Review: 'Christmas at Lilac Cottage' by Holly Martin (2015)
Welcome to the charming seaside town of White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air…
Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.
When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.
As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore…
While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?
This year I finally got the opportunity to check out an author I had been hearing so much about (all positive!) and whose work I was sure I was going to enjoy: Holly Martin. Her novel 'Fairytale Beginnings' (click here to read my review) was released by Bookouture earlier this year and was a great chick lit read. When I discovered Holly would not be releasing one but two Christmas novels this Winter, I immediately got excited, and even more so after seeing the lovely colourful book covers! 'Christmas at Lilac Cottage' and 'Snowflakes on Silver Cove' are both part of the new White Cliff Bay series; a series I couldn't wait to dive straight into!
Penny Meadows hasn't always had it easy. After some difficult years, she has managed to build a life for herself as an ice-carver, a job she loves, in the lovely village of White Cliff Bay. However, Penny hasn't been lucky in love, so she decides to rent out the annex of her cottage in order to surround herself with some more people. The rooms are rented by Henry and Daisy, whom Penny expects to be a married couple but are actually a single father and his 16-year-old daughter. The sparks start flying between Penny and Henry as soon as they first meet, but Henry is guarded, not wanting to disrupt his daughter's life too much after some bad experiences, and Penny isn't sure she is ready for romance, after everything that has happened. Will the two be able to find some happiness together or does this Christmas have other plans in store for them?
I've seen other readers comparing Holly Martin's novels to Disney films and I understand the comparison; cute and simple stories with a guaranteed happy ending. I am a big Disney fan and also thoroughly enjoy Holly's books, including the first part of her new White Cliff Bay series, 'Christmas at Lilac Cottage.' At the core of the novel there are some simply wonderful characters that I easily warmed to. Protagonist Penny is just lovely and I wanted nothing more than for her to find love; Henry and Daisy are both warm and interesting characters as well, and I couldn't help but fall in love with Penny's dog, Bernard, and the whole town of White Cliff Bay.
The storyline of this book is quite basic and not too complicated; great for a festive chick lit novel like this one. However, what makes this novel such a good read are Holly Martin's storytelling skills; she is wonderful at setting the scene, making it easy for readers to imagine everything, and I fell in love with the community spirit that she managed to convey with her writing. I did personally think everything went a bit fast (the story is set over the time span of a week), but this didn't really influence how much I enjoyed the book. Overall, 'Christmas at Lilac Cottage' is a really cute, simple, festive romance that will undoubtedly warm your heart during the cold winter days before Christmas. A great start to this new series and I'm already excited about picking up the second book!