A Happy Christmas to everyone who reads my blog. This story has the perfect sentiments for this time of year.
Can a single act of kindness change a life forever?
To many people, Ruth Ryans has everything: the perfect job, a home to die for and a loving family. But it’s all lies. As Christmas approaches, Ruth feels lonelier than ever.
Then Ruth meets Michael. A man who, on the night of her father’s death the year before, she showed kindness to during his darkest moment. That one single act, his miracle, helped change his life forever.
Can one act of kindness really change a person’s life? Ruth decides to find out and plans to make this Christmas the most perfect one ever, opening up her home to those who need her help – the lonely, the lost and the ignored.
This Christmas actions will speak louder than words and Ruth Ryans’ kindness will create little miracles for everyone … including her own battered heart.
If you’re looking for a heartwarming, poignant festive story, ‘ A Miracle on Hope Street’ is the perfect book.
Ruth Ryans is a national treasure, an agony aunt who spends her life solving other people’s problems. She ignores her own issues, which eight days before Christmas take a tragic turn, sending her in a downward spiral. Her random act of kindness on that night is forgotten, in her sea of grief, but a year later it may be her only salvation.
This is a story of despair and hopelessness countered with courage and kindness. The characters are complex and believable, and you empathise with their situations. The story charts Ruth rebuilding her life by helping others and is a charming often tearful read, but the ending is positive and uplifting and underscores the true meaning of this time of year.
I received a copy of this book from Harper Impulse via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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.
Guest Post – Lucy Coleman – The Birth of a New Story
Virtually every story I’ve written begins with a single line that pops into my head. It stays there for a while like an app (my Writer’s app), processing away in the background while I continue with my work in progress.
Usually, on one of my daily walks (unless it’s pouring down), my little Writer’s app will come to the fore and little pieces, like threads, of the story, will present themselves to me. That’s why I always carry a pen and a small notebook with me. I’ve almost walked into lamp posts on occasion, as I frantically scribble away. Probably looking very odd, as I do so!
Eventually, I end up with an A4 folder, often with a title (which tends to be quite important for me in the process) and a growing mountain of scribbled notes. But it’s usually one of a small stack of similar folders, and I rarely write a story out of sequence.
Why? Because each story is desperate to be written. Although I write full-time and I’m quite prolific, there never is enough time. I’ve just finished the last of three manuscripts now queuing to go through edits and be polished up ready to be published in 2019. But I have four folders all crying out to me.
Three of those have been in my head for well over a year and yet the fourth, and latest idea, is also vying for attention. Not least because it involved going to the Palace of Versailles in June of this year. A very lavish and magnificent setting for a contemporary love story … you can imagine how excited I am!
But it must wait its turn.
Snowflakes Over Holly Cove is my thirteenth published full-length novel. And in that time, I only broke my own rule ONCE. It was a story that wouldn’t disappear nicely into the background of my mind but kept fighting me to be written. I put down the work-in-progress, and I wrote the first draft from start to finish in twenty-four days – ninety-five thousand words.
I will admit that for probably half of those days I didn’t get out of my PJs – just showered and sat down to write. I will admit they were very long days!
And, yes, it was Snowflakes Over Holly Cove.
Why was it so insistent?
Unusually for me, it was the location that came first. Caswell Bay has memories for me going back to writing my very first book. The edits arrived on the day my husband, and I were heading off for a week’s holiday in a beautiful apartment looking out over the bay. I ended up working all week, interspersed with bracing walks along the coastal path between Caswell Bay and Langland Bay. And we had some wonderfully relaxing dinners at the local restaurants.
During the day my husband was content to sit out on the balcony reading while I beavered away making my writing dream come true.
We often drive over to spend the day walking that path again and enjoying the stunning views. I knew that one day the right story would pop into my head and I truly believe that Tia and Nic’s story could only have been set in Caswell Bay and the fictional Holly Cove.
There’s something about the dramatic beauty of the coastline, the often-bracing sea breeze and the views out across the bay that has a poignancy to it.
Once Tia and Nic were in my head they were both so unhappy I became caught up, wondering if there really could be a happy ending. And now it’s published. That other work-in-progress is long finished and several more since then.
Caswell Bay is a place that if you get a chance to visit it, you will never forget the memories you make while you are there. I can say that hand on heart.
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.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Lucy lives in the Forest of Dean with her husband and Bengal cat, Ziggy. Her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction Award. When she’s not writing, Lucy can be found in the garden weeding or with a paintbrush in her hand.
Happiness doesn’t factor on the deliciously rugged but utterly heartbroken Greg’s radar much these days. Only his beloved Labrador Angus seems to understand his search for a way to make sense of tragedy until he meets new neighbour Mallory Westerman…
Instantly they know that the other understands how they feel, and over time, as romance blossoms, they dare to wonder if they might, one day, be truly happy again…
There are two sides to every story, and A Year of Finding Happiness is Greg’s journey back from the darkest depths to happiness…
A Year of Finding Happiness was previously published as Bridge of Hope.
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Lisa Hobman – Q&A
What inspired you to write this story?
This story was written as a result of reader requests. After the release of ‘A Seaside Escape’, Greg seemed to capture the hearts of people all over the world! I was asked for his story and I was only too happy to oblige!
I love stories that feature animal characters. Do animals play a big role in your life?
I love animals! I have two rescue dogs of my own—in fact, the dogs in A Year of Finding Happiness are based on my very own canine companions. They both have their individual personalities and were great fun to write about. I love that they are also represented on the book covers!
Where do you do most of your writing? Why do you like writing here?
I have my very own office these days. It’s at the top of the house and it overlooks my garden. I can see the birds on the feeder from there and have been known to daydream and get distracted.
Are you an avid reader? What genres do you enjoy and why?
I don’t read as much as I used to because when I’m writing—which is most of the time—I like to keep my head clear for my own stories. But when I do read I love books by Heidi Swain, Ann Cleves and Lisa Jewell. I like to try new genres and crime fiction is the latest genre I’ve tried.
Are you a full-time writer? What do you enjoy about writing?
I’m no longer a full-time writer. I also work part-time at a museum, purely for my own sanity. Writing is fantastic but it’s quite an isolated role and I’m very much a people person. My favourite thing about writing is the fact that I get a chance to invent new people and I get to choose their life path. I guess it calls to the hidden control freak in me!
What’s next for Lisa Hobman?
I’ve just finished edits on my next book so that will be out later this year or early next year. And now I’m on to the next project! Of course, it will be based in Scotland because I love this place so much. I intend to keep writing until the ideas stop happening—which I hope is never!
Greg has not been lucky in love. Alice his first love broke his heart with her betrayal and deceit, and Mairi loved adventure more than him and left him too. With only, Angus his dog and an ever-present bottle of Malt Whisky he is lost in grief. After such a bleak start the reader longs for light relief and the support Greg receives from the community and his meeting with Mallory provides this. A romance set in the Scottish Highlands and Isles is a treat and gives this story a unique feel.
Mallory’s story features in the first book in the series ‘A Seaside Escape’. She meets Greg at a pivotal time in her life and after a shaky start values his friendship but does she want more, or is that enough? This story reads well as a standalone, but I would like to read Mallory’s story too.
Told from Greg’s point of view it gives a refreshing perspective to grief and falling in love from the male perspective. His character is realistic and strangely endearing. Full of guilt and raw edges Greg pushes away Mallory because he feels disloyal. Mallory’s hurting too, and you wonder if these two damaged souls can find solace with the other. Greg is so sad and broken you want him to find happiness and eventually, it seems he might but then the past rears its ugly head and happiness is just an illusion it seems.
I like the way music plays an important part in this story, Greg uses it to express his feelings and as a balm to his pain, this is believable and something we all do at various times in our lives.
A story of grief, friendship, forgiveness, healing and the power of love, realistic and romantic and lovely book to read.
I received a copy of this book from Aria via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Lisa’s debut novel was shortlisted in the 2014 RNA. Her stories centre around believable, yet down to earth characters and the places in Scotland she has visited and fallen in love with. She is a happily married mum of one with two energetic dogs.
Meredith Mancuso is depressed. Ever since the death of her fiancé, she has shrunk from the world. Even with her successful writing career, she’s not motivated to work. When her sister, Monica, begs for a favor, Meredith wants nothing more than to say no. But she’s ultimately roped into pet-sitting an orphaned Yorkshire terrier named Prozac.
Blessed with spiritual wisdom and a high IQ, Prozac is an active pet therapy dog. To heal broken-hearted Meredith, he rallies his fan club at Evergreen Gardens, an independent living facility, where he visits each week.
Prozac and the community of resilient older folks challenged by losses of their own propel Meredith, often against her will, back into the land of the living. Meredith learns that most people carry some sort of burden, but it’s still possible to find meaning, purpose, and joy—and sometimes, even love—along the way.