Celebrations at the Chateau by Jo Thomas #romance #bookreview #netgalley

This was the another Netgalley ARC, which I was very excited to read as its by one of my favourite romance writers, Jo Thomas.

Blurb

When their grandfather dies, Fliss and her sisters are astonished to inherit a French chateau! Travelling to Normandy to visit the beautiful if faded house, they excitedly make plans over delicious crepes and local cider in the town nearby.

But they soon discover the chateau needs major work, a huge tax bill is due . . . and there’s a sitting tenant to whom they owe a monthly allowance.

Unable to sell but strapped for cash, Fliss determines to spruce up the elegant old rooms and open a B&B. But, why is Jacques, the local mayor, so hostile? How did Fliss’s grandfather come to own the place anyway? And will Jacques and Fliss be able to put their differences aside to save the chateau?

Inspired by Escape to the Chateau, this cosy and uplifting novel to curl up with, from the author of Escape to the French Farmhouse and Finding Love at the Christmas Market.

My Review

I loved reading this story right from the start. Inheriting an old French Chateau is right up there on my wish list, but seeing as that is not going to happen I had to live the fantasy through Fliss and her sisters.

When the three sisters decide to turn the old, run down Chateau into a B&B before it bankrupts them, it doesn’t go as smoothly as they’d hoped. Much like the path to true love between Fliss and the broody mayor, Jacques. They are perfect for each other but ex’s and a difficult situation in the past threatens their happy ever after.

Fliss is a very capable heroine, but she still occasionally needs rescuing and the handsome farmer / mayor / next door neighbour, Jacques is never far away.

The supporting cast are great; from Fliss’ nephew Jason who comes to help restore the chateau and blossoms in France, to Clementine Jacques step-daughter, to the huge working horse Pegasus whose always sticking his head through the fences and causing havoc, and Cedrick the peacock whose sometimes turns up to delight the guests. I have to mention the sitting tenant too, the chatelaine. She holds the key to the mystery of how Fliss’ grandfather came to own the Chateau in the first place, if only she could overcome the events in the past to confide in Fliss.

At the heart of this novel is mystery, love and family relationships. And of course there’s plenty of Christmas magic and a New Year’s Eve wedding at the Chateau to look forward to. You can’t get much better than that.

***

Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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Book Review Christmas Wishes by Sue Moorcroft #romance #tuesdaybookblog

I read this book just after Christmas. I loved the two protagonists, Hannah and Nico, and their story had me glued to the pages. Here’s the blurb from Amazon…

Blurb

A sparkling Christmas read from the Sunday Times bestseller – perfect to snuggle up with this winter!

Hannah and Nico are meant to be together.

But fate is keeping them apart…

As soon as Hannah bumps into her brother Rob’s best friend Nico in Stockholm, the two rekindle a fast friendship. But Hannah has a boyfriend – and Nico has two children to look after.

When Hannah loses her beloved shop in Stockholm, though, she is forced to move back to the little village of Middledip – only to find Nico has just moved in too. Under the same snowy sky, can the childhood friends make a romance work – or are there too many obstacles standing in their way?

My Brief Review

Oh my goodness, this story blew me away. I loved Nico and his kids and really wanted him to find his happy ever after with Hannah from the moment they were together on the page. Fate keeps getting in the way of these two people who are so clearly made for each other.

The locations were wonderfully described, both in Stockholm and the UK.

It was impossible to put this book down. It had plenty of fun but also heartfelt moments that had me secretly crying into my pillow. One of my favourite reads of 2020.

This is a 5 star read, and one you don’t have to wait to read at Christmas. Pick it up now I say!

Note – after reading this story I see there are other books set in Middledip. It clearly works as a standalone as I didn’t feel I was missing anything. And now I’m excited to read the other books set in Middledip and start a new adventure.

***

Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic and heroic fantasy

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Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin @HollyMAuthor #bookreview #romance #Christmas #greatreads

During the week before Christmas I wanted to share one of my favourite Christmas reads this year. Christmas at Lilac Cottage has everything; love laughter and tears. Before I give you my review, here’s the blurb…

***

Snow is falling on White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air . . .

Penny Meadows loves her cosy cottage with its stunning views over the snow-topped town of White Cliff Bay, but not even the roaring log fire can keep her personal life from feeling frozen.

That is until dashing Henry and his daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage for the festive season. And between decking the halls and baking delicious mince pies, Penny realises there is more to Henry than meets the eye.

With sleigh bells ringing and fairy lights twinkling, the ice-sculpting competition and Christmas Eve ball are in full swing. Will Penny be able to melt the ice and allow love into her heart? And will she finally have the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?

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My Review

Summary

I won a copy of this book in a blog competition (thanks Brizzlelass) and have been saving my review to post near to Christmas. I have to say this is the perfect Christmassy read to get you in the mood for the big day. It has everything you could ask for in a story; troubled romance, interfering family and friends, and emotional back story. There are also plenty of laugh out loud moments that had my husband looking at me strangely! I’m smiling to myself right now as I remember some of these scenes. The ending is heart warming and I shed a few tears in places.

Characters

I really liked Penny the main character, and Henry was a proper hero and gentleman. I loved the chemistry between them, though their stubbornness could be annoying at times. One thing I really liked were the characters unusual professions, Penny is an ice-carver and Henry is a carpenter. This added another dimension to the characters and added plenty to the plot.

Setting

White Cliff Bay comes off the page and seems so real. It’s the kind of place I’d love to visit. I love the fact that others stories have been set in the same town, so I know I can visit there again.

Likes

The writing flows so smoothly, that I found myself sucked straight into the characters lives. I immediately liked everyone in the story and wanted them to have their happy ever after.

Dislikes

I did struggle to get into this book at first, not for the writing which is excellent, but just something about it didn’t ring true. I think it was the fact Daisy didn’t act like a typical 16 year old, she was way too thoughtful and kind! I persevered through this minor annoyance and was soon swept away with the story.

Rating

It is hard to pick a rating for this story as by the end it was a 5 star, stay up all night read. But as I did struggle at the beginning, I’m going down the middle and saying it’s a 4.5 star read.

Check it out for yourself on Goodreads, and Amazon UK.