Donna Ashcroft comes to the blog today with a lovely story of second chances, finding yourself, family and love in
The Christmas Countdown
The past several years have been rough for Holly, in fact, since her mother died and she returned home to help out after university and support her twin sister and father, things have been downright difficult. Before the death, both Holly and her sister Lily were outgoing individuals, happily pursuing their own interests, yet inevitably close as sisters and twins could be. But after her mother’s death, Lily’s need for the spotlight and all the attention expanded tenfold, and in order to ‘keep the peace’ Holly simply moved into the background. Faded. Lost her own sense of self and direction. But, when she found her boyfriend of several months and her sister in a passionate kiss, she fled to her Aunt Clara’s house – to lick her wounds and decide her next move. Planning to stay through Christmas and not interested in speaking to her sister or anyone else, Holly arrived, tear stained and broken, needing nothing more than comfort and a place to heal.
Clara, however, has other ideas. Always had. Always will. She’s more practical about relationships, if a bit eccentric, and knows that Holly needs a place to regroup, but also that she needs to separate herself from her twin sister, her commitments, and find out what she truly wants from life. From a gin-fueled welcome with the women of the WI, to a series of tasks on a handmade advent calendar that are designed to make Holly step out of her box and start to find her own feet – the adventure begins. Especially when she meet Finn, a local boy and heartbreaker – big flirt, home to recover and remove himself from his own loss. Determined to not be attached to anyone, Finn’s reputation is far more ‘dangerous’ than he is himself – he’s a flirt, yet, but a kind one with a good word for everyone but himself, a knack for avoiding his mother’s well-meaning interference, and a great sounding board for his newest employee.
Like the other Ashcroft novels I’ve read – her characters are so real they breathe in the pages, bring new life and empathy to their situations – even when you want to shake them to make them see what’s really there. These two are so caught up in their own struggles and issues that while they ‘see’ each other and are attracted, they don’t SEE just how much better they feel, or are, when the other is around. Fortunately, neither is a total blockhead, and before the silence can come between them and their budding relationship, both have done some serious thinking and realized their truth- life is good, but will be better together. A lovely story full of hope and healing and perfect for the Christmas season.
Title: The Christmas Countdown
Author: Donna Ashcroft
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Friendship, Holiday Themed, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 7 October, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
It’s that time of year again, snowflakes are fluttering and the countdown to Christmas has begun! Holly Devine is returning to the only place that feels like home, hoping that some festive magic will help to turn her life around…
Twenty-seven-year-old Holly Devine has just had her heart well and truly broken. Hurt by the two people she loves the most, she flees to her eccentric Aunt Clara’s cosy cottage to hide away over the winter season. But kind, impulsive Aunt Clara has other ideas… She’s not about to see her favourite niece wallowing in sadness during the most wonderful time of the year. So, with the help of her close circle of friends and plenty of gin, she creates a handmade advent calendar for Holly.
Every day in December, Holly opens a new door and has a different task to complete. She soon finds herself asking out a complete stranger – gorgeous, cheeky pub landlord, Finn Jackson. But as handsome Finn gets involved in her festive challenges, Holly’s determination to avoid romance is put to the test. Still, Finn’s far too carefree and single for true love, isn’t he?
As Holly begins to embrace each day – a complete makeover, building the biggest snowman she’s ever seen, singing in a karaoke contest – Finn is there adding fun and laughter to every moment. Holly starts to realise that she can become the person she’s always wanted to be…
But a secret from Finn’s past threatens to turn Holly’s Christmas upside down and makes her question everything she has experienced in the last few weeks. Will Finn open up to Holly in time to show her how he really feels? And will she complete the advent calendar challenges and fall in love this Christmas?
It’s time to curl up for a delicious Christmas romance about daring to take chances, opening yourself up to love, and being true to who you really are. Perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Debbie Johnson and Debbie Macomber.
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.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: