Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Christmas at Lilac Cottage - Holly Martin

About the book...
A perfect romance to curl up by the fire with: Volume 1 (White Cliff Bay)
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 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? 

Like a creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows, you won’t want to put this deliciously heartwarming novel down. 

Spend the perfect Christmas in White Cliff Bay this year. Snowflakes on Silver Cove coming very soon. 

About the author...
I live in sunny Bedfordshire in a house with round windows. I studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of my colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years service was the moment when I knew I had to escape. I quit my job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, I emerged wide eyed and terrified that I now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. I taught for four years before History Off The Page came to my school to do a Tudor day. I now drive round the country in my little white van, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next.

I love to write. The characters do exactly what I want them to do, most of the time. Sometimes they do seem to go off and do their own thing without my permission. It is complete escapism into a world where I have full control.

I've been writing for four years now, every spare second I have, I'm scribbling ideas in a notebook or typing a scene on my laptop. I have written three romantic fiction books. Changing Casanova and The Chainsaw Masquerade were recently shortlisted for the Festival of Romance New Talent Award. My short story, One Hundred Proposals, won the Belinda Jones Travel Club short story competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology.

My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book by Kim at Bookouture, Holly Martin's publisher in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to give.

This was my first christmas read of the year and what a beautiful story.  Holly never fails to deliver, I've previously loved every single thing she has written and this was no exception.  She writes books that leave me smiling, that have the right amount of 'love and mush' and all have a happy ending.

Penny Meadows the lead character in this book lives in a remote house overlooking White Cliff Bay, working from home as an ice-carver she doesn't have much time or opportunity for much of a social life.  The story begins as she is preparing to change that.  She has decided to let the annex of her house to Henry and his daughter Daisy and has visions of becoming fast friends with them, sharing meals and cosy evenings. 

To say their arrival didn't go exactly to plan would be a slight understatement - I really felt for Penny, she'd gone to so much trouble, expecting far more from total strangers than was probably right to do so and then when things didn't slot into place I could have cried for her.

My first impression of Henry wasn't good. He came across as a rude, grumpy man who wasn't at all interested in making friends, he was only renting Penny's Annex because of his new job in White Cliff Bay and clearly wanted to keep himself to himself. 

However, within a very short space of time - the sparks began to fly, somehow and surprisingly, there seemed to be an attraction between him and Penny.  Nothing is simple though.  Henry has a barrier in the form of his teenage daughter Daisy who he is more than a little over-protective of.  

This is a lovely story about friendship, love, relationships and trust.  Barriers are broken down and different characters emerged as the story unfolded, chapter by chapter.  There was almost a role reversal.  Henry softened and became more thoughtful and caring, whilst Penny gained in confidence - standing up for herself more and stopped allowing herself to be taken for granted. Whilst Daisy grew in confidence because of the stability at home and with her new friendship bond with Penny.

Holly has a real talent for creating characters that get under your skin.  Penny, Henry and Daisy are the main characters in this book and they are supported by a whole host of others - such as Jill, Penny's real life guardian angel - I just loved her calmness and ability to know when to turn up and when to offer advice.  In fact there's nothing not to like about this book, as the saying goes 'it does what it says on the tin'. 

A perfect christmas read, especially for the romantic out there.  This book will touch your heart, make you smile and there'ss a couble of bits that had me howling out loud too.

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