Christmas at Lilac Cottage, Holly Martin
Welcome to the charming seaside town of White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air…
Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.
When Henry and his daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.
As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore.
While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas Eve ball are in full swing, can penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she's been dreaming of?
I’m really glad I picked Christmas at Lilac Cottage for my first festive read of 2015! It’s funny, warm and charming.
I’ll be upfront and say that there’s nothing special about this novel; the writing is average and the characters have great spiels of back story mid-conversation, but it was a quick, easy and fun read that got me in the Christmas spirit.
I really loved the relationship between Henry and his daughter, sixteen-year-old Daisy. He’s a single dad and is fiercely protective of Daisy, terrified of her getting hurt and she's the centre of his world. They were kind of adorable together. The teasing, the banter, the openness and easy affection was all really lovely and there’s no way you wouldn’t want to be a part of that family. Penny was the perfect antidote to Henry’s fire and a great mum figure to Daisy and I championed them from the start!
The only issue I had with Henry and Penny’s relationship was the sheer speed of it. Henry constantly talks of protecting Daisy from his love life and not wanting her to feel let down or abandoned if things go wrong etc, but him and Penny were declaring their love for each other loudly and proudly a week after meeting. There was a whole host of instalove and definite instalust in Christmas at Lilac Cottage and it was a little strange for me as I so rarely read adult women’s fiction anymore and those that I do read rarely feature it at all.
Holly Martin’s first Christmas offering of this year (Snowflakes on Silver Cove is set in the same town!) was a lovely, if forgettable read, to get me in the festive mood.
22nd October 2015|384|Sphere
At thirty, Claudia’s life is stale and the romance with long-term boyfriend, Seth, has disappeared. Determined to inject some festive spark back into their love-life, Claudia and Seth go on their first date in a very long time. But when the night ends in disaster, Claudia suddenly finds herself facing life – and Christmas – alone.
Life alone is exciting, scary and full of soon-forgotten exercise regimes and ill-advised attempts at crafting sexy underwear. It's also filling up with dates, surprisingly. With best friend Penny and Nick at her side, a surplus of festive markets, mulled wine and Christmas tunes, Claudia attempts to face all this change with gusto. One thing’s for certain: this year, Christmas is going to be very different.
Though The Twelve Dates of Christmas is my least favourite of the Christmas novels I've read this year, it's still a quick, fun, easy read.
This novel was originally released in twelve parts – one for each of Claudia’s dates – and this is the first release of it as a complete novel. It didn’t feel segmented at all and flowed seamlessly, though I really felt that it would have been more suited to first person narration as every time I noticed it was in third I was thrown out of the story and Claudia’s life. It would have felt so much more natural and immediate and I wonder if I would have enjoyed The Twelve Dates of Christmas more if that had been the case.
I carried on reading for Nick. He’s completely and utterly adorable. Tall, super-hot, goofy and ridiculously sweet – he's pretty much the perfect guy. I loved the bumbling, teasing, easy interactions between him and Claudia and though it was obvious that they would be endgame from very early on, I still enjoyed watching the ifs, buts and near misses between them. But sadly, it wasn’t enough to carry the entire novel. But around 60% I was bored and I ended up skimming the rest, eager to just get it finished.
If you’re looking for something cute and humorous to devour quickly after a stressful family Christmas, this is your book, just don’t expect anything particularly special from it.
Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper, Debbie Johnson
5th November|186|Harper Impulse
You’ve seen Mark Darcy in the reindeer jumper his mother gave him, now meet Marco Cavelli in this season’s hottest knit!
For single mum Maggie, Christmas has always been a family occasion – her daughter Ellen filling the house with her bubbly warmth and mistletoe, her dad Paddy having one too many festive tipples, and the traditional family Christmas tree looking like a drunken elf vomited a rainbow all over it.
But this year, with both Ellen and Paddy away for the holidays, Maggie’s facing a truly blue Christmas – alone with nothing but a bottle of Baileys and an M&S turkey dinner.
Until walking the snowy streets of Oxford, Marco Cavelli quite literally crashes into her life – and, complete with a broken leg, becomes her unexpected houseguest. All dreamy brown eyes and 6’5” of gorgeousness, the man is hotter and more delicious than a freshly baked mince pie.
Though Maggie always thought it’s a truth universally acknowledged that you never kiss a man in a Christmas jumper?
Though Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Jumper comes in at under 200 pages and I devoured it in only a few hours, I really connected with this festive feast.
This novel has a completely lovely set up. Maggie is a single mother to a loud-mouthed teenager called Ellen. They live in Oxford and it's blanketed in gorgeous thick snow and Maggie is running around perfecting the wedding dresses she made for a couple of Christmas weddings. It’s delightfully English. Then Marco literally coms crashing into her life and she finds a gorgeous man suddenly invading her life.
Marco and Maggie had really good chemistry and I completely bought their growing attraction to each other and the feelings that came along too. I mean, it was a bit clichéd with Marco being a gorgeous Casanova and Maggie having practically been a nun since having Ellen when she was sixteen – it’s not a trope I like. In a genre that should celebrate sexuality and powerful women it tends to just play up to the you’re ‘either you’re a nun or you’re a slut’ thing while the man has enjoyed casual sex without thought. But nonetheless, I liked the level of emotional baggage Maggie’s past brought to the table.
This was a quick, festive read that had me longing for a gorgeous Italian American man like Marco to walk around a snowy Christmas market with.