Review: 'Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky' by Holly Martin (2016)
Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that’s how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away.
So when Piper’s next assignment brings her to the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again.
But Piper isn’t the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn’t forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace.
Now fate has reunited them on Juniper island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home?
I'm really glad that this year author Holly Martin is back with two exciting Christmas reads! In 2015 she treated us to 'Christmas at Lilac Cottage' (click here to read my review) and 'Snowflakes on Silver Cove', which were both wonderful holiday reads, and I'm incredibly excited to have two new Christmas-themed novels with her name on it waiting for me. 'Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky' is the first part of a new series and I straight away loved the book description. This promised to be just the read to get ready for the holidays and I really hoped I'd end up enjoying it as much as Holly's previous novels, if not more...!
Piper Chesterfield, known to her friends as Pip, has been working as a reviewer of hotels for years, and it's a job she loves. It does come with a bit of loneliness since she's always travelling, but that suits Piper just fine; she's experienced enough heartbreak and pain in her life and knows it's best to just not get too close to other people. When Piper gets the chance to visit Stardust Lake Hotel on Juniper Island, she can't wait, but she's in for a surprise when she unexpectedly bumps into Gabe Whitaker, her first serious boyfriend whom she hasn't seen for over 10 years. The sparks are definitely still there, but can the magic of Christmas help Piper and Gabe overcome the obstacles that are still in their way?
If you're looking for a read to get you in a Christmas mood, look no further because 'Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky' will definitely do the trick. With every single Holly Martin story I read I am even more blown away by her amazing scene setting skills, and with each novel her writing just seems to get better. This book focuses on reviewer Piper who has planned a visit to one of the Shetland Islands to stay at the Stardust Lake Hotel, where she bumps into Gabe, a familiar face from her past. It was easy to like Piper, and next to Gabe there are some lovely secondary characters in the book such as Gabe's cute Frozen-obsessed daughter Wren, his sister Neve, and a special mention to the animals in the novel such as the reindeer and the Shetland ponies, who really added something special.
The definite strength of this book is the setting; Holly Martin has managed to describe the perfect Christmas wonderland which made me smile and feel all warm and Christmassy inside. I have to admit I thought the story became a bit slow-paced towards the end, and Piper's actions frustrated me quite a bit, but I still really enjoyed reading the book. I'm really curious to pick up the second part of the series, 'Christmas Under a Starlit Sky', which tells Neve's (Gabe's sister) story and I can't wait for that next visit to Juniper Island! Overall, 'Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky' is a sparklingly festive and great read, especially for chick lit fans or people that love a happy ending; a big well done to Holly Martin!