Books

Christmas at Hope Cottage – Lily Graham

Things could be going better for Emma Holloway, she is dumped by her boyfriend and then gets knocked over by a parcel delivery van. To add insult to injury, the delivery van was actually delivering a parcel for her.

Contained within the parcel was ‘The Book’ sent to Emma to help her make some decisions. The only decision now is getting well again and it is going to a long process as Emma finds herself back at Hope Cottage with her eccentric grandmother and two equally as eccentric aunts nearby.

Now ‘The Book’ is back at Hope Cottage we start to see the magic that it may have and that perhaps the way to health, happiness and the future is to bake it. Trouble is magic can be seen as witchcraft and it seems these women are known locally and feuds and disputes go back years, hundreds of years.

So it will not help Emma, when her first love arrives back on the scene and happens to be from a family who hold onto family folklore and certainly don’t believe in magic.

But perhaps when faith is tested, people will look to any means to aid them. Can hope be restored from the pages of the book, the walls of the cottage and Emma and her grandmother?

This is a wonderful tale of love and hope, of believing in something you perhaps cannot explain but know is right. Emma’s story starts quite abruptly and her injuries from the accident that find her back at Hope Cottage were frightening and life altering, but it made her think a lot more about her life up until that point. The author uses this in the form of flashbacks so we can see how Emma found herself to be away from her family home, how her mother made the same decisions that she had and how the presence of something unexplainable can actually cause deep resentment in a community.

The book has everything you want from a Christmas novel and more, strong female characters recognising the fact that it is okay to be different, a sprinkling of snow and romance and delicious baking to wake up the tastebuds.

Perfect reading in the run up to Christmas and you cannot go wrong with Lily Graham’s novels as I have read and enjoyed everyone. A wonderful storyteller.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this novel. 

Christmas at Hope Cottage is out today!

 

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Books

September Roundup

I hate to say it but after a lovely summer of reading, I have hit the Christmas reading already – what I hear you cry. It is still autumn and we haven’t even put the clocks back yet.

But the nights are getting darker earlier and I am waking up on int he dark to drag myself out to go swimming before work, so it can only mean that Christmas is really on its way. I even confess to having made a couple of lists for presents.

So the festivities have started with Holly Martin – Christmas at Mistletoe Cove. I really do like Holly’s books and read this series of books which concludes with Christmas on the Scilly Isles.

Funnily enough, coincidence perhaps, the next Christmas read was Phillipa Ashley – Christmas on the Little Cornish Isles: The Driftwood Inn. This also happens to be set on the Scilly Isles. It is the first in a new series of books from this author who I have to say produces books which are a great read.

Christmas funnily enough is covered in Judith Kinghorn – The Snow Globe but rather than being contemporary, this takes you back to the mid 1920s. Romance is around, but sometimes the choices you make are not always ‘seen’ to be the right ones.

So with Christmas out-of-the-way, let’s get back to summer and something a bit more warming and Katie Fforde – Summer of Love. I am a fan of Katie’s work and whilst I read the new books when I can if I can get hold of a copy, I am busy working my way through her back catalogue. Still got a few books to get through yet.

Summer makes you think of swimming and if you are lucky, lidos. I chose The Lido Girls  – Allie Burns when it appeared as a choice on netgalley. But the book was not for me and I abandoned it, the first this year and felt as I normally do quite ruthless, but some books just don’t work and when you have lots more to read then I feel I cannot waste time ploughing through a book which I get no enjoyment from.

I know I am going to get enjoyment and a laugh from Sarah Millican – How to be Champion and was thrilled when it popped up on netgalley. Even more thrilled to be approved and read a copy. If she makes you laugh, then without any doubt this book will too. I am going to get a copy for myself as I didn’t get to see the pictures and the formatting was a bit adrift on my kindle, so it did make for disjointed reading. But a ‘champion’ book!

I have noticed when you pick books up from netgalley that they can start you discovering one place and you have to go back and keep reading more about it, that is certainly the case with a few of the books I have got hold of lately. Which is why I chose and have read Ellen Berry – The Bakery on Rosemary Lane which takes us back to the Yorkshire village where new business are popping up and contentment is being found.

Looking back over the year I have read quite a lot of contemporary womens fiction. You get drawn certain ways with books and you just have to keep reading them. I know some are very similar it setting and style. If the writing is good, the plot believable and the characters three-dimensional then I carry on reading. Now and again I do like to throw in something different and this month besides an autobiography it was Anthony Horowitz – The Word is Murder. A different take on a murder mystery book and one which involved the author himself. Confused, you could well be but it is worth sticking with as it is a cleverly constructed novel.

So quite a good month for reading but there is plenty more to read so I must get on…..

Books

Coming Soon : The Snow Globe

A beautiful story of enduring love and heartbreaking choices.

As Christmas 1926 approaches, the Forbes family are preparing to host a celebration at Eden Hall. Eighteen-year-old Daisy is preoccupied by a sense of change in the air. Overnight, her relationship with Stephen Jessop, the housekeeper’s son, has shifted and every encounter seems fraught with tension. Before the festivities are over, Daisy has received a declaration of love, a proposal and a kiss – from three different men. Unable to bear the confusion she flees to London and stays with her elder sister.

By the following summer, Daisy has bowed to the persistence of the man who proposed to her the previous year. When the family reunite for a party at Eden Hall and Stephen is once more in her life, it is clear to Daisy she is committing to the wrong person. Yet she also believes that family secrets mean she has no choice but to follow her head instead of her heart. Will love conquer all, or is Daisy’s fate already written?

Judith Kinghorn is the author of four novels: The Echo of Twilight, The Snow Globe, The Memory of Lost Senses and The Last Summer. She was born in Northumberland, educated in the Lake District, and is a graduate in English and History of Art. She lives in Hampshire, England, with her husband and two children.

 

 

Books · Jottings

Summer Holidays

In a bid to work my way through a number of books languishing on my kindle thanks to the wonder that is netgalley and also the ones residing on my shelves I thought I would set myself a little task and that was to go on a summer holiday via the medium of books.

So allow this post to take you to lots of different places, to stay in some rather interesting accommodation and perhaps have a summer holiday vicariously. Hopefully some of the links are not too tenuous!

So browse this brochure and tell me perhaps where you fancy going?

The Place – Elba, an island in Tuscany, Italy.

The Book – The Thousand Lights Hotel – Emylia Hall

……I was transported to Elba, to the beautiful hotel, the intense heat and warmth of the sun. The sea as it was calm in the morning as Kit went to break the surface, to wake herself up, to find what she was looking for. Even down to food and the welcome that hotel gives…….

The Place – A fictional island, Greece

The Book – The Bed and Breakfast on the Beach – Kat French

…..A distillery is hidden beneath the Villa and part of the deal is to keep producing the islands famous spirit – gin and to make sure that the island and the islanders never run out. For if it did, the consequences could be catastrophic……

The Place – Loire Valley, France

The Book – Summer at the Little French Guesthouse – Helen Pollard

…..drip the sunshine into the pages and the rolling hillsides, even the delicious food prepared in the guesthouse has you salivating as you can almost taste the chilled white wine, easing away your troubles……..

The Place – Dorset, UK

The Book – The Once in a Blue Moon Guesthouse – Cressida McLaughlin

….. immediately checked into the guest house, can smell the bacon cooking as you wait for your breakfast and relax into each specially selected room after the exciting day you may have experienced…..

The Place – Cornwall, UK

The Book – Summer at Seafall Cottage – Lily Graham

…..find my own cottage and just experience the simple view, ever-changing through the windows that look out across the sea. I want to be able to read in comfort a book such as this as the weather does its worst. Knowing that tomorrow is a new day and something else may be discovered…….

The Place – A Fictional Island, Caribbean

The Book – Death Knocks Twice – Robert Thorogood

….taking you away to where the sun shines, the water is warm and the chance of death could be quite high!…..

The Place – Fictional Seaside Town, North West Coast, UK

The Book – The Little Bed and Breakfast by the Sea – Jennifer Joyce

….A pier…arcade machines…A fish and chip shop…devour the salty chips…ice cream van which specialises in different flavours…A beach, cliffs, coves and breathtaking views of the sea and the landscape.

The Place – Fictional Island, Scilly Isles, UK

The Book – Spring at Blueberry Bay – Holly Martin

…The book completely took me away to Hope Island, and its scenery and residents, and the wonder that is Holly Martin’s writing….

The Book – Summer at Buttercup Beach – Holly Martin

…A book for the perfect escape, along with the wonderful setting and the beauty that can be seen not just in love but also in the surroundings and the art that can be created through the medium of glass……

The Place – Devon Coastline, UK

The Book – Summer at Coastguard Cottages – Jennifer Bohnet

….where you can enjoy coming together with a community who do not judge your choice, your life and you can enjoy a glass of something chilled and toast the day as the flag shifts and the sun sets over the sea……

Thank you for stepping into the pages of my brochure and as for my real summer holiday, it is now over and I am back at work, counting the days to my next break.

Books

Summer at Coastguard Cottages – Jennifer Bohnet

I know you should not judge a book by its cover but who cannot help love this one? It was a bonus that the story contained within it was just as lovely.

Along a part of the Devon coastline is the Coastguard cottages, where for roughly eight weeks in the summer are full of people, life, laughter, love, friendship and food. It is of course the same faces, the same people, but this summer it seems that it is all about to change.

Bruce is at his cottage, for the first time without his beloved wife, Gabby. He has some decisions to make about his and the cottages future, but when an unexpected visitor or two turns up it seems that perhaps the future is not going to be as predictable as he first thought.

Karen, mum to two children, who are now making their own way in the world is simply left with her husband, Derek. Is her marriage finished, could she manage without him especially as the cottage she has is simply hers and hers alone? The break at this cottage is the test they both need.

Guy, is borrowing his friend’s cottage, he realises he has been here before and he may still know some of the more regulars. Guy needs to escape and heal from what he has seen in the last twelve months. But he also has to face up to his marriage – divorce has to be the answer but is it one his wife will accept.

Carrie, is left a legacy, one she would never have even believed. It means she can settle with little financial worries for the foreseeable future. But it has come from a man she has never met and it is finding out about him, that leads her to one particular coastguard cottage during the summer. Will she find the answers to the many questions she has?

As these main characters and a few secondary ones, who you soon learn how they all fit in together at the cottages, the books travels along nicely and the story winds and weaves along.

A real heart warming story and one where you can enjoy coming together with a community who do not judge your choice, your life and you can enjoy a glass of something chilled and toast the day as the flag shifts and the sun sets over the sea.

I really enjoyed the setting, the place and whilst I would love to go back to these coastguard cottages, possibly even stay in one, the story was brought to its rightful conclusion and the characters live on after the book has been finished – a sign of a well written book in my simple opinion.

Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 

Summer at Coastguard Cottages is out now on ebook

 

Books

Summer at Buttercup Beach – Holly Martin

Back at Hope Island, which I first visited in Spring at Blueberry Bay, we are now familiar with the surroundings and some of the characters.

This time the story focuses on Rome Lancaster – having lost what he thought was his true love at an early age, grief is still running through his veins and he throws himself into his work and women.

Freya Greene found solace in Hope Island when she escaped from an unhappy relationship. Finding that Hope Island was the place she wanted to be, she became friends with Eden and her brother Rome, as well as Bella and Isaac the principal characters from the first novel.

Rome even offers her work at his workshop and the flat above as well. It seems that Freya has found a base at last, there is only one problem – she is in love with Rome.

Working together and laughing together are not enough for Freya, she wants more. And as Rome’s behaviour changes towards her, is she perhaps reading far too much into innocent remarks, touches and looks?

Only Rome knows the truth and when he wants to resolve one problem between them, he seems to open up another lot of problems that they have to somehow solve.

Freya has the answer – leave the island and hope that her heart can forget Rome.

Rome has other ideas.

I thoroughly enjoyed going back to Hope Island and seeing how the relationship was forming between these two characters. I had my doubts, thinking it would simply be a carbon copy of the first book. Whilst of course, two people coming together and the setting is the same – the way they get there provided me with heart stopping moments, tears of joy and a lot of laughter too.

A book for the perfect escape, along with the wonderful setting and the beauty that can be seen not just in love but also in the surroundings and the art that can be created through the medium of glass. What a simple idea but sometimes I am sure the heat that is created in the book – could have melted more than just glass!

I look forward to the third novel and finding out all about Eden and Dougie and of course revisiting Hope Island at a very different time of year.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. 

The Summer at Buttercup Beach is out now. 

 

 

Books

Summer at the Little French Guesthouse – Helen Pollard

The Little French Guesthouse in question is La Cour des Roses and Emmy is still working there, with the wonderful Rupert who has become a firm friends since circumstances brought them together in the first ‘French Guesthouse’ book.

They are as busy as every and Emmy is settling very much into village life and is enjoying the guests staying and also expanding her own business as well. But most of all Emmy is enjoying being with Alain, the man she is about to marry.

Surely she can organise a wedding to the man she loves. Well she can and she could if her mother did not keep stage managing it from a distance. Emmy’s patience is tested, trying to please and placate everyone as she has to check, double-check and then check again that the flowers are right, the bridesmaid dresses match, the cake will work.

However there are somethings that are going to not run smoothly, no matter what Emmy or Emmy’s mother thinks and demands.

The past is generally never far behind and when it becomes ever-present, it means that the wedding is suddenly not the most important thing on everyone’s mind. Surely happiness is not that far away.

Helen Pollard has not lost anything in her writing and she manages to drip the sunshine into the pages and the rolling hillsides, even the delicious food prepared in the guesthouse has you salivating as you can almost taste the chilled white wine, easing away your troubles.

This is the third in the trilogy of books, which I confess to being sad about as I would love to see the guesthouse in the autumn and winter, but nonetheless, this book does bring a lot of the story to a fitting conclusion for the characters.

I have loved spending time in The Little French Guesthouse and I am sure you will too.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this book. As well as the previous two. 

Summer at the Little French Guesthouse is out now. 

Read about the previous two books here and here.