Blog Tour and Book Review – The Unwrapping of Theodora Quirke by Caroline Smailes

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 4/5 Stars

“When people hear about someone dying, when its someone else’s partner or child, there’s a moment when they pull their love ones in that little bit closer. There’s a fragment of time when they cherish life and all that they have. They value love. Yet that passes. It seems to me that it takes death for that fleeting realisation that life’s worth living.”


When 19 year old Theodora Quirke heads to work on Christmas Eve, the last person she expects to find outside of her flat is St Nicholas of Myra – the Saint people think is Santa Claus (must to St Nick’s disgust). Given he is in full Santa suit and professing to be nearly 2000 years old, Theo is wary, but St Nick insists he is there to save her – although he isn’t sure how or why.

St Nick does know that Theo is grieving however, so he shows her four scenes from her life that give her hope, but he’s also had cryptic messages from the Christmas Higher Powers that lead him to begin Theo’s training as the first ever female Christmas Angel – a role Theo is not sure is cut out for her.

The training is soon derailed by St Nick’s evil brother, filled with jealousy and spite over his brother’s popularity and, with confidence dented, and saddened by society’s spiralling levels of expectation and greed, St Nick begins to falter.

Theo does everything she can to defeat the evil brother and to lift St Nick’s spirits but as the deadline for Christmas miracles draws close, she realises she must complete them herself – but is she up to the job?

My Thoughts

Today is my stop on this festive book tour. A big thank you to Red Door Press for sending me the proof of this gorgeous and “quirkey” book and for the lovely Christmas goodies too!

It is now getting to that time of year where we can start to look forward to enjoying the Christmas season. It will definitely be a bit different this year due to the ongoing pandemic and also the unknown as to how we all will be able to celebrate with family and friends this year. However, I can definitely advise that this book should be one you add to your Christmas reading list. It is full of Christmas cheer and is a glorious escape to the magical life of St Nick. Reading about a Christmas miracle is exactly what a lot of us need to hear about right now.

This is like a modern take on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens when St Nick takes our young protagonist, Theo on a journey back to some major events in her life to show her that there is hope. Theo is feeling like she is just existing and not living and there is no one who cares for her and is very much alone. It is a very touching and heart felt story.

It is also, a very funny book and I absolutely loved the banter between Theo and St Nick. It really did make me laugh out loud. St Nick is nothing like the Santa we all know, he is quite slobbish, wearing dirty clothes, swearing and he at times disgusted Theo which was hilarious to read about. But his heart is good and pure and he just wants to give people a Christmas miracle when they are going through tough times.

The author’s writing is just magical, she is able to write about characters who feel so real that you are emotionally attached to each one. To be able to make me laugh one minute and then sob the next shows you how talented she is to get a reaction out of readers like that.

This is a warm, witty and festive feelgood read which tells you that there is always hope and people are always there for you, no matter how hard things get in life. Whilst reading this I suggest you pour yourself a hot chocolate, wrap yourself up in a blanket, stick on some Christmas tunes as background noise and unwind to this feel good read.

About The Author

Caroline Smailes worked as a lecture for several years before turning her hand to fiction in 2005. The unwrapping of Theodora Quirke is her seventh novel. She lives in Liverpool with her husband and their children.

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