Blurb: Welcome to Wychwood-on-Lea… a not-too-quaint village where frosty evenings, welcoming fires, and second chances will make this a Christmas you’ll never forget.
Anna Vere has escaped to the Cotswolds for Christmas to try to heal from her broken engagement and, far worse, her broken dreams. When her reserved room at a bed & breakfast is flooded, she takes up the offer of camping out in Willoughby Close, the converted stables of the nearby manor house… and is taken under the wing of sexy local carpenter Colin Heath.
What starts out as merely helping a neighbor in need turns into far more as Colin and Anna share a surprisingly intense and emotional connection, weaving their own Christmas magic as they spend the holiday together. But Anna has a secret she’s scared to reveal, something that could destroy the fragile bond they’ve just created, and Colin knows she’s only in England for a short time. Can these two sudden soul mates risk their hearts for a love that has yet to be tried and tested?
Get swept away by this poignant and heartwarming story, set in beautiful Wychwood-on-Lea, in the English Cotswolds. And look forward to four more books set in Willoughby Close, where everyday miracles and happily-ever-afters are guaranteed.
My Rating: 4.5/5
Review: This is a lovely, heartwarming story, just what you want at Christmas when the weather is miserable and all you want to do is stay in and snuggle up on the sofa with a book. While this is a novella rather than a full length book there is a lot packed into it, there is a strong sense of each of the characters, even those who are only mentioned for a few lines and never heard from again. The descriptions of the village, the countryside and the interiors of the homes that the story visits are all incredibly well done. There were a few scenes where the description was so clear and vivid that not only could I visualise it perfectly but I wanted exactly the same for myself in that moment, right down to the Aga in the kitchen.
Christmas for me is a time of too much television, lots of hours curled up reading, plenty of food and a few meals that are only eaten at that time of year and a general warmth and laziness that you only get then. That warmth and laziness, the comfort of knowing you can hole up at home for a few days and not worry about anything else, that is what this story is like. It’s a warm, fluffy blanket that you can pull round round yourself and not have to leave. There are some parts of the story where real life intrudes and we have to acknowledge that we can’t escape ourselves or our past even at Christmas, but they are tactfully done and don’t spoil the overall warmth of the story.
This is an ideal story for Christmas or the lead up to it, the length makes it perfect for sneaking in a couple of hours reading when life is busy or you just want something different to read. It’s full of Christmas spirit and is a lovely, escapist read. It’s also a prequel to a new series which I think I’m going to enjoy reading when it comes out.
About Kate Hewitt: Kate is the USA Today-bestselling author of over 40 books of women’s fiction and romance. She is the author of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, set in England’s Lake District and published by Penguin. She is also, under the name Katharine Swartz, the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell. Other series include the Emigrants Trilogy, the Amherst Island Trilogy, and the Falling For The Freemans series.
She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women’s fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.
Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in the English Cotswolds with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever.