Emily’s innate goodness and helpfulness, along with a steady dose of no judgments, has her slated to create the school’s “Christmas Extravaganza to be all new and spectacular – as the extra funding for the school is in jeopardy. With singer/songwriter Ray now staying in her flat as his situation went from fame to toilet with ‘revelations’ from his ex – she’s got someone who can help – and all she has to do is ask. 

From here – we see both Emily and Ray dance about the attraction sparking between them, opening up, yet guardint their deepest, darkest secrets. And Baggot reveals those with a gentle hand – letting Emily’s grief for the loss of Simon and her worries about, well, everything balance the more shocking and (he thinks) shameful abuse that Ray suffered at the hands of his ex.  With a new issue / secret that Ray has kept from everyone, opening up and sharing with one another, and then trusting in their friends and families to understand them better, when you add in the kids (10 year olds are particularly observant and unique) the stress involved in writing the show, and Emily’s desire to get her kids to stick to their own ideas of who and what they should be, disregarding their often difficult starts and struggles: the story is full of heart and hope – and done in a way that allows readers to see Emily and Ray as people, involved, complete and full of little issues and quirks that define their strength and show their true hearts in ways that make the story (and the holiday) ring true for everyone. 

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

Review first appeared at   I am, Indeed 
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One Christmas Star took me a little while to get into but it is a good read with romance, humour and Christmas magic.
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I love Mandy Baggot and her books always make me smile. Unfortunately I found this one a bit lacklustre and just far too predictable. Some really sweet moments but these just didn’t outweigh the rest of the book. Maybe I just prefer the author’s books set in the sunshine rather than the wintry setting!
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I absolutely ADORED this book! It is fun, festive and fabulous! The perfect read to accompany some mulled wine to provide light relief and romance during the festive season!
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This week our American cousins celebrate Thanksgiving and with the accompanying Black Friday shopping spree thus begins the official start of the Christmas season. And so dear friends it would be utterly remiss of me if I didn’t have the perfect Christmas book for your enjoyment. Ignore the queues in the shops, put your feet up and enjoy this seasonal delight.

Think Richard Curtis-style London based festive story, add in a few hedgehogs, cross that with a disgraced singer songwriter and soon you’ll be singing along to an extremely unlikely Christmassy version of Shallow!

Emily Parker isn’t looking forward to Christmas. Her flatmate – and personal chef! – has just moved in with his boyfriend and Emily is left on her own. Life as a teacher for year six students is hugely rewarding but budget cuts at the school see Emily funding personally a lot of the things that she wants to do with them herself and getting emotionally involved with her charges.

Ray Stone can’t really get much lower. His ex-girlfriend has branded him as as an abuser and every paper and television show carries the lurid details of his alleged domestic abuse. To top that off he is struggling to progress his next album for the record company. They think he’s stringing them along and are reluctant to pay an advance on the album. In reality Ray is having real problems with his vocal chords and really needs an operation to fix it before he can sing again.

When Emily’s schoolchildren find a hungover and homeless looking Ray sleeping in the school shed they immediately realise who he is and it is only his efforts to save a hedgehog with a broken leg that begins to win them over.

One Christmas Star is a tinsel bedecked Christmassy delight. I defy you not to unpack the fairy lights and pop on your favourite seasonal music while you curl up and read this book. I fully expect it to hit our screens at some point as its too joyous not to share.

Supplied by Net Galley and Aria in exchange for an honest review.

UK Publication Date: Nov 14 2019. 464 pages.
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Emily Parker is set to have the worst Christmas ever! Her flatmate's moved out, she's closed her heart to love and she's been put in charge of the school original Christmas show – with zero musical ability. Disgraced superstar, Ray Stone is in desperate need of a quick PR turnaround. Waking up from a drunken stupor to a class of ten-year-olds snapping pics and Emily looking at him was not what he had in mind. Ray needs Emily's help to delete the photos, and she needs his with the show. As they learn to work together they may just open their hearts to more than a second chance.
This was a really cute story that I hadn’t expected to like so much. I really liked the Emily as well as her interactions with Ray. I flew through the story. I recommend.
**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book
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Thank you Netgalley and Aria for the free review copy in exchange for my honest opinion. This was a really cute holiday read. It took a little while for me to get into and was a little slow for me at first, but I really enjoyed it  once I got into it. 
Emily and Ray were both very easy to relate to and very likable characters. 
Ray is a down on his luck singer whose ex-girlfriend is falsely trashing him in the media. He has no where to go or stay and ends up in a shed at an elementary school. Emily is an elementary school teacher who is handed the last minute holiday/Christmas concert that she has to create from scratch. She's been living alone since her partner died away last year and her best friend moved out. They run into each other one day in the school yard and after some classroom chaos, realize they can help each other.
This would make a cute holiday/Hallmark movie. For me, there were a lot of predictable elements and it was a little slow in the beginning, but overall I really enjoyed it. It's 3.5 stars rounded up for me.
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This book was excellent!!!! I had so so so much reading it! This story is so refreshing, so beautiful and touching and also so so funny! I laughed out lout several times during my read and that is not something that happens to me easily while reading! I really enjoyed this book so much! I can only recommend it to you and it doesn't have to be Christmas time to enjoy it! You can read it all year round!
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This is the perfect Christmas book! I loved reading this os much. It got me in the Christmas spirit and I can’t wait to read morecfrom  her!
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Emily is a teacher of ten years olds, her sex grade is everithing to her. Her flatemate was move out and she is alone. Emily is in charge of the school Christmas show, but she has no musical talent at all or her mother put that thought in her head.

Ray, a celebrity musician, is in every magazine or news but they say bad news about him. His alcohol addiction put an oil on the fire and makes the others to think that everything is true. 

Somehow he is ended up in the school shed and meets Emily and her pupils snapping pictures of him drunk and lost. That is not how he supose to deal with his problem. 

Emily is a modest woman, I imagined her like a teacher as she is. She is put in charge of the show but she couldn't believe that.

"At the forefront. What did that mean? Emily needed quick clarification."

The story is heart warming, funny and romantic.

‘No one got a photo of that. Which is a shame, because that’s the sort of good news story you need. I mean, imagine you on Loose Women then, photos of you cradling Sonic playing on a loop to some sentimental music."

There wasn't anything romantic at all but I was melting, it was their first conversation alone.And the allegory with a surfer is so good:

"I don’t believe you,’ Emily said. ‘You and all the British press,’ Ray commented with a sigh. He followed it up with a smile. ‘But I’ve learnt to ride that choppy ocean like the very best surfer. So , put me in the cupboard again, Emily.’

She is proud to be the teacher, she remains me of my teaching carieer and how I miss my classes:

"...just want to say… how proud I am to be the teacher of this year’s Year Six class.’ She drew in a breath. ‘Your children come into my class every day full of enthusiasm and bursting at the seams with excitement for the world. And I know, for us as adults, it’s sometimes..."
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HoHoHo readathon is coming around and I was really looking forward to read all my festive reads I got for review this year.
However, even though my original plan was to open the readathon with One Christmas Star I just couldn’t wait any longer and I had to read it.
And the best thing about my decision is that this festive novel got me out of my reading slump that lasted almost a whole month.

Ohh, if only I knew this would be the case!
I would have read it even sooner, closer to it’s releasing date.
However, better late then ever, and in my humble opinion, it is not to late to convince you to pick One Christmas Star this year when you’re in the mood for something light hearted and festive…

I love Mandy Baggot’s work for years now. Her Christmas stories are how I discovered her. Her book One Christmas in Paris still brings smile to my face when I think about it, and her novel One New York Christmas is the reason why I decided not to miss Baggot’s books any more.
Now after finishing One Christmas Star, I can say there won’t be Christmas season without at least one Mandy Baggot book in my tbr!

I just enjoyed spending my time with all the characters Mandy Baggot created. I love how realistic they were, and I didn’t click with everyone right away. For example, at first I couldn’t stand Ray, but as the story progressed and we got to know him more, I really started to connect with him.

Our main character is Emily who is a teacher. Being a teacher, she spend lots of her time with children, and I phrase the author for giving the children their own personalities and voices, instead of using them just to fill the space, as some authors tend to do.

The book is written in third person. It has 464 pages and to be honest, I was little afraid it would drag and I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to, but I flew through this book like it had 300 pages.
I guess we can say the writing style plays big part in that, but also the lyrics the author filled the pages with.

In case you didn’t know, Mandy Baggot is also passionate about music, and her love for that art spilled onto pages, in some way.

I also want to stress out that the book talks about serious topic – alcoholism in a very tasteful way, and in my case it wasn’t triggering, but of course, I can only speak from my own experience, can’t talk for everyone.

After finishing One Christmas Star I can confirm that Mandy Baggot is now one of my favourite authors.
Since I don’t have many, when I proclaim someone as my fav, it is a big deal to me!

I want to finish this review with compliments to cover designer. This is one of the prettiest festive covers I’ve seen this year.

I would recommend One Christmas Star to lovers of festive chick lits and Hallmark movies, but also to everyone who’d like to read something heart warming this year to wake up the Christmas Spirit.
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A lovely, sweet Christmas romance. I really liked Emily and enjoyed this heartwarming read. 

Many thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for my ARC. All opinions are my own.
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It’s no secret that I love a book by Mandy Baggot. Her writing is so approachable and comforting that I defy any fan of romantic fiction not to be charmed by her books.

That being said, this one stands out as being something particularly special. Much as I am a huge fan of romance novels and will fight to the (metaphorical) death its many ill-informed detractors, even I sometimes find Christmas romance books a little twee. Not this one. Despite the fact it contained all the usual elements readers expect to find in a book of this genre, this one felt a bit different. It really crept under my skin and into my heart and I was totally enchanted by it.

I have been trying to put my finger on exactly what it was about this book that made it particularly stand out. I thought it might be the central character of Emily, about whom I loved absolutely everything. She was fragile and vulnerable, but also brave and determined, as well as kind and considerate. We meet her as she has been through the mill and is dealing with a good many challenges, but still finds it in her heart to try and help people around her, for no reason other than it if the right thing to do. I think maybe I have made her sound a little sickly sweet, but that’s really not how she comes across in the book, she is not perfect but very down-to-earth and likeable.

Maybe it is the handsome heartthrob, singer Ray Stone, who has all the requisite attractions for a leading romance hero, but is oh so much more. Damaged and deeply vulnerable, he is the perfect foil for Emily and I defy any red-blooded woman not to fall in love with him. However, so far, so standard for a romance novel, so what made this one stand out?

The setting, in a wintry London in the approach to Christmas, is everything you would want and Mandy brings it to life beautifully. Emily’s job as a primary school teacher prepping the Christmas show gives us a cast of cute kiddies who provide comedy and drama and emotion in equal measure (fans of Nativity! will love this book). Emily’s parents are lively characters who create some cringe-worthy moments, and provide the perfect contrast to Ray’s more down-to-earth family. All of these elements add to the book’s appeal.

However, I think what made it extra special were the issues dealt with in the book. They are relevant, current and tricky dilemmas that are often shied away from in this genre of book, but which affect thousands of people on a daily basis and Mandy manages to weave them into the story with sensitivity, understanding and a lightness of touch that perfectly addresses the problems without making the tale too heavy for the genre but not making light of the seriousness of the issues either. It is skilful, truthful and moving and I was really impressed by how she achieves the balance.

Everything about this book comes together to make the perfect Christmas romance for people who want more than a fluffy read for the season, who are looking for a real story that will both move and entertain. I applaud the result wholeheartedly, a really rewarding and satisfying read.
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If there is one thing I adore, it is a Christmas/Winter story. Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year and so it's important for me to find the right reads to settle down with on a cosy winter night.  

One Christmas Star is exactly that. A heartwarming, romantic and charming read that encompasses the Christmas spirit and is utterly enchanting to read. I could not put this book down - engaging and well thought out characters that it is a pleasure getting to know. Mandy's writing style is exquisite and, at times, actually breathtaking. 

I plan to read again over the Christmas period! Mandy Baggot has done a phenomenal job and I will absolutely be picking up some more of her work!
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I loved the characters in this cosy winter story. It definitely helped me get into the winter and Christmas season. It's a great story to read around the winter season.
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Emily’s impending Christmas is looking to be one that she is expecting. Her best friend/roommate has moved out to live his boyfriend, her school supervisor is keeping a close tab on her and it looks like she won’t be getting the Deputy Head position at her school, and she’s also been tasked with the school’s Christmas play even though she has no musical experience. To top it off, she finds disgraced superstar, Ray Stone is the school’s shed with an injured hedgehog. How will she hide this conundrum from her supervisor?
Ray is pretty much down on his luck. His unstable ex-girlfriend is selling defamatory lies about him to the media, he’s losing a bunch of gigs because of it, doesn’t have enough rent money to keep his apartment and to top it off, he needs surgery on his throat or risk losing his voice forever.

As Ray pops up in Emily’s life unexpectedly, both of them begin to help each other realize that life can provide new beginnings along with love.

A feel-good novel, worthy to be read during the most wonderful time of the year. I have given this a full five stars rating because Mandy Baggot brings in real life issues and weaves in funny, realistic characters into this heartwarming story that is hard to put down once you’ve started reading it.
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Favorite Quotes:

‘Say that you respect Ida’s opinion of your relationship, but that she is… deeply troubled. Deeply troubled says you are “caring” and “compassionate”, but it also eludes to Ida being “slightly batshit crazy”.’ She sipped at her drink. ‘And then you say you hope Ida reaches out for the help she needs. That will infer to everyone that she’s one step away from a psychiatric ward.’

That man was an animal. And did you smell him? He didn’t just smell like he’d been to the pub. He smelled like Guinness had distilled him for thirty-odd years.

I have a natural talent for reading people. I’m like that Patrick Jane from The Mentalist, without the three-piece suit, but with all of the ginger hotness.

Your father has bought another hat. This one has a ridiculous feather. I don’t know what it is with him lately. It’s like he’s experiencing a middle-age crisis that only millinery can solve. 


My Review:

This was my second exposure to the clever wit and crafty humor of the deeply talented Mandy Baggot.  Her vibrant creation was a delight for all the senses and conjured colorful visuals to dance through my gray matter.  Her inventive and engaging plotlines held a delicate balance of compelling issues and cunningly crafted levity.  But what stole my heart was her bevy of quirky and highly original and dynamic characters including hedgehogs, a candy addicted coworker, a vintage clad heroine, a scandal-ridden singer with an unstable and vindictive ex, snobbish social-climbing parents, and an unending grab-bag of unusual ten-year-old students who presented their own unique challenges and real-world issues. 

The storylines were compelling and relevant, and held my interest throughout and kept my curiosity primed while Ms. Baggot’s nimble and highly amusing writing kept me pleasantly entertained and glued to my kindle.  I am in awe of her craft and covet her word skills.
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This is the first book I have read by Mandy Baggot and I have been left wondering why on Earth I haven't picked up her books before. She is a great story teller and has produced the perfect story just in time for Christmas!

One Christmas Star is the perfect mix of charm, romance and Christmas spirit and I found this delightfully heartwarming story, uplifting and completely enchanting, I could not put it down.

I found myself completely enjoying this slow burn romance and it's adorable characters and I will be reaching for of Mandy's books in the future.
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I enjoyed so much this read! Sweet, cute and romantic; I almost felt the snow on my skin!
This is a story of redemption, empowerment and trust; everything wrapped around Christmas and a lot of love to make this story really special, ready for the only read you need this Christmas?
Emily Parker is a really good teacher but the pressure of the director of the school is keeping her on the abyss; she has to prepare a musical for her class with original songs and with some special letters on it. She will need help, a lot of help, but don’t worry! An angel will appear on her class with an ill hedgehog. The problem is that Ray Stone is not an angel and have quite strong problems on his side, the good point is that he is a musician and can help Emily with her musical. The rest, as you can imagine is history!
This is a romance book, yes, but doesn’t mean that there’s nothing more on the book, there’s quite a heavy background for both characters. Emily comes from a very rich family who think that working as a teacher is not enough for her. On the other side, Ray has been in an abusive relation for the last two years and maybe it’s time he decides to stop it…
I really liked how the author treated so many important themes with a smile, because without noticing we read about abusive relations, how to cope with death, bullying… all around a beautiful love story that melted my heart at every page.
Mandy Baggot has done an amazing job with this Christmassy story, it has all the ingredients you need to finish the story with a sweet smile and remember for a long time this beautiful book. Ready?
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