Liz Eeles returns to the blog today with the second story in The Salt Bay series, set in Cornwall. Please read on for my review of
Annie’s Christmas by the Sea
First meeting Annie when a solicitor’s letter introduced her to family she’d never known, some time has passed and she’s found a sense of belonging in the tiny community: working at a charity that uses music for therapy, recovering after a flood in Trebarwith House, enjoying the company of her elderly aunt Alice and her relationship with Josh is stable. Add to that the Salt Bay Choir, reinvigorated with Annie’s push, cajoling and determination, and it seems as if everyone is looking forward to the first competition. And then, just as things are feeling as if she’s found a place – things change.
With an unknown father and half-sister appear, far different from her childhood musings, Josh’s mother taking ill, his sister Lucy and her five year old daughter requesting a secret, and cousin Toby arriving to be as overbearing and distasteful as ever, things are getting rocky. Alice’s health is slowly deteriorating, her half-sister Storm is just that with her 16 year old angst and anger erupting at every opportunity, the choir, prone to be pitchy at the best of times is feeling the pressure of an upcoming competition, and who really needs a pudgy, aging wanna-be rock star with a penchant for cluelessness as a father – albeit a father who isn’t easy to hide away? And the secrets: secret requests from Josh’s sister Lucy, Josh’s inability to even hold hands in public, shopkeeper Jennifer’s secrets that are hinted to but shut away when Storm presents more than a bit of trouble, and Annie’s worries about her place in Salt Bay, and the constant worry that she’s only made a temporary retreat from a life that was, until recently, more footloose and connection free.
Salt Bay is a little community that was weighted down with its sorrows and secrets, and Annie’s arrival rather shook that up, bringing music back after the tragic loss of so many to a storm. But there are secrets that are still buried, and the changes, particularly with her reaction to, at nearly 30, finally meeting her father for the first time. Eeles has imbued the stories of the town with emotion: sorrow, loss, family and belonging, and brought each to these characters: giving them moments to heal and reframe what each moment means. From Barry’s talks with Alice that result in a song that celebrates the lives of those lost to the storm, to Storm’s finding a place where she is needed and wanted, for Josh’s support of his family nearly bringing an end to his relationship with Annie, and for Annie finally taking a breath and a moment to see, and truly question, people’s motivations and then making decisions that are in the best interest of someone other than herself, despite her own personal stakes. So much is happening in the story, but the overwhelming effect is to heal the fractures in lives, in large and small ways, building those little bridges that make growth possible. Annie’s growth through these two stories has been remarkable, as she’s learned more about herself and what she truly wants, overcome those fears and even brought some healing to others in this time, and I can’t wait to see the Salt Bay Choir, with Annie and Josh, conducting them to face off with Gareth Malone.
Title: Annie's Christmas by the Sea
Author: Liz Eeles
Series: Salt Bay #2
Also in this series: Annie's Lovely Choir by the Sea, Annie's Summer by the Sea
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Setting: Britain
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 4 October, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
On the beautiful coast of Cornwall lies the idyllic Salt Bay, where Christmas is the perfect time for bringing family and friends together…
Annie Trebarwith is happily settled in Salt Bay with her beloved great-aunt Alice and gorgeous boyfriend Josh Pasco. Snow is in the air, and Christmas is just around the corner.
But when the father she’s never met, aging rock god Barry, turns up with the half-sister Annie didn’t know existed, life suddenly gets complicated. Barry and Storm are soon clashing with the entire village, and their antics are even driving a wedge between Annie and Josh.
Can Annie prevent her new family ruining the festivities and repair things with Josh in time for a cosy Christmas? Or will their relationship end up as frosty as the Salt Bay air?
Annie’s Christmas by the Sea is a hilarious and heart-warming story about family, friends and the magic of Christmas, perfect for fans of Lily Graham, Holly Martin and Phillipa Ashley.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.