• Ajda

🎄 Recenzija + intervju: The Twelve Dates of Christmas

Updated: Dec 29, 2020

Ho, ho, ho! Pa smo prišli do naslednje knjige s seznama prazničnega branja. The Twelve Dates of Christmas avtorice Lise Dickinson je ena tistih mnogih lepih božičnih knjig. Čudovita naslovnica, po možnosti je na njej srečen par, zimska pokrajina, obvezno nekaj svetlečega, najraje v zlati barvi... med platnicami pa srednja žalost. Se sliši znano? Velikokrat sem kupila kakšno knjigo iz meni sicer ne preveč priljubljenega žanra - romanc, ki mi je bila enostavno tako zelo lepa, da sem jo morala imet. Ko sem začela brat pa... meh... Več ali manj mi je vse delovalo kot ena in ista zgodba, le malo drugače zavito in opremljeno nekje z boljšim, drugje slabšim stilom pisanja. Zato sem veliko božičnih knjig prodala naprej, ljudem, ki bodo v njih bolj uživali. Ena od tistih, ki me je z opisom na zadnji strani vseeno prepričala, da ostane, pa je bila zagotovo knjiga o kateri pišem danes. In še dobro, da je ostala, saj je tako topel, prijeten božični roman, da je všeč tudi meni, ki sem totalen Grinch, kar se tiče romanc.


Pod recenzijo sledi še intervju z avtorico, zato le berite dalje.

And for the english speaking readers, english version of review is below, so keep scrolling :)


Knjiga št. 61/50

Lisa Dickenson - The Twelve Days of Christmas

Ocena: 4/5

V prvem prizoru spoznamo našo protagonistko Claudio, tridesetletnico, ki se tlači v več kot očitno premajhen korzet, ki ga je naročila ravno za današnji zmenek. Za prvi zmenek po kdo ve koliko časa s svojim dolgoletnim fantom Sethom. Zdi se, da je iskrica med njima ugasnila, a Claudia upa, da jo lahko kljub vsemu še obudi. Če kdaj in kje, pa sedaj - v božičnem Londonu, ko romantika vanju zre iz vsakega koraka. Zmenek se začne odvijati sila klavrno, saj najprej Seth sploh ne opazi njene nove obleke in vsega s čimer se je potrudila zanj, ko pa ji v baletni hiši, kamor sta šla gledat Hrestača, sledi na stranišče in jo sooči s svojim penisom, ker to pač je nekaj kar počneš na zmenku, vendarle poči. V prepiru, ki se najprej začne nedolžno, Seth vendarle izpljuni kar nekaj ne preveč prijaznih opazk in svojih misli in tako se razmerje vendarle konča. Ker pa večera še ni konec, Claudia seveda ostane sama sredi noči pred baletno hišo, po naključju pa izve tudi, da vsekakor za ugaslo iskrico ni bila kriva le ona. Prevarana, razočarana in z zlomljenim srcem poišče zavetje pri prijateljici Penny.


Penny ji pomaga; najprej s tem, da ji ponudi streho pod glavo in nekaj svojih oblačil, saj se Claudia ne želi takoj vrniti v svoje stanovanje, ki si ga deli s Sethom. Kasneje pa si Penny zamisli, da bo Claudiji vendarle pričarala nekaj prazničnega vzdušja in se v njenem imenu dogovori za nekaj zmenkov na slepo. Drugi Claudijin najboljši prijatelj Nick pa se dvigovanja razpoloženja loti na drugačen način. Velik ljubitelj božiča kakršen je, se tudi sam odloči in jo povabi na nekaj prazničnih zmenkov, da bi Claudia vendarle odmislila Setha in vse sranje, čez katerega je šla v zadnjih tednih. Tako Claudia prvič po kdo ve koliko letih doživlja praznike resnično v prazničnem duhu.


Ne glede na to, da knjiga na prvi pogled deluje sila romantično in bi na prvo žogo bralca, kot sem jaz skorajda odvrnila, naj povem, da je v njej absolutno več humorja, kot pa romantike. Res je, da gre Claudia v le nekaj tednih na 12 zmenkov, a ne z 12 različnimi ljudmi (pomežik!) in tudi niso vsi zmenki takšni, kot bi si jih človek zamislil. Na koncu je tudi kava s prijateljem lahko zmenek, kajne? Sploh v teh časih, ko je kava s prijateljem zaradi omejitev znanstvena fantastika, bi jo skoraj gotovo vsi šteli med zmenke... Kakorkoli že, knjiga je razdeljena na 12 poglavij, za vsak zmenek enega. Ob njej sem se ogromno presmejala, saj ima avtorica res krasen smisel za humor, popolnoma meni pisan na kožo. Poleg tega, zmenki na slepo, ki jih je organizirala Claudijina prijateljica Penny.. za crknit! Vsekakor dober pogled z druge strani, da samsko življenje včasih vendarle ni tako zelo zabavno in vznemirljivo, kot bi si človek mislil.


Kljub na videz površinskim "težavam" in dogajanju, knjiga vseeno skriva cel kup tem, ki so globlje narave. Claudia je bila včasih plesalka, baletka tako kot Penny, a je zaradi poškodbe bila primorana vzeti enoletni premor od plesa, vmes pa so določene priložnosti splavale po vodi. Med drugim avdicija za Royal Opera and Balet, kjer zdaj pleše Penny in živi Claudijine sanje. Claudia se zato veliko bori s tem, kakšne sploh še so njene sanje in kaj je pripravljena storiti za njihovo uresničitev. Poleg tega spoznamo tudi Penny in njene sanje o materinstvu, pa odnos Claudie do svojih staršev, odločitve o velikih življenjskih spremembah in pogum, ki je zanje potreben... Všeč mi je tudi izpostavljena problematika zvestobe do prijateljice, ko se obe dekleti ogrejeta za eno osebo. Kaj vse bi žrtvoval za odnos s prijateljem? Bi sabotiral lastno prihodnost z nekom, četudi veš, da bi bil ti s to osebo bolj srečen, kot pa prijatelj? Pa tudi na trenutke hecna problematika spreminjanja odnosa iz prijateljskega v partnerskega. Morda mi je bil ta aspekt zgodbe še najbolj blizu, saj o tem nekaj vem in sem se našla v marsikateri izkušnji, misli, dvomu... Pa tudi v prijetnih trenutkih in res čudovitem odnosu, ki ti ga prinese razmerje z nekom, ki si ga prej poznal kot prijatelja in te je videl in poznal v vsaki možni luči.


Pri tej knjigi se mi je po dolgem času zgodilo to, da sem v delu, ki ni triler ostala brez besed in se "ustrašila" za glavno junakinjo. Oziroma bila skupaj z njo na neki točki tako razočarana, da sem dejansko postala slabe volje. Večinoma namreč pri romancah in podobnih žanrih, če pride do zapleta kljub vsemu vsaj približno domnevaš, kako se bo stvar razpletla, tu se mi je zdela pa neka dotična situacija tako brezizhodna in polna razočaranja, da sem dejansko postala žalostna. Z lahkoto sem se namreč vživela tudi v glavno junakinjo, njena pretekla razočaranja in sol na rano, ko se je izneveril nekdo, ki naj bi ji vrnil vero v ljubezen in pristnost odnosov. Takole se zaveš ali pa spomniš, kako težko je v resnici najti nekoga, ki mu stoprocentno zaupaš in veš, da ti bo stal ob strani. Vsekakor je v knjigi kar nekaj trenutkov, ob katerih si še bolj hvaležen za ljudi, ki jih imaš v svojem življenju.

Pa da se kljub vsemu še malo dotaknem stvari, ki mi niso bile všeč. Konec zgodbe se je morda razpletel malce hitro. Na koncu bi z veseljem prebrala še kakšno stran, saj se mi je zdel zaključek morda rahlo nagnan in je kakšna stvar obvisela v zraku. Še ena stvar, ki me je motila pa nima nobene veze z napisanim, ampak... Brala sem mehko izdajo knjige in je vezana tako na "trdo," da sem res težko držala odprto, brez da bi rabila zlomit hrbet knjige. Kar pa je ponovno totalno samo moja kaprica, saj rada knjige berem na tak način, da se po branju praktično ne vidi, da so bile prebrane.


Za konec pa ne morem mimo največjega plusa te knjige in sicer je to čudovito opisovanje božičnega časa. Avtorica je prek teh dvanajstih zmenkov uspela zajet cel kup prazničnih aktivnosti, ki se jih lahko udeležiš v Londonu v decembru; od koncerta v katedrali sv. Pavla, do ogleda Hrestača, pa ogleda mesta po poteh Charlesa Dickensa... Vmes na pravih mestih omeni še kakšno od znanih božičnih pesmi, tudi album Michaela Bubleja je omenjen in smo tam! Če do branja tega romana še niste čutili prazničnega vzdušja, zdaj vas bo zagrabilo!


Avtorica Lisa Dickenson je poleg dobre pisateljice tudi izjemno topla oseba in z veseljem se je odzvala na moje povabilo in z njo sem opravila intervju, ki ga lahko preberete v spodnjih vrsticah.


Povej mi kaj več o sebi; si si vedno želela postati pisateljica? Kaj pri tvojem poklicu te najbolj veseli?


Živjo Ajda in živjo Ajdini bralci! Hvala za povabilo.

Živim v Devonu v Veliki Britaniji in ne glede na to, da sem komaj uradno postala tudi poklicna pisateljica, sem si tega vedno želela. Spomnim se, ko sem bila precej mlada in sem pisala veliko zgodb (ki so bile večinoma dolge le nekaj poglavij) in sem neznansko uživala v tem. Tako sem vesela, da lahko zdaj to počnem ves čas. In moja najljubša plat tega? Imam svobodo da: a) pišem kadarkoli, kjerkoli in b) lahko sanjarim o ljudeh in situacijah in jih vlijem življenje.


Kakšen je tvoj proces pisanja? Si najprej zamisliš zgodbo in nato začneš s pisanjem, ali se ti ideje razvijajo med pisanjem samim?


To se lahko spreminja od knjige do knjige, a pogosto bom kar nekaj časa premišljevala osebah, o tem kako govorijo, kako se odzivajo na določene situacije… in prizori se začnejo razvijati od tu dalje. Največkrat si zamislim celotno zgodbo preden začnem, a ne preveč podrobno. Veliko praznih prostorov se zapolni med pisanjem. Največ skušam napisati zjutraj, da se ne počutim slabo, če začnem popoldan zavlačevati z delom.


Malce sem raziskovala in, če se ne motim, si napisala šest knjig; ena prihaja v teh dneh. Najnovejša (A Season in the Snow) je napisana pod psevdonimom Isla Gordon. Prav tako si pisala knjige pod imenom Lucy Dickens. Kako to, da pri pisanju uporabljaš psevdonime?


Dobro vprašanje! Moja tri imena označujejo tri stile pisanja. Lisa Dickenson označije knjige kot so The Twelve Dates of Christmas, ki se nagibajo bolj k humoristični strani romantičnih komedij. Knjige pod imenom Isla Gordon govorijo bolj o čustveni plati in romantičnem življenju glavnih junakov, knjige napisane z imenom Lucy Dickens pa so zabavne, počitniške knjige usmerjene v potovanja in razburljive lokacije.


Kateri je tvoj najljubši žanr knjig? Lahko priporočiš svoje najljubše knjige vseh časov?


Rada berem knjige iz različnih žanrov, a najraje se zatopim v strani trilerja ali detektivskega romana, čeprav do sedaj še nimam absolutno najljubšega. V času Božiča mi je vsekakor najljubša knjiga Božični duh Charlesa Dickensa, katero bom v kratkem spet prebrala. Med knjigami, v katerih sem uživala v tem letu sta zagotovo tudi Moja zgodba Michelle Obama in Tiha pacientka avtorja Alexa Michaelide.

Dve od tvojih knjig se dogajata v času božiča, tretja zimska pa prihaja te dni. Imaš rada božič in december na splošno? Kaj je glavni razlog za pisanjem zimskih, prazničnih romanc?


Oh ja, sem velika ljubiteljica zime! Za avtorja je čudovito napisati roman, ki je postavljen v zasnežen čas leta. Takrat je v zraku prav posebna čarobnost in zabavno jo je ujeti med strani. V hladnejših mesecih je prijetno se zaviti v odejo z dobro knjigo in romance se perfektno ponujajo skupaj s popečenimi penicami, deljenjem odeje, poljubom ob kaminu in gretju eden drugega na hladnih zasneženih poljanah.


Imaš še kakšno sporočilo ali željo za bralce mojega bloga?


Hvala vsem za klepet z mano! Upam, da ste v redu in, da vi in vaše družine ostanete varni in dobro. Vsem želim vesele, lepe praznike in bleščeče leto 2021! XXXX

Hvala Lisi za čas, ki si ga je vzela zame. Vsem vam želim, da bi uspeli tudi med letošnjimi prazniki, ki bodo vsekakor malce drugačni, pričarati tisto praznično vzdušje. Če ne drugače, pa vsaj z dobro knjigo. Tole vsekakor toplo priporočam.


LP Ajda


ENGLISH VERSION


Ho, ho, ho! Here we are with the next Christmas-themed novel. The Twelve Dates of Christmas by author Lise Dickinson is one of those really beautiful Christmas novels. Beautiful cover, by chance with a happy couple and magical wintery scenery on it, obligatory shiny foiling, possibly gold… and between the covers some pretty blend pages. Does it sound familiar? Many times, I have bought one of those books in romantic genre which I don't love by default, because it was just so beautiful, that I had to have it. But when I started reading it… meh… More or less it all seemed like the same story, just with a different wrapping and written sometimes better, sometimes worse… That's why I found a new home for a lot of this kind of books. One of those whose synopsis on the back convinced me to keep it, was the book I'm writing about today. And thanks god that it stayed! Even I, a total romance Grinch, have enjoyed it. That tells you what a worm, nice and cosy Christmas novel it is.


On the first pages we get to know our protagonist Claudia, a woman in her early thirties who is squeezing herself into an obviously too small corset, which she bought for todays date. For her first date in who knows how long with her long-term boyfriend Seth. It seems that the spark between them is gone, but Claudia thinks that she can re-ignite it. If when and where, it’s most possible to do that in holiday London, where romance is looking at you from every window and corner. The date starts poorly, when Seth doesn’t even notice all the effort that Claudia put into her looks for the night. But when he follows her to the bathroom of the Ballet house (they went to see the Nutcracker) and she faces his penis between the bathroom stalls, the cup is full. During their fight, Seth throws at Claudia every single nasty thought he has about her and their relationship comes to an inevitable end. But the night is not over, and Claudia is left alone in the Royal Opera House. Waiting for her friend to take her home, she by chance finds out, that she clearly wasn’t the only reason for the missing spark. Cheated, disappointed and heart-broken, she finds safe haven with her friend Penny.


Penny helps her by offering a roof over her head and some clothes to wear, because Claudia obviously can’t go home to her apartment she shares with Seth. Later on, Penny gets an idea that she shall arrange some blind dates for Penny to get her into holiday spirit. The other Claudia’s best friend Nick has another take on making Claudia feel better. A Christmas junkie himself, he decides to take Claudia on few of holiday dates, so Claudia could forget about all the crap Seth put her through. After god knows how many years, Claudia finally finds herself in holiday mood.


Even though the book at first sight seems very romantic and could almost repulse a reader as I am, I should firstly tell you, that the amount of humour in it is almost bigger than the amount of romance. It’s true that Claudia goes on 12 dates in few weeks, but not with 12 different people (wink, wink) and not all the dates al the kinds that you imagine. A coffee with a friend could count as a date too, right? Especially in these times when lockdown made a coffee with a friend almost impossible, it can easily be counted as a date. Anyways, the book is separated in to 12 chapters, one for each date. I have laughed so hard while reading, because the author has an amazing sense of humour, totally up my alley. And the blind dates that Penny arranges… It’s a really great reminder, that the single life is not always as fun and glamorous, as one would imagine.


Even though most of the “problems” of our protagonist seem minor, the book holds a lot of topics that can be more problematic and tougher to get through. Claudia used to be a ballerina as is Penny, but an injury set her back for a year and during that year a lot of opportunities slipped away and so did Claudia’s motivation. Claudia missed an audition for Royal Opera and Ballet, but Penny didn’t and there she is now, dancing and living Claudia’s dreams. Claudia is battling the idea of her dream career and all the sacrifices she would be willing to make for making it come to life. We also get to know Penny’s dreams of being a mum, Claudia’s complicated family life, thinking about making huge life changes and the courage it takes to make them… I lake that the author points to the problem of loyalty towards friends. On one point both friends have feelings for the same guy. What distance would you go to keep your friendship alive? Would you sabotage your own future with someone, even though you knew that this person would be much happier with you, than with your friend? I also really liked at moments funny problems of turning a friendship into a relationship. Maybe this storyline speaks to me the most, because I have some experiences on that topic and I could identify with many of the doubts, awkward moments, thoughts… But also, in the nice parts of the kind of relationship you get, when you’re with someone who knows you from before and loves you with all your quirks and dark sides.


After a long time, I found myself worried for the protagonist, it doesn’t come easy for me in books that aren’t thrillers. I was disappointed in Claudia’s name, worried and it made me so mad that it wrecked my mood for a while. Most of the time while reading romance novels, even on the bad and more negative parts, you can imagine how the story will turn around and it will all be okay. In this particular situation, I really couldn’t imagine how it could be turned around and I was really sad for a while. I could easily imagine how this new disappointment was just a salt on the wound from all the previous disappointments Claudia had gone through with Seth. Especially when it comes from someone, who made you believe in love and sincerity of relationships again. In these kinds of moments, you realise or remember, how hard it is to find someone who you can trust and who will stay by your side. Definitely the book offers many moments which make you grateful for the people in your life.


And to touch a few things that I didn’t like so much. The end of the story seemed a little bit rushed to me. I would be glad to read a few more pages and tie up some loose ends. The other thing that bothered me is not connected to the story at all. I like to read a book in a way that it doesn’t look used after I finish, that’s my quirk, I know… And the binding on this softcover was so stiff that I could barely keep the book open if I didn’t want to break the back of the book. But as I was saying, totally my pet peeve.


For the end, I can not get by the biggest gem of this book and that is how wonderfully Lisa describes Christmas time in London. With those 12 dates she managed to write about a whole lot of festivities, like a Christmas concert in St. Paul’s Cathedral, watching the Nutcracker in Royal Opera House, touring the city on the footsteps of Charles Dickens and more and more. She sprinkles some known Christmas songs here and there; she even mentions Michael Buble’s Christmas album a few times and here we are! If you weren’t in Christmas mood before, now you definitely are!


But the author is not just a good writer, she is also a very warm and nice person and she gladly agreed to participate in an interview. You can read it below. Tell me a bit about yourself; did you always want to be a writer? What do you enjoy the most about your job?


Hi Ajda! Hi Ajda’s readers! Thanks so much for having me on here.

Well, I live in Devon, in the UK, and although I only became a full-time writer this year, I have always wanted that to be my job. I remember being quite young and writing lots of stories (which often only lasted a couple of chapters) but I loved it. I’m so excited that I now get to do this all the time. My favourite thing about it? Having the freedom to a) write anywhere, at any time, and b) the freedom to dream up people and situations and make them come to life!


What is your writing process? Do you imagine the story and then start to write all do you get an idea and develop it while writing?


It can change from book to book, but often I’ll spend a while thinking about my characters and how they speak or how they’d react to certain situations, and then scenes start to sprinkle in from there. I do tend to imagine the whole story before I start, but in a not very detailed way. A lot of blanks get filled in and developed while I’m writing. I also tend to write as much as possible in the mornings and then I don’t feel guilty if I start to procrastinate come the afternoon.


I have done some research and if I am not mistaken, you have written 6 books, one is on its way. The newest one, coming in two weeks (A Season in the Snow) is written under an alias Isla Gordon. Also, you have written one book under the name Lucy Dickens. (you can correct me if I am wrong). How come you are using different names?


Great question! My three different names are because of the three different styles. So Lisa Dickenson books, such as The Twelve Dates of Christmas, lean mostly towards the ‘comedy’ side of romantic comedies. Isla Gordon books will be more emotional or romantic character journeys. And Lucy Dickens are fun, vacation, travel-oriented books in exciting locations.


What is your favourite reading genre? Can you recommend me your favourite books of all time?


I love to read various genres but I adore sinking deep into the pages of a thriller or murder mystery, though I don’t think I have an absolute favourite… yet! At Christmastime, one of my very favourite books is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, so I’ll be reading that again soon. Some books I’ve loved this year have included Becoming by Michelle Obama and The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelide.

Two of your books are placed into the holiday season, and the third »wintery« one is on its way. Do you like Christmas and December in general and what is the main reason behind writing holiday romances?


Oh yes, I’m a big fan of winter! As an author it’s lovely to write about the snowy seasons because there’s magic in the air and it’s fun to capture that onto pages and make them sparkle. It’s nice in the colder months to curl up and read a novel, and romance books lend themselves perfectly to sharing toasted marshmallows and blankets, kissing by the fireplace, and warming each other up in a snowdrift!


Do you have any wishes or a message for the readers of my blog?

Thanks for chatting with me, readers. I hope you’re all doing well, and that you and your families are staying safe. Wishing you a huge HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a sparkling 2021 xxxx

Thanks Lisa for her time. To all of you, I wish that even this year, you will be able to make those obviously quite different holidays nice and festive. If not differently, by the help of a festive book. I highly recommend this one.

Ajda

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