Book Review: A Christmas Tail, by Cressida McLaughlin

Publisher: Harper Collins  |  Publication date: 5th November 2015  |  Edition: Paperback (review copy)

A Christmas Tail Front CoverA Christmas Tail is gorgeous, both inside and out!

From the glittery sprinkles on the cover to the chirpy story just waiting to sing to you, just about everything sparkles about this book, and I mean EVERYTHING.

Originally published in four parts, these tales of the residents of Primrose Terrace are now combined in one beautifully presented edition. Despite the Christmassy cover, it pretty much spans the seasons of a year in all their wonderful glory. There’s:

Part 1) Wellies and Westies Part 2) Sunshine and Spaniels Part 3) Raincoats and Retrievers, and ends with a BIG Christmassy finale Part 4) Tinsel and Terriers.

Our main heroine is Catherine Palmer whose turbulent fictional life can be pretty unpredictable. After morphing from bad to worse as she’s already been fired from her job, she is currently living with her best friend and trainee veterinary nurse, Polly and Polly’s brother, Joe. While Cat’s suffering from the woes of employment issues, she’s trying to ignore a potential romance on the horizon and her antics are often worse that the cliental of her new dog walking business she’s decided to open. But given her track record, not everyone is convinced she has everything under control and will go out of their way to put a stop to her new livelihood. Cat’s mission is to prove them wrong and she is desperate to make an impression with Pooch Promenade.

With her heart of gold and infinite determination, you’ll soon find that Cat will attempt to turn anyone’s frown upside down. Yet she lives up to her name, as curiosity undoubtedly gets the better of her on occasion. Her natural ability for jumping in offers the most surprising results!

There’s a whole host of colourful characters just bursting to greet you behind the doors of Primrose Terrace, and of course there’s Cat’s cute canine pals to coo over too – and that’s before we get started on the self-assured ‘Mr smug chin’ and the serious illustrator with more to him than meets the eye…

Through their highs and lows and rallying for a common cause a unique camaraderie is created, not only as neighbours but as friends. And the ‘will they / won’t they’ moments are a real treat.

I usually plough through my books but I simply had to savour this one, as it was such a delightful diversion. It’s charming, it’s entertaining and it’s got the’ feel-goods’ written all over it – you’d be barking mad not to read it!

Rating: 4/5

(My sincere thanks to the publisher for sending a positively glistening paperback copy of this wonderful read for review.)

A Christmas Tail Book Summary

This book was first published as an e-serial Primrose Terrace Parts 1-4. Perfect for fans of Cathy Bramley, Lucy Dillon and Debbie Johnson.

A Christmas Tail was first published as a four-part serial set in Primrose Terrace.

Catherine ‘Cat’ Palmer realizes that bringing an adorable puppy into work is a bad idea, especially when it gets her the sack. Deciding it’s the perfect opportunity to launch her dog-walking business, Cat enlists the help of flatmates Polly and Joe. After all Primrose Terrace, the street where they live, is full of home-alone hounds.

Getting to know the owners and their precious pooches isn’t all plain sailing, but soon Cat is making friends, particularly with sexy Mark and his Collie, Chips. But is he the right man for her?

With her talent for misadventure, Cat’s new life starts to show some cracks, and when one of the street’s loveable schnauzers gets ill, it looks like this Christmas could be turning into a dog’s dinner. But Cat has never given up on anything in her life – and this is one Christmas that’s definitely worth saving…


Cressy was born in South East London surrounded by books and with a cat named after Lawrence of Arabia. She studied English at the University of East Anglia and now lives in Norwich with her husband David.

Cressy’s favourite things – other than writing – include terrifying ghost stories, lava lamps and romantic heroes, though not necessarily at the same time. (Though perhaps a good starting point for a story . . ?)

When she isn’t writing, Cressy spends her spare time reading, returning to London or exploring the beautiful and romantic Norfolk coastline.

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