A Christmas Wish and a Cranberry Kiss at the Cosy Kettle – Liz Eeles

There is nothing better than being laden down with Christmas shopping and seeking solace in a lovely festive cafe for a festive treat. Where better than to sample a latte and a mince pie than the Cosy Kettle in Honeyford.

This time at the Cosy Kettle we are concentrating on Becca who is the manager. An unlikely choice as she is running away from what she sees as a failure, a broken relationship, a failed job and not living up to the status of her twin sister who her parents seem more to praise.

Hiding in a coffee shop in a bookshop seems like the perfect place to be.

Becca’s wish is to reinvent herself and in the run up to Christmas she does.

Can she get the date with Logan, who she has had a secret crush on for months?

Can she learn to be more assertive and stand up in front of people to talk?

Can she be more like her sister Jasmine?

But ultimately this wish list is going to be the undoing of Becca.

The opportunity to impress Logan and her boss Flora with some savvy business acumen and change the Cosy kettle into something more highbrow and sophisticated for a corporate party leads to a few conflicts with regular customers.

Add into the mix her friendship with housemate Luke who always remains faithful to their friendship. A sister who appears to have everything, including it looks like the man Becca is in love with.

Will her wishes come true or will Becca remain true to herself and just simply settle into being the way she is?

This is a nice simple read to bring a trilogy of books about the Cosy Kettle to a conclusion, but for me this book was not my favourite of the three.

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

A Christmas Wish and a Cranberry Kiss at the Cosy Kettle is out now. 


The Child of Auschwitz – Lily Graham

How do you write a review for a book where you know pretty much what it is all about from the title? How do you write a review for a book about one of the most horrendous periods of history?

I approach this with such trepidation.

Eva boarded a train to Auschwitz she is looking for her husband of only six months. She wants to find him and she is going to hell on earth to do so. But is he there?

Sofie befriends Eva as they share a bed, what food they can get and the knowledge that they are goign through the same, shaved heads, back breaking labour and ultimately fear of death.

As Eva dreams of her husband, Sofie dreams of being reunited with her son.

As the days go on, Sofie sees an opportunity to bring happiness to Eva, but at what cost?

When Eva’s dreams come true the worse is still yet to come. Pregnant, Eva and Sofie now need to protect more than just themselves.

Will anyone survive the heartbreak of separation from the ones that they love?

This is an incredibly moving, researched, story that had me gasping in shock and with tears streaming down my face. The strength that these women went to, to survive makes our moans and groans of today’s world pale into comparison.

It is a fascinating read and brought such horror to life and I think a lot of people need to know what human beings are capable of, both good and evil.

This has to be Lily Graham’s best novel to date, the others were excellent but this seems to go above and beyond that.

A book worthy of your time to read.

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

The Child of Auschwitz is out now. 




Starlight over Bluebell Castle – Sarah Bennett

This is the final book in the this trilogy set in Bluebell Castle. I have previously described the novels as Antiques Roadshow meets Downton Abbey, with added Chelsea Flower Show and now we are going to add in a Winter Wonderland.

Everyone is back from the previous novels, Arthur and Lucie Ludworth current Baronet. Constance, Lucie’s mother and Lancelot, Arthur’s Uncle. The ever dominate presence of Aunt Morgana and her wisdom, along with Iggy and Will forging a life in London now her work at the castle is done and of course youngest sibling Tristan who is the main feature of this novel.

Tristan once met a girl at a party, she happened to then work with him but some very cruel remarks from someone else set that girl on a different path and Tristan never knew why she didn’t come back. But now she has.

That someone is Jess Ridley.

Life has happened to Jess, excelling at her career in events planning she has fitted in a marriage to the best friend of her brother and two sons.

But now all of that has changed, she has left her job, her marriage is over and she is looking for what she can do next. With two young boys in tow that might be more difficult than she thinks.

In steps Tristan with an offer come to Bluebell Castle for a few months, help in launch his Winter Wonderland and take the time to decide on what is best for her and her young sons.

That would be simple, if Jess did not have some feelings for Tristan and Tristan did not have feelings for Jess. It could become very complicated.

But the residents of Bluebell Castle embrace all who enter it and take Jessica and her sons into their home and their hearts. I so wanted to turn up and be embraced and welcomed and left alone to join in or not as the whimsy took me. And that is the second idea that Tristan and Jess have, a house party for Christmas at Bluebell Castle.

Christmas brings its own magic and can Jess really see herself with Tristan if she could perhaps trust not just him but her own heart?

What an excellent finish to a trilogy that I so want to go back and visit, but now I have left I know that all is well, that life will go on and everyone has found their happy ever after and they can deal with whatever life throws at them.

An excellent Christmas read which captures so many wonderful elements of Christmas but the most important one – being with people you love and cherish. That is the best gift of all.


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

Starlight at Bluebell Castle is published on 4 November. 


You can read all of Sarah Bennett’s other work here

Butterfly Cove Series

Sunrise at Butterfly Cove

Wedding Bells at Butterfly Cove

Christmas at Butterfly Cove

Lavender Bay Series

Spring at Lavender Bay

Summer at Lavender Bay

Snowflakes at Lavender Bay

Bluebell Castle Series

Spring Skies over Bluebell Castle

Sunshine over Bluebell Castle

Starlight over Bluebell Castle



Books · Jottings

October Roundup


Here we are again, the clocks have gone back, autumn is in full swing and the wonder that is Christmas is all over the place, including this book!

Another dose of antibiotics to fell a horse were consumed and it has been a bit of an up and down time overall for this month – a lot to contend with. I can tell the reading has been affected.

Nonetheless what have I read?

Let’s get the Christmas reading out of the way first – Caroline Roberts – Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry is a return to a book published earlier this year and is a delicious read if you want some comfort with your reading and with your puddings! I would like to go back and read some of Caroline’s earlier work as I think I would enjoy them.

The final part of the Bluebell Castle trilogy got devoured in less than 2 days – mainly because I want to move into the castle and be part of such a wonderful eclectic mix of people doing their own thing! Of course it was Christmas in Sarah Bennett – Starlight over Bluebell Castle and that just added to the magic even more.

Another book in a series that I have been with since the very beginning is Nancy Revell – Christmas with the Shipyard Girls. This is one of the best saga series out there and champion women in all the different roles they choose whilst the men are away at war. I await each book with anticipation and hope they continue.

It has been a while since I have read any Ellen Berry and I have since discovered that this is a pseudonym for Fiona Gibson.  Anyway I was taken to Snowdrops at Rosemary Cottage which was not quite full on Christmas as some books I have read lately.

Of course with all the Christmas and the lovely books I get the opportunity to read I do need to make a dent in what I have on shelves both actual and virtual which is why I picked up Liz Fenwick – The Cornish House, her books are a delight to read, this is an earlier work and great for anyone who is a fan of Cornwall as a backdrop for their stories.

Sue Perkins – East of Croydon was a Christmas present last year and has been sitting on the shelf. It is a record of her adventures to Asia and is a great accompaniment to the series she has made which I think are great fun to watch. Her humour is very unique and British and I think that is why she makes a good travel reporter as her delivery is spot on.  All read and another gap on the shelf!

As is there from Milly Johnson – The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew which was a recent buy and I have dipped in and out of this authors novels, as my whim takes me. This was quite powerful stuff and very apt for our current climate. I was rooting for Mrs Mayhew from the beginning and horrified that the people she was having to live with and deal with really do exist. We do not know what goes on behind closed doors.

Not knowing and suspicions leads me nicely into Agatha Christie – The Pale Horse which I think will be the BBC Christmas adaptation this year. I have seen then bizarre version with Miss Marple in (she does not appear in the book) and so I am intrigued as to how this will be portrayed. I wanted to read the book so I know I could do a good compare and contrast exercise with it. If you strip back the suspicions and the unknown – this is a really good mystery and a good example of Christie’s work that doesn’t feature her two main protagonists.

So that was October, I finish it reading Lily Graham’s new novel which is moving, powerful and heart wrenching that I have had to ration myself. So I picked up Belgravia, again sitting on my shelves for a while as I see this is going to be on ITV next year. More comparing and contrasting.

On with November.


GIVEAWAY – A Perfect Cornish Christmas

I have been sent a copy of this book by the publishers and am going to pass it on to one lucky reader.

The book opens at Christmas, Scarlett and her sister Ellie thought it would be great idea to find out more about their heritage. It isn’t the present that any of them were wanting. With her family fractured Scarlett runs away from the house and ends up in the local pub for the “Lunch for the Lonely”.

A moving read which eases you into your Christmas reading with great settings and great characters which capture your heart. A must for any fan of Ashley’s other works or discovering for the first time. A perfect read Christmas or not!

All you have to do is comment on this post before 23:59 on the 23rd November 2019 and your name will go into a hat and I will pick the winner on the 24th and they will be announced on the 25th November.

I will post abroad so if you are reading this blog and you are not in the UK you can still enter!

Good Luck!


Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry – Caroline Roberts

This is a lovely festive follow up to Rachel’s Pudding Pantry which was released earlier in the year.

Rachel is still at Primrose Farm and her Pudding Pantry has survived the busy summer period but as autumn sets in and Christmas looms, she is starting to worry that the money from the diversification is not going to see them through the winter months.

With some very quiet days to add to her worry there is also the fact that her ex seems to be more involved with someone new who happens to have a child, and interest in their little girl Maisie perhaps takes a back seat. Her romance with neighbouring farmer Tom seems to be going one step backwards rather than forwards and when someone from the past turns up it seems to put everything in jeopardy.

Of course nothing is going to be easy but an idea of starting a ‘Pudding Club’ to diversify and bring people together over a love of puddings and making friends makes the run up to Christmas less of a problem. With a Christmas Fayre, nativities and plenty of festive baking to fit in between running the farm she has perhaps taken on more than she can cope with.

When the weather takes a turn and her livestock are threatened she has to muster all the strength to not just save them but everything she loves as well.

It was lovely to return to the farm and see how Rachel and her family were moving on from the past and creating a rather different future. Rachel realises that time moves on and with it so do people and perhaps she needs to accept the change that his happening around her – it can only be for the good.

This is a great festive read and with the recipes punctuated throughout the novel it definitely sets you taste buds going. Makes you want to sit in front of a roaring fire and demolish a mince pie or two!

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

Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry is published on 31 October. 




Christmas with the Shipyard Girls – Nancy Revell

It doesn’t really matter that this book is a Christmas book, what matters is that I am back amongst the Shipyard Girls and I have been with them since the beginning. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if you read books out of series order, but to get the real benefit of this series I implore you to read from the beginning.

It is coming towards the end of 1942, Polly’s fiance has returned and is recuperating in hospital but not at the speed that he wants especially when all he wants to do is marry his sweetheart. Trouble is Polly suddenly seems reluctant, why would she not want the wedding she has always dreamed of?

Rosie’s sister, Charlotte is in Sunderland for good now. Trying to show her how tough life is in Sunderland and the threat of war has not worked on Charlotte and Rosie is resigned to the fact that she is goign to be a permanent fixture at home. How can Rosie keep her work at Lily’s a secret especially when Charlotte gets to know everyone quickly and ask a lot of awkward questions.

For Helen, once everyone’s enemy she is slowly being welcomed as a friend amongst the female welders. There are still plenty of secrets and Helen knows that the actions of her mother could upset a lot of people. But as she recovers from her own personal tragedy and her friendship with Dr Parker has its ups and downs, she recognises something in someone and she just cannot place what it is.

Of course we still hear all about Pearl, Bel and Joe, Gloria and Hope, Dorothy and Angie as well as the gentle soul of Hannah who starts to learn about what atrocities could be happening in Germany.

The shipyard is how all these women were brought together, where friendships as well as ships are forged and welded together and where all their strength is needed both mentally and physically to survive as the war rumbles along into 1943.

This is one of the best series of books I have read in a long time and is well written, well researched and deals with some tough subjects in such a sensitive manner that many a tear was shed in this particular novel.

Long may this author and these books continue!

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

Christmas with the Shipyard Girls is published on 31 October.


If you wish to read them in order:

  1. The Shipyard Girls
  2. Shipyard Girls at War
  3. Secrets of the Shipyard Girls
  4. Shipyard Girls in Love
  5. Victory for the Shipyard Girls 
  6. Courage of the Shipyard Girls 
  7. Christmas with the Shipyard Girls (review above)
  8. Triumph of the Shipyard Girls (March 2020)