Christmas for Beginners

Ebook edition released 20/10/2020

by Carole Matthews

Relationship Stories Humorous fiction Star Books Books of the Month

LoveReading Expert Review of Christmas for Beginners

Gentle humour, cosy warmth, and the delights of Christmas ensure this is the most gorgeous and uplifting relationship tale.

A fabulously perfect festive read that delivers oodles of heartwarming charm. This could easily be read as a standalone novel, but I do recommend starting with Happiness for Beginners as Christmas for Beginners continues the lovely story of Molly and Hope Farm.  When I read the first few sentences: “One of the alpacas has eaten the Baby Jesus. I’m not sure which one. Frankly they all look the picture of innocence, but I know them better.” I knew I was in for a treat of a read. Carole Matthews takes the ‘up’ in uplifting and elevates it to a whole new level. She doesn’t shy away from the aches and pains of real life and it is this that makes her books so relatable. The characters of the farm animals ensure they sit front and centre, often eclipsing their human counterparts. Even here, in the middle of a freezing cold farm yard you can also discover humour, hugs, and merrymaking. Carole Matthews really is the most beautifully consistent writer and we just had to pop this into our LoveReading Star Books category. Christmas for Beginners is an absolute gift of a book and comes as highly recommended by me.

Liz Robinson

Christmas for Beginners Synopsis

Currently 99p on Kindle

The BRAND NEW Christmas read from the bestselling author

The gloriously festive sequel to readers' favourite and Sunday Times bestselling novel Happiness for Beginners


Christmas is fast approaching at the new Hope Farm. Owner Molly Baker has been convinced to organise an open day to raise some much-needed funds ahead of the New Year, but the nativity tableau is proving challenging. With anti-social sheep, awkward alpacas and a seriously sequined Santa Claus to assemble, Molly is feeling overwhelmed, and in desperate need of some Christmas spirit . . .

Despite the chaos of the farm getting in the way of her event planning, Molly is looking forward to spending the holidays with Shelby and Lucas, hopeful that a happy family Christmas is exactly what they need to draw them all together. But while she is busy making plans on the farm, Shelby, it seems, has ideas of his own.

As the nativity draws near, the team are working hard to pull off a spectacular festive fete - and make sure the animals and humans remain on their best behaviour. Will this Christmas be merry and bright, or is there more than one surprise in store for Hope Farm?

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Christmas for Beginners Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

Festive farmyard frolics with Molly and her mottley crew of misfits. Christmas can't get more Fluffy than this can it?

The farmyard frolics turn decidedly festive in Carole's latest offering, Christmas for Beginners. Owner of Hope Farm Molly Baker and her support network of Bev and Alan have settled in well following the farm's relocation to pastures new (literally) but the issue of funding is never far from their minds. Gregarious Bev is on the case as ever and soon has the troops rallied for a Christmas Fayre event to be held at the farm. I mean, after the success of previous events what could possibly go wrong?
Molly's new romantic partner Shelby is significant by his absence - it's a wonder they are a couple at all as they are poles apart personality-wise but they do say opposites attract. Shelby's teenage son Lucas, has moved in to the plush new caravan with Molly, the two of them having a more parent/child relationship than either of them could hope for Lucas to have with his father - but there must be something in the air as Lucas is spending less time at home with Molly and more time at the poetry club in the village. But that's a good thing, right?
We are introduced to a wonderful selection of characters from throughout the local community from the dishy Mayor, who Bev has commandeered to switch on their Christmas lights, to the troubled parents of one of the students who attend Molly's classes at the farm, plus many others besides. There are also new resident animals on the farm who provide some hilarious moments - the old favourites are still going strong too thank goodness but if they keep trying to eat the cast of the nativity scene there could well be trouble!
This is a proper feel-good festive read, just what we need after the awful year we've had in the real world of 2020. It's not all starry-eyed happiness though, as Molly is left wondering if she's bitten off more than she can chew in taking on the role of Lucas's guardian in Shelby's continued absence. Help comes from an unexpected source in more ways than one and once more Carole leaves us with a warm glow of contentment as we turn the last page.

Sandra Bishop

A cosy, comfy read! Snuggle up warm and enjoy!

The thoroughly likeable and relatable Molly Baker, from Happiness for Beginners is back. It doesn't matter at all whether you read the first book about Molly and Hope Farm, just dive straight in! Molly runs Hope Farm for ill or abandoned animals, they also provide education opportunities for children who struggle in school. In the lead up to Christmas, the painfully shy Molly has to put her worries aside in order to raise money and do the best for the farm. She also has to deal with her absent partner, famous actor Shelby, and his struggling teenage son Lucas, as well as control and take care of all of the animals! This book was warm, cosy and comfy. Perfect to snuggle up with, maybe even with a hot chocolate or glass of wine at your side. Perfect escapism from the real world. It left me with a smile on my face and a warm fuzzy glow!

Sarah Jones

A cosy Christmas read.

When it's dark outside and things don't seem all that great, the best thing to make yourself feel better is to snuggle up with a Christmas read. This was the perfect book for taking your mind off things. I loved Hope Farm and all its inhabitants (both human and animal), especially Molly and her step-son of sorts, Lucas. They have such a lovely relationship and both seem so real that you can't help but live through their trials and tribulations with them. I hadn't read the first book in this series (you don't need to have) but I really hope there are more stories from Hope Farm to come.

P.S Sign me up for a date with the Hot Mayor!

Nikki Whitmore

A lovely heart-warming book about the owners and inhabitants of Hope Farm. A pleasure to read, Lots of laughs and a few tears. Just the book to forget ‘Lockdown’ and remember that there are nice people in the world. A happy book.

Molly owns and lives, in a caravan, on Hope Farm. She takes local students – her glorious students – misfits from normal education and finds ways to help them integrate into life.
She lives there with her partner, Shelby, his son Lucas and various animals, mostly strays and misfits too.
Her helper Bev has the great idea of having a Christmas Fair to raise local awareness of the Farm and raise funds too.
This is the story of their efforts, the ups and downs, mad alpacas, wandering goats, 3 legged dogs etc.
Almost anything that can happen does but they between them manage to sort everything out in the end but taking the journey with them is worthwhile.

Jocelyn F Garvey

If you are short of a Christmas present and can get hold of a copy, but it. A lovely 'feel good' story, great to end an awful 2020 on.

This is a lovely gentle story which has a real feel good factor to it. I really felt as though I was present at Hope Farm. The people, the animals and the surroundings all felt so real.

I gather there was a previous book, Happiness for Beginners, which I haven't read and didn't know about in advance. I am looking forward to reading it.

I would definitely recommend getting hold of a copy, settling down in the warm with a hot chocolate, and losing yourself in the story. :-)

Alison Bisping

Carole Matthews Press Reviews

The writing is full of humour, warmth and heart - all the things that are standard in Carole's novels. This is a perfect holiday read. I loved it. - Novel Kicks Blog

One of our favourite authors, Carole Matthews always delivers a delicious read full of humour and emotional dilemmas - Hot Brands, Cool Places

Light-hearted, laugh-packed fun. - The People

Another lovely tale from bestselling writer Carole Matthews - Hello!

Delightful and humorous... as joyful as its cover - Woman's Weekly

Heartfelt - Yours

Heartwarming - Bella

Sparkling romp - Mirror

Ornery llamas, attack sheep, and a wealth of colourful country characters (including a spectacular hairdresser-to-the-stars who coifs alpacas in his downtime) electrify Matthews's charming tale... Perfect for lovers of small-town romance, this upbeat tale is sweet but not cloying and altogether satisfying. - Publishers Weekly

Full of quirky characters and often laugh-out loud funny, it's a delightful read. - Choice

As ever from this author, a lively story that fizzes with fun - Best

Heart-warming - Bella

Heartwarming story of new beginnings. - Candis

Witty, funny and incredibly touching . . . perfect for lifting the spirits - Heat

Happiness For Beginners once again confirms Carole Matthews as the queen of funny, feel good fiction. Put your feet up, and switch off your phone because you're in for a real treat. -- Mike Gayle I laughed and cried and marvelled - Cathy Bramley on Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses

Warm, witty and hopeful - I was charmed -- Sarah Morgan Fabulously enjoyable . . . full of heart and fun - Milly Johnson

An irresistibly warmhearted story with a cast of captivating characters, both animal and human -- Trisha Ashley One of our favourite authors, Carole Matthews always delivers a delicious read, and Million Love Songs is another delightful read. Full of humour and emotional dilemmas, this latest book is perfect to curl up with on the sofa in this unpredictable weather. Highly Recommended! - Hot Brands Cool Places

Fun, fantastic and brimming with Matthews magic... from the first to the last page - an absolute joy -- Milly Johnson A gorgeous novel that will delight - Katie Fforde on Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses

If you love romance, quirky humour and animals you can't do better than to sink into Happiness for Beginners. -- Katie Fforde Sparkling . . . light-hearted, laugh-packed fun - Sunday Mirror

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780751580143
Publication date: 14/10/2021
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780751580136
Publication date: 29/10/2020
Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9780751580129
Publication date: 20/10/2020
Format: Ebook

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About Carole Matthews

Carole Matthews is the Sunday Times bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the top ten bestsellers The Cake Shop in the Garden, A Cottage by the Sea, Paper Hearts and Summer Kisses, Christmas Cakes and Mistletoe Nights, Million Love Songs and Happiness for Beginners. In 2015, Carole was awarded the RNA Outstanding Achievement Award. Her novels dazzle and delight readers all over the world and she is published in more than thirty countries. For all the latest news from Carole, visit, follow Carole on Twitter (@carolematthews) and Instagram (matthews.carole) or join the thousands of readers ...

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