Lily Graham returns to the blog today with another whimsical and wholly lovely story. Please read on for my review of
Christmas at Hope Cottage
A wonderfully crafted story that brings a small Yorkshire town and one quirky matriarchal family who is known for adding a bit of magic and hope into every creation. Emma Halloway moved to London for Uni – away from the grandmother and aunts and Hope Cottage with all of the expectations and burdens of family history that came with it. Before the age of 6, neither Emma nor her grandmother Evie knew of one another: Emma’s mother having married, left Whistling and redefined herself, leaving her history behind and Emma parentless when they perished in a car crash. So at 6, Emma was introduced to the magic that emanated from Hope Cottage, and in attending the local school, also felt the sting of ages old family feuds.
Hope Cottage has been the Halloway home for at least two centuries, housing an ancient Aga stove, a kitchen garden and greenhouse full of herbs, and the women who use “The Book” to record recipes later used to fulfill hopes and dreams of those who come for help. While guaranteeing no promises, the recipes they create are said to repair relationships, improve health, luck, courage and more: buoyed up with the annual Good Cheer Christmas Cake that is believed to bring harmony to Whistling for the coming year. I’ve read a few stories with a similar premise: each special and magical in their own right – but here Graham brings the magic and change to Emma, one who wasn’t knowingly seeking answers.
An accident on her bicycle left Emma in bad shape: beaten, bruised, no sense of smell or taste and scrambled vision, she returned to Hope Cottage to recover, worried about her own future and reeling from her breakup via Post-It Note from her long-term boyfriend. A freelance food writer that focused on the history of food – her hand and lack of eyesight are sure to be a hindrance, and her continued refusal to believe in the power of “The Book” and the sacrifices that have been paid over the years keep her morose and a bit snippy. But, even as she refuses to accept her history, the history and power of Hope Cottage haven’t forgotten her, and the slow healing combined with the solidity of family, old friends, the half-return of her first love and the on again off again warm relationship with her grandmother’s tenant have her understanding her own history and worth in the most unexpected ways. Full of gossip, laughter, struggles and redolent with the descriptions of scent, taste, and memories, this was a story that was a joy to read – total escape reading that is sure to leave you smiling and wondering about ginger snaps, lemon scones and shared cake.
Title: Christmas at Hope Cottage
Author: Lily Graham
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Holiday Themed, Setting: Britain
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 18 October, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
In the little village of Whistling, with its butterscotch cottages and rolling green hills, snow is beginning to fall. Christmas is coming, and Emma Halloway is on her way home.
When thirty-year-old food writer Emma Halloway gets dumped then knocked off her bike, she’s broken in more ways than one, and returns to her family’s cosy cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. Emma hasn’t been back in some time, running from her crazy relatives and her childhood sweetheart, Jack Allen.
Emma’s grandmother is determined to bake her back to health and happiness, as the Halloways have done for generations. Surrounded by old friends and warm cinnamon buns, Emma starts to believe in her family’s special talents for healing again. But then in walks Jack with his sparkling hazel eyes, stirring up the family feud between them.
As the twinkly lights are strung between the streetlamps, Emma remembers just why she fell for Jack in the first place... and why a Halloway should never date an Allen.
The infuriating new lodger, Sandro, doesn’t believe anyone should have to choose between love and family. With a little bit of Christmas magic, can Emma and Jack find a way to be together, or will Emma find herself heartbroken once more?
An utterly gorgeous Christmas romance about the importance of family, freshly baked biscuits, and learning to trust your heart. Perfect for fans of Phillipa Ashley, 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: