I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This is an interesting insight into a love triangle relationship. Alice and Kai are together, having been friends since childhood. Alice has lived and worked in the coastal town where she lives all her life. Kai, a freelancer works away, but always comes home to Alice. He wants to make them official, Alice resists, she needs her independence. Mia arrives home from her travels and a chance meeting with Alice, causes her to question everything.
This is an emotional story from three points of view. The reader is drawn into the web of tangled emotions, and you empathise, with all of them, because of their youth and naivety. The conclusion is well written and ties up the story in a believable and emotionally satisfying way.
“I’m Gemma Roman.
I have pretty much always been a bookworm.
I always loved reading, writing and the creative arts, and also
enjoyed dancing which led me to study for a degree in Dance Studies when I
was at University. Following graduation, I worked in retail and became
interested in the wealth of characters that I came across daily while
working in customer service.
I’d had a few ideas rumbling around in my head for a while, and so
spent a few years writing my first novel in my spare time. I finally managed to
release it in June 2016, and am now planning for the release of my new book
‘All At Sea’, which is due out in 2019.
Popular lifestyle blogger, Libby Cartwright, is being boggled by business when help shows up in the shape of gorgeous but shy, Charlie Richmond. Libby’s determined to keep it at ‘just good friends’ – she’s dated someone from ‘Corporate Land’ before and it didn’t end well. As she and Charlie begin spending more time together, Libby is starting to waver – until she discovers something which makes her question if she’s ready for love.
Still reeling, she suffers another blow as her blog is attacked in a national newspaper, for promoting unachievable perfection. Libby knows it’s not true – but the only way to prove that is to strip off the armour she’s been wearing for years.
Is she brave enough to show the world she’s far from perfect? And will Charlie be by her side if she does…
‘That’s it! I am totally going to
jail. I’m going to get it wrong, owe thousands, not be able to pay, and go to
jail!’ I flung myself backwards with an overly dramatic sigh and lay sprawled
on the paperwork I had been looking at. ‘And seriously? Me in an orange
jumpsuit? I don’t care how on trend they are; I could never pull that off!
Orange is so not my colour.’
Amy topped up her wine glass before reaching a hand down to
grab my arm, tugging me in the direction of the sofa. I slid along the floor
for a few moments in my prone position, like some sort of beached, four-legged
starfish, until I eventually bumped into the furniture.
‘I think that’s more America, hon,’ she said, yanking me
upwards. ‘I’m not sure what ours are like. Something much more subtle, I
expect. And don’t worry. I’ll hide a file inside the first cake I bring you.
You’ll be out in no time.’
I paused in my clambering from the floor onto the sofa, and
gave her a look. She made a sawing motion with one hand, accompanied by an
over-exaggerated wink as she held out my wine glass. Flopping onto the couch, I
took the glass and swigged a large mouthful, before laying my head back onto
the soft cushions.
‘Seriously though. I really don’t know what I’m doing with
this. I thought I was handling all this business stuff OK until now.’
‘And you are!’ Amy interjected. ‘Your blog is doing
amazingly well! I can’t believe the difference in a year – it’s incredible!
Seriously, Libs, you should really be proud of yourself.’
I sighed. ‘Thanks, Ames. And I am, and of Tilly. I couldn’t
have done it without her. But I’m so frustrated! I’ve taken on this insane
learning curve and, for the most part, got the hang of things. I think. But
this?’ I kicked a piece of paper with my bare toes. ‘This, I just cannot get my
head round! Why does tax have to be so bloody complicated? They send you this
stuff so that you are supposedly able to do it yourself, but write it in the
most confusing language possible! How is that even remotely helpful?’
Amy just shook her head and took another sip of wine.
‘So, what are you going to do?’
‘I don’t know. I guess I need to start looking for an
accountant.’ I twiddled the wine glass stem in my hand.
Amy leant over and bumped her head gently on my shoulder.
‘You know; it is OK to ask people for help sometimes. We can’t all be amazing
at everything. Creating all this in such a short space of time is brilliant,
Libby. Finding that you need some extra expertise in one area is perfectly
acceptable, and perfectly normal.’
‘I guess.’ I put the glass down. ‘Before I forget, I have
something for you.’
Immediately, Amy sat up straighter in anticipation and her
eyes watched me as I crossed to the other side of the room and picked up a
small, but fancy, cardboard bag with intricately twisted rope handles and a
swirly script logo on the side. Walking back over to the sofa, I plopped the
bag down on Amy’s lap.
‘Did I ever tell you that going for it with this lifestyle
blog business is the best thing that you’ve ever done?’
I laughed. ‘You just like the freebies.’
‘True,’ Amy agreed, before letting out an ‘ooh’ of pleasure
at the eyeshadow palette and perfume she’d just pulled out of the bag.
‘But thanks anyway.’
time. Oh!’ Amy’s eyes shone like those of a child who’d just won pass the
parcel. ‘Really? I can have this?’ Without waiting for confirmation, Amy began
excitedly spritzing the exclusive new perfume copiously on pretty much every
pulse point she could reach, including mine.
I lifted my wrist up to take another waft of the fragrance. It really was
gorgeous. I smiled as my friend rummaged in the bag, unwrapping the various
goodies from their pretty tissue-paper packaging. The cosmetic companies often
sent more samples than I could possibly use so I always made sure my assistant got
some to review and regularly ran giveaways on the blog, as a thank you to my
readers. But occasionally I still had extra goodies left over. Amy always loved
a good freebie so when I had something spare, it meant I got to make my best
As the fumes of Amy’s fragrance enthusiasm began getting a
little pungent, I pushed myself up and padded over to the doors that led out
onto the balcony. Grabbing the handle, I slid the door to the side.
Immediately, a warm breeze rushed in from the sea, dissipating the perfume, and
bringing with it the screech of seagulls intertwined with chatter and laughter
from the nearby bars and restaurants in the marina. I stepped out, grabbing a
wide-brimmed, slightly battered straw hat off the nearby console table, and took
a seat on one of the two wooden steamer chairs that resided on my balcony. Amy
followed me out, wine glass in hand, the gift bag now swinging off her wrist.
If I was honest, the furniture was a squeeze and a trendy
little bistro set would have been a better, more sensible option. I’d made the
classic mistake of ‘guesstimating’ that they would fit perfectly on the
balcony. They didn’t and I’d ended up building them in situ like some sort of
furniture Jenga, which had proved to be the only way of getting them both to
fit on there. But I loved them. I didn’t want a trendy little bistro set. The
loungers were super comfy with full-length padded cushions, and reclined just
enough without touching the glass. I could sit out here and read in comfort,
watching the boats sway and bob gently in the marina, listening as the sound of
waves bumping against the harbour wall carried across the water. Even in
winter, when the wind howled and the sea reared up before crashing down
forcefully onto the nearby beach, I would happily sit out here, wrapped up
against the cold, just absorbing it all.
There was definitely no need for coats and scarves this
evening. It seemed that spring had decisively handed off the baton early to
summer and the new season was away and running. The evening was warm and the
breeze soft as Amy and I, now having inelegantly climbed onto our respective
loungers, sat back and sighed happily.
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
A lovely, slow to ignite friends to lovers and opposites attract romance, in a contemporary setting. Libby is a lifestyle blogger, whose popularity is now making her serious money. Worried about tax issues she eagerly accepts Charle, a friend of a friend’s offer to look over her accounts, She is accident-prone, bubbly and creative, the antithesis of Charlie who is climbing up the corporate ladder and is introverted,
Mutual attraction, proximity. and an unanswered need for someone special in their lives draws the couple together. Firstly into friendship and after much ado, romance. Both are reticent about commitment and their self-worth making them more alike than they first appear.
Libby experiences some of the negative aspects of celebrity status and social media and wants to prove that her blog is a true reflection of her and not a facsimile. Doing this is risky both from a business point of view and personally, and she wonders if people will like the true Libby, with #NoFilter.
This story has a likeable rom-com element and complex realistic protagonists. The romance is very slow-paced. which some will find frustrating.
There is also a message about the power of social media, and how it affects those who live their lives on it. There is a significant move away now, from unrealistic and negative media portrayals of self-image, especially for the young. Maybe its time for us to be more circumspect about what we share of our lives, and not try and constantly strive for an unrealistic ideal, that is probably not even real anyway?
A gently romantic, thought-provoking read.
Guest Post – Inspiration for #No Filter – Maxine Morrey
I wasn’t an early embracer of the whole social media scene. I joined Twitter to see what it was about but didn’t really use it, barely going on it. Facebook had never had any appeal for me, but writing full time meant having a ‘business’ presence on there was kind of required.
Instagram, however, was a different matter for me.
As a photography fan, this platform appealed as a place to share and view
interesting pictures, and perhaps connect with others who shared similar interests.
It still took me a while, joining four years after its launch. But it was really
about the opportunity to practice photography skills and share them. I wasn’t
bothered about the Like count. It was just fun. And I think this was true of a
lot of users at this time. That was the point – just having fun.
But somewhere along the line, things seem to have become a bit skewed. And there are times when it’s not fun at all– in fact, it’s the very opposite. Some users are experiencing a lack of self-worth, jealousy, violence, self-harm and heartbreakingly, even suicide. It was actually this side of things that gave me the inspiration for the book that would become #NoFilter.
Bearing in mind I write romcoms, I can see that this isn’t exactly what people would call a perfect match. But this is what many people miss about the romance genre – especially the critics, the majority of whom have never even dipped a toe into the scene before dismissing it as unworthy of their, or anyone else’s attention. Many romcoms and romances tackle subjects which are quite serious, but they do it in a way that makes it accessible, and relatable. Yes, my books have a non-negotiable happy ending but that doesn’t mean the characters have led Pollyanna lifestyles. There’s more to these books than meet the eye if people bother to look.
The spark for #NoFilter was reading a report about the increase in reports of self-harm since the advent of social media, and how the growth of the two correlated. This was both shocking and saddening. We’ve all heard of cyberbullying and trolling and how intrusive that can be, especially to school-age children. Once our home was a sanctuary away from the school bullies. Now, unless you’re offline entirely – something that seems almost impossible, if not anathema to a generation who were practically born with a mobile phone in their hand – it’s very hard to get away from.
But it’s not just others who bully. And you certainly don’t have to be of school age to be a victim. Sometimes the biggest bully is the one inside our head, and unfortunately, social media, especially the image focused channels have only given these more power. These problems are not exclusively female either. Men are certainly not immune to doubting their self-worth, but there has always been an added pressure on women when it comes to how they present themselves and how others perceive them.
Once it was the glossy magazines being berated for presenting aspirational images impossible to actually achieve. Not because there aren’t women just as stylish, intelligent and beautiful out there. But because the images laid in front of us weren’t genuine. The real person- a model, a woman already been singled out for her aesthetically pleasing appearance – has been made up, dressed and photographed in the most flattering way possible. And then begins hours of photo editing. In some cases, four or five different women are amalgamated to make one ‘perfect’ one. No wonder we feel like we’re not good enough – the image we’re aspiring to sometimes isn’t even one person! Even children aren’t immune from the photo editing suite – what sort of message that sends, I hate to contemplate.
So, battling against these perfect images on the
newsstand was bad enough but in the back of our minds, many of us knew these
were tweaked and toned and literally, perfected. But somehow, when it comes to
social media, we seem to forget. All of a sudden there are these ‘normal’ women
– not movie stars, or models – just regular women looking absolutely flawless.
And that seems a lot more real than the glossy magazines. Which is a lot more
The truth is a vast majority of the images on Instagram are not real. They’re just as fake as the magazines. The amount of photo editing apps available is staggering, with an enormous number dedicated specifically to selfies. It’s basically plastic surgery for your photograph and it can get addictive. When selfies are continuously filtered and edited, they are a representation of that person – but most certainly not that person. However, as we scroll through, seeing one perfect face and body after another, that logic doesn’t always make it through and instead, our own self-worth takes a mental pounding. That’s the danger and it’s only getting worse.
Social media is not a bad thing. It’s supposed to be
fun, and it can be. It can also be supportive. Being a writer is a very
solitary job, but social media has enabled me to be in contact with others in
the same position and being able to gain and give support via these platforms
is brilliant. The same goes for hobbies – you might not know anyone in your
‘real’ life that finds the same things as you interesting but social media
enables you to find a community and I know people who have made long and strong
friendships via it. It’s not evil. But it does need to be used with caution.
No one is perfect. But you are perfect as you are. If there’s anything that’s making you doubt that, then it may be time to do a bit of detoxing. Accounts that make you question your self-worth need to go. Press that unfollow and feel the pressure lift. Find the next one and do the same, and the next.
Replace these accounts with others that don’t adhere
to the editing obsession and instead bring you joy. They’re just as interesting
and encourage a world and a belief that is far, far more
Maxine Morrey is a bestselling romantic comedy author with eight books to her name including Winter’s Fairytale and the top ten hit The Christmas Project. She lives in West Sussex. Her first novel for Boldwood, #No Filter, will be published in November 2019.
GRACIE PORTER’S LIFE IS IN A TANGLE. HER TELEVISION COOKERY SHOW IS FLAILING AND HER BOYFRIEND’S AFFECTIONS ARE WANING. IT’S TIME FOR A CHANGE…
friend Faith rescues her place on the small screen when she unwittingly lands
them both starring roles in a steamy spin-off that becomes an instant hit. The
new show is more about relationships, sex and stonking big vegetables than
in a fluctuating crush on her surprisingly irresistible agent, Harry Hipgrave,
an unlikely friendship with a pair of D-list models and a gossip journalist
intent on making her life miserable, Grace wonders if becoming famous is all
it’s cracked up to be?
I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Definitely a story for lovers of celebrity and reality TV.
‘Look at me Now’, follows Gracie’s exploits as a celebrity chef on day time television, new owners and a tired show mean either change or unemployment. Gracie and Faith come up with a topical slant to make the show a twenty-first-century hit. What happens next pushes Gracie, who is a typical rom-com heroine, likeable and naive, well out of her comfort zone. Can she do it? Well, you’ll have to read it and see.
There is genuine humour in this story, plenty of romantic and work-based angst and conflict, and a gentle romance. The cast of characters are vividly written, and most avoid becoming stereotypical. The writing style is inclusive and informal and makes this an easy, escapist read. Short chapters keep it well-paced.
If you like a romantic comedy with a contemporary twist, this is an enjoyable read.
Extract from – Look At Me Now – Simone Goodman
‘Oops!’ Rushing into the television
station where I work, escaping the demonic gale that’s sweeping across London
this morning, I slide delicately across the wet tiles inside the entrance.
I say delicately. But it’s more hope that I look like an
accomplished ice skater as I clumsily regain my balance. Being a healthy size
14 – I don’t consider myself fat, I’m just not reed thin – there’s a risk I’ve
come off more like a comedian on a banana skin. Thankfully, no one other than Mitzi,
our receptionist, is here to hold me accountable.
‘Golly, Gracie, are you okay?’ Mitzi calls from across the
foyer, where she’s sitting behind the front desk, most likely reading a script.
‘I’m okay, Mitzi.’ By all accounts, my near miss looked
distinctly less than elegant. Laughing, I steady myself on the death-tiles. It
could have been worse. I could have toppled right over my own feet.
It’s only a short few hundred metres dash from Oxford Circus
Tube station to my workplace, our studios located in a narrow but deceptively
cavernous Georgian building on Soho Square. My umbrella blowing inside-out
against the pelting rain and wind this morning, I covered the distance as
quickly as possible. My dash best described as a nippy jog, it’s the most
exercise I’ve done in months. It’s early January, the time for New Year
resolutions. Possibly, it wouldn’t be the worst idea for me to consider joining
‘I’ve been warning someone will break their bones on those
tiles,’ Mitzi says.
‘We could do with a non-slip mat here,’ I agree.
‘We could do with a lot of things around here,’ Mitzi sighs.
She reminds me of Daisy Lowe, the model. Dark hair. Doe
eyes. Cherry-red lips. Though her role is to welcome visitors, Mitzi looks the
part for television. Like many people who work here, she yearns to be in front
of the camera.
I have my own show. But it troubles me, more and more
lately, that I don’t look like I belong. This isn’t to say I don’t have my
finer points. Pragmatically speaking, we all do. What can I tell you? My eyes
are sometimes so blue as to appear violet. Almond-shaped, they’re generously
framed with oodles of long, thick lashes. My dark locks cascade to below my
shoulders and, at thirty-three years of age, I’ve not got a single grey hair on
my head. My complexion is creamy, free of lines and, generally, spots. But
before you picture me as some uber-glamourous cross between a young Elizabeth
Taylor and a brunette Katy Perry, bear in mind I’m the more robustly packaged
(sometimes size 14 plus) version. Some days, I fear I’m veering more into the
territory of a Dawn French and Melissa McCarthy lovechild – without their
comedy vehicles for kicks. But surely no one likes a thin chef?
I host my own daily cookery show, Gracie Porter’s Gourmet
The title is a bit of a misnomer.
It’s impossible to prepare gourmet meals, haute cuisine of several
aesthetically balanced and rich courses of food, within a short thirty minutes
allotment of air time. Notwithstanding that with preparation of the set, the ingredients
and me, it takes almost a full day to pre-record every show that then airs
across the whole of England, Scotland and Wales at 10.30 a.m. the following
week. Also, there isn’t much ‘getting together’ with my format. I like to think
I’m always engaging with my audience as they tune in to connect with me from
the comforts of their own homes, but the original concept had me hosting the
occasional special guest: other chefs, celebrities and perhaps the more
interesting politician. With none of us, including my producer, Robin, moving
in celebrity circles, with Westminster MPs otherwise occupied with their
scandals, solicitations and squabbling and me reasoning that any chef who wants
to be on television would surely want their own show, we failed to deliver.
When no one pushed us, we let it slide. We don’t even have a live audience.
It’s pretty much me and the crew who chow down after a recording finishes. On
this basis, my cookery show has aired daily for almost a year and a half.
Previously, I worked as a normal chef. I prepared
mouth-watering meals in lovely places where people came to eat. When it comes
to food, I’m a consummate professional. As far as television goes, I’m still
cutting my teeth.
From the beginning, both investment and expectation of our
little cookery show has been low. Being at the bottom end of a long list of hot
shows and hotter stars left me below the radar – and this has suited me fine.
Things changed late last year after Titan Media, the US entertainment giant,
acquired a large chunk of our relatively tiny UK operations. This afternoon, at
3 p.m., I have a meeting with the American executives who now run things to
discuss my ‘future services to the company’. It hasn’t escaped me that not
everyone summoned to such meetings returned from their New Year breaks. People
have been literally disappearing from the studios in droves. And I know my
ratings aren’t the best.
I don’t disagree with Mitzi that things around here could be
better. However, today is a day for putting the best, most confident and upbeat
version of me forward.
‘I’m sure things will settle down and everything will be
fine again soon,’ I assure her. I put my wet umbrella inside a cotton shopping
Behind me, the front doors burst open. I turn to look.
Shadowing the doorway, wearing her long, spectral black-hooded cape, stands
Zelda the Magnificent, our resident daytime television psychic.
‘Gracie,’ Zelda declares on seeing me. ‘Dahling.’ Her voice
is deep and melodic. Her accent is old Budapest enchantment. She’s like a
darker, earthier Zsa Zsa Gabor. ‘Please, stop for Zelda,’ she implores in her
dulcet tones. ‘I have, for you, a vision.’
Simone’s Bio – Simone Goodman is CFO at one of the fastest-growing tech companies in Europe. She is Australian and lives in London with her daughter and her two cats. Look At Me Now is her debut romantic comedy and will be published in November 2019.
This Christmas fall in love with the town of Chesterwood…
Christmas is meant to be a time of giving, so with Chesterwood food bank under risk of closure Fern knows just what to do to save it. She’s going to get the town to create a living advent calendar.
Fern and her best friends call for help from the local community to bring this calendar to life. When Kit, the new man in town, offers his assistance Fern’s heart can’t help but skip a beat (or two).
As they grow ever closer, Fern must admit that Kit’s breaking down the barriers she built after the death of her husband. But his past is holding him back and Fern doesn’t know how to reach him. No matter how hard she tries.
In this town, Kit’s not the only one with secrets. Domestic goddess Cara is behaving oddly, burning meals in the oven and clothes whilst ironing, and Davina’s perfect children are causing trouble at school leaving her son, Jasper, desperately unhappy.
Can the Christmas Calendar Girls find a way to bring the community together in time to save the food bank, while still supporting their families and each other? Can Fern find love again with Kit?
This is a story about kindness and letting go of the past. It’s about looking out for your neighbours and about making every day feel like Christmas.
Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK with her husband and children. She studied German and French at university and has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris. She has travelled widely. When not writing she passes her days cycling, baking and drinking coffee. Samantha has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines. She is represented by the Darley Anderson literary agency. In 2013, she landed a publishing deal for romantic comedy fiction with HQDigital at HarperCollins and in 2014, her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction best Ebook award. In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category. In 2018 Forgive Me Not, heralded a new direction into darker women’s fiction with publisher Canelo. In 2019 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association romantic comedy award
Laura Murphy thought she could, but that was before she returned home.
When 27-year-old Laura returns to her home town ten years after the tragic death of her then-boyfriend, Ryan Taylor, she isn’t prepared for the nostalgia and memories that resurface. After discovering a newspaper clipping alluding to the fact that there may have been more to Ryan’s death than first thought, Laura is compelled to find out what happened that fateful night.
Reconnecting with childhood friend Tom Gordon, she begins to unravel the blurred lines of truth and memory. But Tom holds a secret of his own. Not only is he facing losing his family farm, but what he knows could destroy any chance of a future with Laura.
Will Laura have the strength to confront her memories? Or will Tom’s secret be the key to unlocking the truth?
Dealing with the complexities of friendships, love, depression and the consequences of secrets and split-second decisions, The Memories We Hide is a compelling story exploring how memories can’t always be trusted but how they can set you free.
I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.
This story wasn’t what I expected, which was a woman returning to her hometown to lay some painful memories to rest, and reconnect with old friends.
Laura returns to her small hometown to nurse her mother in her last days. She hasn’t returned home, since the tragic death of her teenage boyfriend, but now she has no choice. Inundated with unwanted memories, and uncovering a mystery, as she sorts through her mother’s things. She must find out the truth, or be running to nowhere for the rest of her life.
What follows is a deepening mystery and a journey of self-realisation and acceptance that is both poignant and uplifting. The pacing is slow, and the story is deep, you spend a lot of time in Laura’s head. Which at times is an exhausting place, as she tries to make sense of what she uncovers.
The supporting cast of characters all have a part to play in the past tragedy and its present resolution. The interactions are relatable and real, and even though everyone has secrets, you empathise.
The small town claustrophobic connection is well done in this story, everyone knows everything, and yet there are still secrets. Laura begins to heal as she accepts she has been running not living, since that fateful night. The ending is powerful and realistic and showcases the careless, narcissistic, naivety of youth beautifully.
Not the easy read I expected, but worthwhile and thought-provoking.
Jodi Gibson is an Australian women’s fiction author of both contemporary dramas and light-hearted romantic comedy. She lives on a mini-farm with her husband, daughters, two golden retrievers, one horse, eight chickens and a cat who rules over them all.
Jodi has been making
up stories in one way or another since she was young. However, it wasn’t until
recent years and after wearing many career hats, that the desire to get the
stories out of her head and onto the page, won her over. In 2019, she realised
her dream releasing her debut contemporary drama novel, The Memories We
When she’s not writing, you’ll find Jodi with her nose in a book, or in the kitchen baking and dreaming of her next travelling adventure. Twitter
It’s mayhem in Bethlehem…unless they can work together!
Viola Smith plays the viola in an orchestra (yes
really!), but this year she’s been asked to stretch her musical talents to
organising Notting Hill’s local nativity.
Nate Williams isn’t looking forward to Christmas but as his small daughter,
Grace, has the starring role in the show, he’s forced to stop being a Grinch
and volunteer with Viola.
With the sparks between them hotter than the
chestnuts roasting in Portobello market, Nate and Viola can’t deny their
feelings. And as the snow starts to fall over London, they find themselves
trapped together in more ways than one…
I received a copy of this book from 0ne More Chapter via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
If you enjoyed Covent Garden in the Snow last year, this standalone book featuring some of the lovely characters is worth reading. Viola is a viola player, she is best friends with Tilly, and always willing to help out. Her meeting with Nate is unexpected, and the only high spot in a fraught journey to a morning rehearsal at Covent Garden. The chemistry simmers from their first encounter, but before you get too starry-eyed, be prepared for a very rocky road to true love, which even at the end seems unlikely to have a festive happy ending.
Viola and Nate are easy to like characters, and Grace is heartbreakingly lovely a mini adult, but so vulnerable, you want a happy ending for her, more than the adults.
Full of fun, festive cheer and poignancy, this book is guaranteed to give you a Christmassy feeling. The London setting at Christmas softens its hard edges, as everyone is touched with Christmas spirit, The orchestra, and the nativity play, provide plenty of interest and add to the story’s atmosphere.
The romance is sweet but the conflicts are real and demand that Viola and Nate risk their happiness for Grace’s. The ending is tender and makes you believe in love. A beautifully written Christmas tale, with a fairytale ending.
Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way
she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands
and not so luxury brands. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as
it provided her with the opportunity to hone her writing and creative skills
penning copy on a vast range of subjects from pig farming and watches,
sunglasses and skincare through to beer and stationery.
best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for One More Chapter as Jules
Wake and under her pen name Julie Caplin, she writes the Romantic Escapes
Between them, the two Js have written twelve novels, ‘Notting Hill in the Snow‘ is the latest.
Christmas in a Cornish castle? Sign Ivy Starforth
up! Hired to kit out the holiday rental as the world’s most Instagramable
festive dreamland, there’s only one thing standing in the way of her hefty
paycheque – the lord of the manor.
Bill Markham could give Scrooge a run for his money
but Ivy is firmly #TeamChristmas…even if her handsome host seems to be doing
everything he can to sabotage her staging. Maybe she shouldn’t have stumbled in
on him starkers in the hot tub?
As the temperature outside cools, things inside the castle heat up. It’s been a long time since Ivy allowed herself to give in to temptation…surely one little kiss under the mistletoe won’t hurt?
I received a copy of this book from the One More Chapter via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Full of festive charm, fun and fabulous settings. This is the perfect cosy romance full of humour and poignancy. Contemporary, but tinged with old-world charm and values. It gets you in the holiday mood from the first page, even if it is only the middle of October.
The story is told from Ivy’s point of view. Determined to make this Christmas the antithesis to the previous years, where she suffered a terrible accident, she agrees to style a rental property for her best friends sister, who wants to make a festive impact on Instagram. Ivy is a full-on character, despite the setbacks she’s had. She barely takes a breath, whether she’s happy or angry, and this flaw makes her easy to empathise and like.
Meeting her dream man again, several years on floors her, but only momentarily. She’s single now and the temptation to continue what they started before is great. Christmas is clearly not his thing, and that jars, and ramps up the conflict, and the laughter.
This story has a cast of characters reminiscent of ‘Love Actually’ but they add to the festive atmosphere. and the tensions that are always prevalent among acquaintances, family and friends at this time of year. As everyone strives for Christmas perfection, golden memories, and in this case Instagrammable moments.
The real world meets the virtual one. What results, is the true meaning of friendship, family and Christmas, and some lovely romantic moments.
Jane Linfoot is a bestselling
author, who lives in a cottage on a Derbyshire hillside with her family and
their pets. Although she loves seeing cow noses over the garden wall, she’s
happy she can walk to a supermarket.
Jane grew up in North Yorkshire where she spent a lot of her
childhood avoiding horizontal gales blowing off the sea and wrote her first
book by accident. While she loves to write feel good books that let readers
escape, she’s always surprised to hear her stories make people laugh, admits to
(occasionally) crying as she writes, and credits her characters for creating
their own story lines.
Jane’s garden would be less brambly if she wasn’t on Facebook and
Twitter so often. On days when she wants to be really scared, she rides a
Her recent standalone novels are all set in and around the
(imaginary) seaside village of St Aidan in Cornwall. They are ‘A Cosy Christmas
in Cornwall’, ‘Edie’s Browne’s Cottage by the Sea’, ‘The Little Cornish Kitchen’.
Her four book Little Wedding Shop series are standalone stories, also set in St
Aidan. They are: The Little Wedding Shop by the Sea, Christmas at the Little
Wedding Shop, Summer at the Little Wedding Shop and Christmas Promises at the
Little Wedding Shop. They are all published by the Harper Impulse and One More
Chapter imprints of Harper Collins.
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