Title: Christmas at Lilac Cottage
Author: Holly Martin
Series: White Cliff Bay #1
Genre: Contemporary Romance
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?
Like a creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows, you won’t want to put this deliciously heartwarming novel down.
Source: Review copy from Bonnier Publishing via NetGalley
This is a cute, warming Christmas read about love, life, romance, family, loneliness and friendship. It’s easy and charming and a great little escape for the darker months of the year.
Penny is lovely, if a little isolated. She’s lived in White Cliff Bay her whole life and is well known throughout the town. They’ve seen her at her lowest and are keen to see her happy again, even if Penny doesn’t realise it. She’s a nice woman, willing to do anything to help others, and is a talented ice sculptor, which isn’t something you come across every day. She’s perhaps a little too nice and earnest at times, but I liked how she changed throughout the book, learning to stand up for herself and to stop taking the cruel indifference of certain people in the town.
Henry doesn’t make the greatest first impression. He’s grumpy and moody and has a bit of a temper, but once he calms down he’s actually quite nice too. He’s talented and adores his daughter, although he is perhaps a touch over protective at times. Still, I loved how he saw Penny and helped her break out of the lonely rut she’d settled into – while in turn Penny taught him how to open up his heart and take a risk.
Daisy is also a major character. As Henry’s daughter she can be both the bridge and the barrier that either connects or keeps the pair of them apart. She has her own issues and dreams to deal with in this book, but I liked how she brought out the best in both adults.
Not that it’s all plain sailing, obviously. Each character has their own troubles to cope with across the book, and sensitive feelings and moody moments mean this is far from a smooth ride. But underneath it all is a growing sense of family that made this a lovely read, peppered as it was with the quirky antics of the town.
In all I enjoyed this. It’s sweet and fun, with romantic touches and emotional moments, and even a touch of danger here and there. Some of those same emotions do occasionally swing in wild, slightly unexpected directions at times, but it certainly helps keep things interesting. Plus Christmas adds its own sparkling magic, adding to the overall delight. Perfect if you want a charming, cosy read this winter.
Christmas at Lilac Cottage is Out Now.
Visit Holly Martin for more details.