Christmas at Lilac Cottage is a sweet story that did not disappoint. It’s all mince pies, twinkling fair lights and ice-sculpting and I drank it all in with the enthusiasm I usually reserve for a double Baileys and ice on the big day itself.
This is Holly Marin’s debut book and the first time I’d heard of her. As soon as I’d finished this novel, I quickly bought up everything else she’s written.
The novel has a pleasant small-town feel and some lovely descriptions by Martin to get you in the mood for Christmas. Not to mention some truly funny moments alongside a charming love-story between Penny and the delectable Henry.
The perfect novel to curl up next to the fire and enjoy with a glass of mulled wine.
Penny Meadows lives in Lilac Cottage, overlooking the charming town of White Cliff Bay on a rugged coastline. Lonely in her cosy little cottage, she enthusiastically welcomes Henry Travis and daughter, Daisy into her home as tenants for the annexe.
Daisy is friendly but Penny is disappointed to receive a frosty reception from handsome Henry.
As the story progresses, we realise there is more to Henry’s character than initially meets the eye, whilst a lovely friendship develops between Penny and Daisy.
Over time, Henry’s character thaws and he and Penny begin to enjoy each other’s company in the cottage. Christmas is fast-approaching and preparations for the annual ice-sculpting competition are underway.
Will Penny be able to melt Henry’s heart in time for Christmas?
Penny’s character is an ice-sculptor, which charmed me. So often in chick-lit our leading ladies are fashion journalists, marketing execs or work in advertising – so I always love it when you find one that breaks the mould!
Ever the romantic, Penny has been carving ice for the best part of a decade, tuning out works of art for weddings and fancy events. I’m not sure what inspired Martin to make our heroine an ice-carver but I found it quite an interesting career-choice for our leading lady. And most fitting with the Christmassy theme!
When we first meet Penny, her character is feeling sorry for herself. She has failed to hit it off with her new tenant, Henry and busy lamenting her loneliness – particularly at this time of year.
At this point in the story I wondered if Penny might be a little on the wet side. She placed unnaturally high expectations on forging a friendship with her new lodger, and then came crashing back down to earth when he didn’t respond as she’d hoped.
Thankfully, as we get to know Penny better we realise she is warm, funny and kind-hearted. She’s a romantic, but not as sappy as the early chapters had led me to believe.
Penny is a relatable ‘every woman’ and we realise her hesitations about launching into a new relationship are a result of being burnt in the past. Something most of us can relate to, I’m sure!
A lovely romance story that is charming and heart-warming in equal measures. This is an easy, feel-good read with some gentle humour.
The story is a gently predictable one but personally, as a reader, sometimes that’s exactly what I need. How awful would it be if Henry and Penny didn’t get together by Christmas Eve? So disappointing!
Sometimes a nice, easy, feel-good read is exactly what the doctor ordered and with this Martin completely delivers. Henry is a swoon-worthy love interest and White Cliff Bay offers the perfect setting for a lovely, Christmassy story.
I really enjoyed storyline about the annual ice-craving competition which offered some extremely humorous moments while adding to the yuletide magic.
A romantic, festive read with lovely characters and some charming storytelling. I’ll be re-reading this winter treat by the fire in December to get me in the festive mood.
“Penny lay on the sofa watching the flames dance in the fireplace. She had eaten way too much turkey, chocolate and Christmas pudding, not all at the same time but close enough.” Holly Martin – Christmas at Lilac Cottage
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