Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance

Christmas at Rachel’s Pudding Pantry Caroline Roberts 5* #Review @0neMoreChapter_ @_caroroberts @fictionpubteam #Puddings #Northumberland #Festive #Recipes #FamilyDrama #Romance #BlogTour #BookReview

#ChristmasatRachelsPuddingPantry

Cosy up with the new novel in the Pudding Pantry series, full of love, laughter, kisses under the mistletoe, and plenty of delicious pudding!

The first snow is falling over Primrose Farm, the mince pies are warming, and Rachel can’t wait to share a kiss under the mistletoe with her gorgeous new flame, Tom.

If only it was all comfort and joy . . . The arrival of Tom’s ex brings an unwelcome chill to the farm. And despite Master Baker Mum Jill’s valiant efforts, the new pudding pantry business is feeling the pinch.

With a spoonful of festive spirit, a cupful of goodwill with friends, and her messy, wonderful family by her side, can Rachel make this a Christmas to remember?

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I received a copy of this book from Harper Collins UK – One More Chapter in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The Northumberland setting is perfect for a festive edition of the pudding pantry. It is idyllic in many ways, but this story serves up a healthy portion of real life, with its picture-postcard Christmassy setting, and lovely comforting puddings.

After finding friendship can turn to romance Rachel and Tom are hoping for some festive romance, but farming is hard particularly in the winter months, and the pudding pantry is not making enough money now the tourists have gone home. Long hours and financial worries, mean romance is low down on the list, and even time together is hard to find.

The reappearance of ex-partners ramps up the tension, and make a happy ever after for Rachel and Tom further away than ever. The strong relationship between Rachel and her mother, grandmother and young daughter is the foundation of this story and makes it such a pleasure to read.

The festive touches are lovely and coupled with the twelve, simple but delicious-sounding recipes, you can visualise Christmastime at Primose Farm.so well.

Resourcefulness and romance triumph in the perfect ending.

The Fourth Bake of Christmas

Blackberry and Apple Jam Sponge Pudding – Grandma Isabel’s Recipe, circa 1946
This handwritten poem had always been tucked into the Baking Bible as a loose-leaf next to a recipe of Rachel’s grandmother’s:

Autumn days, the sky a blue haze. Blackberry picking, Hedgerows thick with brambles, Watch out for the prickles. Purple-stained fingers and mouths, Ripe dark berries sweet with juice, Baskets laden. Ready for home, pass on to Mum, With crumbles, jams and puddings to come!

Recipe

100g/4oz self-raising flour

Pinch of salt 100g/4oz caster sugar

100g/4oz butter 2 eggs, beaten

2tbsp whole milk

45ml/3tbsp homemade or good quality Blackberry and Apple Jam

(or another flavour if you prefer)

Method

Sift flour and salt into a bowl. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs a little at a time with a spoonful of flour, beating well until eggs are mixed in. Fold in remaining flour alternately with the milk.
Grease and base-line a pudding basin, add the jam to the bottom. Spoon over the pudding mix up to ¾ full. Cover with buttered greaseproof paper, and secure with string. Using extra string to make a handle for ease of removal.
Steam for 1 ½ to 2 hours in a covered pan of boiling water, keeping water topped up to halfway up the pudding bowl sides, until a wooden skewer comes out clean at centre. Allow to stand for 3 minutes before turning out.

Delicious with custard or cream.

Image Credit Caroline Roberts

Caroline Roberts lives in the wonderful Northumberland countryside with her husband and credits the sandy beaches, castles and rolling hills around her as inspiration for her writing. She enjoys writing about relationships; stories of love, loss and family, which explore how beautiful and sometimes complex love can be. A slice of cake, glass of bubbly and a cup of tea would make her day – preferably served with friends! She believes in striving for your dreams, which led her to a publishing deal after many years of writing.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Mystery, Romance

A Perfect Cornish Christmas Phillipa Ashley 5* #Review @PhillipaAshley @AvonBooksUK #BlogTour #Festive #Cornwall #ChristmasRead #Friendship #Secrets #Lies #Love #Relationships #SecondChances #Festivals #BookReview #FamilyDrama

#APerfectCornishChristmas

Return to Porthmellow Harbour in this gorgeous festive romance.

Christmas in Cornwall is just around the corner…

But after last Christmas revealed a shocking family secret, Scarlett’s hardly feeling merry and bright. All she wants this Christmas is to know who her real father is.

So Scarlett heads to the little Cornish town of Porthmellow, where she believes the truth of her birth is hidden. She just didn’t bargain on being drawn into the Christmas festival preparations – or meeting Jude Penberth, whose charm threatens to complicate life further.

Everything will come to a head at Porthmellow’s Christmas Festival … But can Scarlett have the perfect Christmas this year, or are there more surprises on the way?

Curl up with this gorgeous novel and savour the world of Porthmellow Harbour.

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I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Christmas the time for family, friends, and memorable presents. Scarlett’s Christmas present last year resonates, but not in a good way. It revealed a family secret, and her family is still reeling from its impact.

She comes to Porthmellow Harbour to stay with her sister Ellie, and find some answers. Full of angst and family drama, this story follows Ellie and Scarlett as they both seek the happiness they deserve. The plot is full of clues, but like all good mysteries, most of these lead to nothing. It is poignant and sometimes humorous and full of romantic moments, It keeps you turning the pages, in anticipation right to the end, which is uplifting, whilst remaining believable.

The characters are full of flaws and so human, most of them are likeable, with one notable exception. This is a story of family, forgiveness and the importance of honesty.

The romance is gentle and full of conflicts, but both sisters have to learn to trust and accept, even the men of their dreams have flaws.

All the family drama plays out, in a lovely Cornish coastal setting, and the excitement and uniqueness of a pagan style festival.

A lovely, Cornish Christmas tale that leaves you feeling festive.

Phillipa Ashley

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Phillipa Ashley is the author of a string of Amazon Top 10 and Bookseller Heatseekers N best-selling Cornish novels. Before she became a full-time writer, she studied English at Oxford and worked as a copywriter and journalist.

She also writes rom coms as Ashley Croft and steamy romance as Pippa Croft.

She lives in a Staffordshire village with her husband and has a grown-up daughter. When she’s not writing, she loves falling off surfboards and following Poldark around in a camper van.

Her latest release is A Perfect Cornish Summer is out now and is an Amazon Top 15 and Heatseekers number 1 best seller.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Friendship, Romantic Comedy

Anything for Love Gracie Bond 4* #Review #RomCom @gracie_author @rararesources #BlogTour #Whitby #Family #Humour

Leah Jensen, Yorkshire lass born and bred, needs money and she’ll do anything – yes, anything – to get it. Her Grandad Thomas is in pain and the cost of an operation on his bad knee is way beyond the family’s means. Leah tries everything to earn the fee – but in the end, and like so many before her, she turns to the world’s oldest profession.
Madam Butterfly’s exclusive escort agency in London is a different world to where Leah comes from. In Whitby, the sea air is sweet, and legends of Dracula jostle with jet-mining and whaling history; it’s a place where dog lovers meet and tourists come to marvel at the views.
Leah may be out of her comfort zone, but one daring, brief encounter will bring many surprises in this memorable romantic comedy full of pithy Yorkshire humour.

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I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a humorous, romantic story, with complex characters, and a lovely northern ethos. Whilst there are aspects of this story that I love, there are a few I don’t. Some of the attitudes jar with twenty-first-century thinking. The length of the story is longer than it needs to be. It is written with maximum visual imagery, so the pace carries it along, despite the length, but a shorter story would work better. Most of the characters work well, but a few stereotypical traits are in evidence.

On the positive side, this is a heartwarming, humorous and hectic story, with a lovely main protagonist, Leah, and a cast of varied and interesting characters to compliment her. This is pure escapist reading, providing you accept this, it will be an enjoyable experience. There are many mentions of James Bond, and there are aspects of the story that mirror these stories, the intrepid heroine, the quirky sidekicks, and over the top villains, for example.

If you’re expecting to spend your time in Whitby, you may be disappointed, the historic seaside town does feature, but there is more action elsewhere. I would love to spend more time in the dog-friendly cafe.

An ideal read if you’re looking for something different in the romantic comedy genre.

#GracieBond

Gracie Bond loves a good romantic comedy, either to read or to watch on Netflix. Her favourite go-to novel is (Pride and Prejudice)- and she’s always happy to watch (Bridgett Jonesany time of the day.

Among Gracie’s interests are Newfoundland dogs, horses, and handsome Yorkshire men. Her idea of fun would be to ride a spirited horse along a Northumberland beach, followed by a pack of her favourite dogs.

Gracie lives in Yorkshire with her partner John and she has close connections with Whitby, the setting for this novel. 

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Posted in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Romance, Romantic Comedy

Snowflakes Over Holly Cove Lucy Coleman 5*#Review @LucyColemanAuth @Aria_Fiction #festive #ChristmasRead #RomCom #Family #Friends #Author #Interview #BookReview #BlogTour

#SnowflakesOverHollyCove

As the snowflakes start to fall, Holly Cove welcomes a new tenant to the beautiful old cottage on the beach…

For lifestyle magazine journalist Tia Armstrong, relationships, as well as Christmas, have lost all their magic. Yet Tia is up against a Christmas deadline for her latest article ‘Love is, actually, all around…’

So, Tia heads to Holly Cove where the restorative sea air and rugged stranger, Nic, slowly but surely start mending her broken heart. Tia didn’t expect a white Christmas, and she certainly never dared dream that all her Christmas wishes might just come true…

Set in Caswell Bay on the stunningly beautiful Gower Coast, the cottage nestles amid the limestone cliffs and the woodlands, where the emotions run as turbulently as the wind-swept sea.

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I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

If, like me, you’re a reader who likes to empathise with the story’s characters, feel every emotion, and experience something magical as you turn the pages this is the story for you.

Christmas has always been important to Tia, even when her life is hard, Christmas is time to celebrate and escape. After the death of her mother, Tia struggles to come to terms with her loss. Her job is busy, and she hopes this will get her through the grief that threatens to destroy her. Her latest assignment has her living in a picture-perfect cottage by the sea, the setting is breathtaking, and straight away she feels its healing presence. Life gets complicated, and she still has Christmas to face, but will Tia emerge stronger at the end of this experience?

The vividly described coastal setting comes alive the first time Tia visits the beach you can feel the sea spray on your face and appreciate the power of the sea. The characters are varied and realistically portrayed, you can imagine having a conversation with them. The perfectly orchestrated romance is lovely and gentle and full of magic in this poignant, story of coming to terms with life’s setbacks and valuing family and friendships. There are many lighthearted moments to offset the heartaches, rather like life itself.

A festive read that you can enjoy all year long with characters to treasure in a perfect Christmas card setting.

Interview Questions  – Lucy Coleman – Snowflakes Over Holly Cove

Do you enjoy writing festive stories?  If so why?

I’m lucky enough to have some truly wonderful childhood memories of Christmastime and when I had a family of my own, naturally I wanted my boys to have that, too. So, after I married, the wider family always came to our house. One year we even had to take off a door and turn it into a makeshift second table to fit everyone in! Memories like that are why I love it whenever Christmas features in a story of mine – it’s a magical time.

Festive stories are often written out of season, to fit in with publishing schedules, how do you get in the festive mood in the Summertime?

It’s always Christmas in my heart, so it’s easy. This summer I’ve been walking around singing and humming Christmas tunes as I write my Christmas 2020 novel. My family don’t think that’s strange for me. It does, however, see me counting down the months and wishing I could pop up to the loft and get out the trimmings!

What inspired you to write this story?

Whilst Holly Cove is a fictional place, the setting is real. Walking the headland between Caswell Bay and Langland Bay on the Gower coast is where I go to de-stress and relax. My husband and I stayed there in an apartment overlooking the sea almost ten years ago now and felt a real connection to the place. Like a spiritual home. On one of our walks, the idea popped into my head and when I sat down to write it, it virtually wrote itself.

When you write, what comes first, the characters, the plot or the setting? Why do you think this is?

It varies. My ideas are usually inspired by a one-liner thought. For Snowflakes over Holly Cove, it was the setting and the sense of healing I always feel whenever I’m in Caswell Bay. I found myself imagining a cottage, nestled in a tiny cove beyond the bay. Tia Armstrong’s story is about learning to focus on the happiness life can bring and the way a community pulling together has the power to heal. Kindness is all around us, but at Christmastime, many people go out of their way to share the joy. And that’s special.

What are the best things about Christmas for you? Is there anything about the festive season you don’t like? Why is this?

I love trimming up. Our trimmings are new, though, as on a recent house move some black sacks containing them were mistaken for rubbish and taken to the tip! It was gutting at the time, although most of the hand-made decorations made by our boys when they were young had already been handed back to them to grace their own trees.

So, it was new house, new decorations and as I’m not one to get attached to things, it simply meant a hurried trip to the shops. I’m rather minimalist, anyway, so it didn’t break the bank.

However, I’m not big on Christmas presents, to be very honest with you. I think it’s great for the kids and I love shopping for them – that’s a big part of my Christmas buzz. But as for the adults, I’d rather give money so they can treat themselves.

What sort of books do you enjoy reading and why?

Having a hectic writing schedule, I don’t get as much time to read these days as I would like. But when I do relax with a book it has to have that ‘feel-good’ factor. With bad news constantly grabbing the headlines these days, the good news is often side-lined. I’m all about good karma and positivity, as a reminder that the good outweighs the bad. Acts of kindness are an inspiration and I’m all for a happy ending. There truly are a lot of those out there in real life and that’s a cause to celebrate!

What are you currently writing?

I’m a third of the way through my 2020 Christmas novel, so I’m in my happy place. But having flown off to Lisbon in May, that story is clamouring to be written. I need to keep stopping to scribble notes, as a new set of characters are making quite a bit of noise in my head. Guess I’m just going to have to write quicker!

Thank you so much for the invite, Jane – it’s always a real pleasure to be here!

#LucyColeman

Lucy lives in the Forest of Dean in the UK with her lovely husband and Bengal cat, Ziggy. Her novels have been shortlisted in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Lucy won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award

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Posted in Book Review, Family Drama, Friendship, Romance

The Last Day of Winter Shari Low 5*#Review @Aria_Fiction @sharilow #serendipity #romance #relationships #Winter #family #friends #BlogTour #BookReview #PublicationDay #GuestPost

#TheLastDayofWinter

One December wedding. One runaway bride. One winter’s day to bring everyone together again.

Today is the day Caro and Cammy are due to walk up the aisle. But Caro’s too caught up in the trauma of her past to contemplate their happy ever after.

Stacey’s decision to return from L.A. is fuelled by one thing – telling Cammy how she feels before it’s too late.

Wedding planner, Josie, needs to sort the whole mess out, but she’s just been dealt some devastating news. Can she get through the day without spilling her secret? On a chilly winter’s day, they have twenty-four hours to prove that love can lead the way to a brighter future…

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I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review,

My Thoughts…

The last book in a memorable series is full of family and friends. Humour, lies and poignancy. Romance, secrets and serendipity. It all comes together beautifully.

Four lives change on one fateful day. The characters are complex and relatable. Like old friends you want them to work out their conflicts and get the best out of their lives.

Told from multi-points of view, you follow each character. The plot has many twists and turns. The reader is on an emotional rollercoaster throughout. The ending makes it all worthwhile, happy and hopeful.

A lovely winter escape, in a vibrant contemporary setting.

Guest Post – Shari Low – The Last Day of Winter

When I was a teenager, I used to think that by the time I was an adult, I’d have life all figured out. I’d know what I was doing. I’d be sorted. I’d exist in a bubble of confidence and be sure of my destiny. I might even be – shock – wise.

Now? My grey hairs are running riot. A new wrinkle pops up every morning. Several sections of my body are in a landslide situation.

And most of the time, I still have absolutely no idea what’s going on and what’s around the corner.

But the silver lining to this cloud of unpredictability?

I can share it with the characters in my books.

The Last Day In Winter follows four lives that are precariously balancing on shifting sands.  

It opens on the day Caro is supposed to marry Cammy, but she wakes up that morning with two things on her mind – a thumping hangover and a sinking realisation that she can’t go through with the wedding.

Meanwhile, two planes carrying a whole heap of turmoil touch down at Glasgow airport.

Arriving from Spain is Seb, who has just found out his ex-girlfriend had a child called Caro nine months later. Could he really have a daughter he knew nothing about?

And from LA, TV presenter Stacey has one thing on her mind – telling Cammy that he’s making a mistake marrying Caro.  

The one person who will always have Caro’s back is her friend and wedding planner, Josie. But Josie has just been dealt her own life-changing blow that morning so she has her own troubles to sort out.

Caro. Seb. Stacey. Josie. Over the course of the day, their lives will twist and turn, their fates will collide and we’ll see that just like real life, none of them has it all sussed. None of them knows what’s around the corner.

The only thing they know for sure is that everything will have changed by the time they go to sleep on The Last Day of Winter.

The Last Day Of Winter will be published by Aria on Oct 3rd.

Shari Low is the No1 best-selling author of over 20 novels, including One Day In Winter, A Life Without You, The Story Of Our Life, With Or Without You, Another Day In Winter and her latest release, This Is Me

And because she likes to over-share toe-curling moments and hapless disasters, she is also the shameless mother behind a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. 
Once upon a time she met a guy, got engaged after a week, and twenty-something years later she lives near Glasgow with her husband, a labradoodle, and two teenagers who think she’s fairly embarrassing except when they need a lift.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Christmas Read, Family Drama, Festive Read, Holiday Romance, Romance

Wrapped Up For Christmas Katlyn Duncan 4*#Review @katlyn_duncan @HQDigitalUK #festiveread #NewEngland #SecondChances #Family #Friendsahip #Romance #Christmas #PublicationDay #BlogTour #BookReview

#WrappedUpForChristmas

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… but not for Angie Martinelli…

Having lost her boyfriend, job, and apartment all in the space of a week, Angie has no choice but to leave California and return to her family in New England.

 Determined not to let life weigh her down, Angie finds work at the local mall where she worked as a teenager. After an embarrassing run-in with a handsome stranger, Nick, she’s convinced her luck is about to change.

But Nick has secrets of his own…  and as the first flakes of snow begin to fall, Angie can’t help but wonder if she’ll ever find love.

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I received a copy of this book from HQ Digital UK via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

A second chance romance with the lovely festive backdrop of New England. Angie never thought she go back east, but when her life implodes thanks to her cheating ex, she has little choice. Moving in with mum and dad is not ideal, not to mention overcrowded, so she needs a plan. Nick’s life is far from easy, but a serendipitous meeting with Angie, maybe just what he needs, but is it really?

This is a story of family and friendships, secrets and lies, with a small town ethos. The romance is gentle and slow, both are hurting, and they have many conflicts to overcome. Thankfully, this is a heartwarming festive read and so the ending is hopeful and romantic.

The perfect escapist read, full of family drama, interference and love, good friends, and a chance to start again for Angie and Nick.

#KatlynDuncan

Coming from a small town in Western Massachusetts, Katlyn Duncan always had her head in the clouds. Working as a scientist for most of her adult life, she enjoyed breaking down the hows and whys of life. This translated into her love of stories and getting into the minds of her characters.

Currently, she’s a full-time author and freelance writer. When she’s not writing, she’s obsessing over many (many) television series’.

She currently resides in Southern New England with her family. Check out more about her writing and current TV addiction in her newsletter, and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter!

SCBWI & RWA Member.

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome, so long as The Book Depository delivers to your country.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Posted in Author Guest Post, Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama, Festive Read, Friendship, Parenting and Famlies

One Day In Winter Shari Low 5*#Review @Aria_Fiction @HoZ_Books @sharilow #festive #relationships #serendipity #marriage #parents #children #secrets #lies #Paperback

#OneDayInWinter
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I received a copy of this book from Aria – Head of Zeus Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

I love stories that have an element of serendipity, and this story of four people, seemingly unconnected, is an engaging read. It follows Caro, Cammy, Lila and Bernadette through 24 hours just before Christmas. Some of the characters feature in other books, so if you are a fan of this author, like me, you may recognise them.

The day is divided into time slots, and each of the four main protagonists has a chapter within. As the story progresses, the reader realises they are connected, and eventually so do they. All of the main characters are complex and realistic. Some have more flaws than others, but they are all relatable, and most are easy to empathise.

The plot is cleverly written, it all fits together and the coincidences are realistic. Coupled with the beautifully written characters, the emotion and poignancy of the story make this is a page-turner that you won’t easily, put down.

The ending is satisfying, it fits, and everyone gets the outcome they deserve.

Guest Post – Christmas Blog Shari Low – One Day In Winter

Confession time! I’m one of those people who has a Countdown To Christmas clock and I check it regularly. Please don’t judge me. I know that I’m supposed to harrumph in disapproval at the frivolity and commercialisation of the festive season, but the truth is I love every flashing-elf-hat, neon-reindeer-on-my-roof, pass-me-a-red-hankie-because-I’m-going-to-watch-It’s-A-Wonderful-Life moment of it.

I embrace the tat and naffness of the season because I absolutely believe that there is no day that isn’t made better by a Santa snow globe.

On the first of December, I break out my favourite Christmas sweatshirt – the one that announces in large letters that I’m a Gangsta Wrapper.

I know the names of all the reindeers: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen, Rudolph, Argos, Visa and Mastercard.

And now that my two little yuletide thespians have flown the nest (one who delivered a memorable performance as the third sheep from the left, and the other who had a starring role as that well known Biblical character, Humph the Camel), the younger members of my extended family know that I’m a shoo-in for a ticket and some enthusiastic audience participation if they invite me to their nativity play.

But my very favourite pastime during the season of goodwill? Deck the halls with big blooming piles of Christmas novels.

When I decided to write my first December-time book, One Day In Winter, I knew that I wanted to write stories that came together like a big pile of surprises under a tree. 

The novel follows four characters over the course of a 24 hour period on the Friday before Christmas. Caro sets off on a quest to find out if her relationship with her father has been based on a lifetime of lies. Lila decides to tell her lover’s wife of their secret affair. Cammy is on the way to pick up the ring for a proposal to the woman he loves. And Bernadette vows to walk away from her controlling husband of 30 years. As the hours’ pass, their lives intertwine and connections are revealed, with lots of shocks, twists and dramas along the way.

When it first came out in ebook, One Day In Winter was a number one bestseller, so I’m thrilled that it’s now being released in a glossy, shiny, gorgeous paperback.

I hope readers will love it because it makes them laugh, cry and captivates them from beginning to end.

And the extra little gift that the book delivers?

After the last page is turned, it makes the perfect stand for that Santa snow globe.

One Day In Winter is published by Aria in ebook and paperback.

Extract From One Day In Winter – Shari Low

When Gran and Granda passed away, their house had been left jointly to Mum and her sister, Auntie Pearl. When Auntie Pearl married and moved out, they’d worked out a rental agreement and Mum had stayed behind, living on her own until she’d met Jack Anderson at college, got pregnant, married him and he’d carried her over the threshold into the home she’d already lived in for twenty-two years.

Not that Caro could ever remember him being there full-time. He probably was for the first few years, but then he’d capitalised on the oil boom, and ever since then he’d been gone more than he’d been home. Some months he’d be home for a few days, sometimes two weeks, rarely more. She’d never felt neglected or that she was losing out in any way. It was what she’d always been used to and, as Mum always said, just one of the sacrifices they had to make because Dad had a Very Important Job.

The payback for the sacrifice? A couple of years ago, just as her parents should have been starting to contemplate cruises and bucket lists for their early retirement, Jack Anderson had walked out of the door to go to his Very Important Job and he’d never come back.

Caro felt the familiar inner rage start to build now and she squashed it back down. He’d left them a week before her thirtieth birthday, so she was old enough to process her parents splitting up by some mutual consent. Yet she couldn’t. Because it wasn’t mutual and he’d bolted when her mother had needed him most, walked out to a new life and he hadn’t looked back.

For a long time, Caro didn’t understand why.

Only now, did she realise that on the Importance scale, the job was up there with his Very Important Secret.

Maybe.

She still didn’t believe it to be true.

She must be wrong.

Mistaken identity.

Surely?

Yet, here she was, sitting on a train, on a cold December morning, on her way to Glasgow.

She pulled her iPad out of her satchel, logged on to the train’s Wi-Fi, then flicked on to the Facebook page she’d looked at a thousand times in the last few weeks.

It was one of those coincidental flukes that had taken her to it in the first place.

It had been late at night, and she’d been sitting beside her mum’s bed in the hospital, feeling like she’d been battered by the storm that was raging outside. She shouldn’t even have been there because it was outside of visiting time, but the nurses overlooked her presence because her mum was in a private room at the end of a corridor, and they made exceptions when it came to patients at this stage in their lives. Yvonne’s eyes were closed, her body still, but Caro wanted to stay, whether Yvonne knew she was there or not. It was the first night of the October school holiday, so she didn’t have to get up early to be the responsible Miss Anderson for a class of eleven-year-olds the next morning.

Instead, she could just be Caro, sitting there passing the time catching up with Facebook. She only dipped in and out of it every few weeks, caught up with a Carpool Karaoke, the launch of a new book, or maybe a movie trailer.

A promotional link appeared for the new Simple Minds tour, twenty dates around the country, yet another band riding the nostalgic affection for the eighties and nineties.

Before she could stop it, the opening bars of Jim Kerr’s voice belting out ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ flooded her head and she felt the bite of a sharp-toothed memory. Her dad had been a big fan, their music playing alongside Oasis and Blur on his CD player when he was home or in the car on the few mornings he was around to take her to school, and that had been his favourite song.

The irony in the title didn’t escape her. Don’t You Forget About Me. If only she could forget he ever existed, then she wouldn’t have to deal with the soul-sucking fury that he wasn’t here.

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Shari Low is the No1 best-selling author of over 20 novels, including One Day In Winter, A Life Without You, The Story Of Our Life, With Or Without You, Another Day In Winter and her latest release, This Is Me

And because she likes to over-share toe-curling moments and hapless disasters, she is also the shameless mother behind a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. 
Once upon a time she met a guy, got engaged after a week, and twenty-something years later she lives near Glasgow with her husband, a labradoodle, and two teenagers who think she’s fairly embarrassing except when they need a lift.