Emma Davies brings us back to Joy’s Acre in the fourth book in the Little Cottage series, this one set at a Christmas no one will forget in
Christmas at the Little Cottage on the Hill
I should know better than to start one of the books in this series later on at night -because my ability to actually put one of these stories down and go to bed is non-existent. The fourth book in this series that has always been all about the people at Joy’s Acre, their ability to heal one another and themselves, and find a refuge, answers and new hope doesn’t fail in the latest book. Ruby and her two children, ten year old Jem and not quite year old Darcie have left their life in London and traded it in for a soon-to-come available cottage tucked away in the corner of Shropshire. It’s just a couple of weeks until Christmas, but Ruby hopes that eventually Jem will start to thaw out the attitude and find some happiness away from the noise, struggles and dangers posed by the environment and his father – both left behind. Tentative and more than a bit unsure of the rightness of her choice, Ruby knows that this change, disappearing and starting afresh just has to be the best option. A stop in town before heading to check in at Joy’s Acre has her coming face to face with Angus, a new character who was the forest manager / woodworker for Aunt Agatha’s estate, now incorporated into the gang. He leads Ruby to their temporary digs, leaving her at the door with an “all will be okay’ message and a ton more questions.
Fortunately for Ruby (and the kids) while not intrusive, the people at Joy’s Acre are both welcoming and eager to bring more people into their group: and Ruby seems like the perfect option. Not only does she knit and sew, but her flair for color (and the obvious need to put smiles on Jem’s face) call to them all – even with the Christmas fete being planned for the village AND the long-awaited proposal that will have Maddie and Seth married just before Christmas. When you add in the changes in the village and the new series of storefronts that are just off the main street – one of which will include a cheese monger and friend of Trixie, Noah and his handcrafted cheeses, the small shops will bring more of the village sense even with a chain grocers nearby: a butcher, a baker, a cheese shop, fishmonger, greengrocer and a newly opened teashop all add to the ambiance, and make the one little unlet shop speak to Ruby in ways she didn’t expect. But, this is more about the journey and changes and far less about fixing the future for Ruby and her children.
Angus is drawn to little Jem – seeing a touch of the angry child he once was, and the need to reach out to the boy and show him how to deal with all the confusing emotions and new experiences. From waiting as Jem let’s off steam after running from the cottage in a snit, to showing him how to find his way, packing for weather and sharing stories all while allowing him to help with wood deliveries to cottages and just being with someone who doesn’t actually push him too far, Jem is finding his own feet – and the discovery of the farm cat in the tiny ‘break room’ with four new kittens that become Jem’s new ‘responsibility, the little boy is starting to bloom. All while Ruby is enchanted by and perhaps more than a tiny bit attracted to Angus, feeling safe and cared for in his presence. Of course – things are crazy busy around the farm, and the snowfall is intriguing and brings them all into a snowman contest, sharing laughs, fun and cookies – the massive storm threatens to derail the wedding and party, and a ten year old boy’s answer to ‘watching out for those he loves’ is moments from disaster. With what has come to be a signature for this series, people who need Joy’s Acre seem to find their place there, and in the world, with the acceptance, love and inclusiveness just wrap around your heart like a warm blanket –and you just know that this is where dreams you never dared to imagine take flight. With Seth and Maddie finally married, Declan back for Clara, Tom and Isobel as well-matched as ever and new options for Ruby, Jem and Angus as little Darcie manages to sleep through most of the drama – it’s a bittersweet installment – the last of the series, but perhaps the best as the miracles that can be found at Christmas and Joy’s Acre all seem to combine and fix themselves as permanent and the people of Joy’s Acre seem to move onward and upward, grounded in the Little Cottages and the family they built there.
Title: Christmas at the Little Cottage on the Hill
Author: Emma Davies
Series: Little Cottage #4
Also in this series: The Little Cottage on the Hill , Summer at the Little Cottage on the Hill, Return to the Little Cottage on the Hill
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Holiday Themed, Romantic Elements, Setting: Britain
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 26 October, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
One twinkling winter’s night, Ruby wakes her sleeping children and escapes for a new life in the countryside. It’s a choice that will change her life beyond all recognition…
Arriving at the cosy little rental cottage as the first snow begins to fall, Ruby doesn’t regret leaving her bully of a husband for a moment, but she does feel guilty about uprooting her kids so close to Christmas. She can only wish that one day soon her son Jem will forgive her.
It’s not long before the family are settled in and drinking hot chocolate by the fire, the flames kept roaring by a neighbouring woodsman called Angus. As big as a tree, but as gentle as a dormouse, all Ruby’s instincts tell her to be wary of letting this gorgeous stranger get too close. Is that the first tingle of festive magic Ruby can feel? Or might it even be hope?
As Christmas day approaches and a blizzard sparks a power cut across the entire village, Ruby must force herself to believe in Christmas miracles again. Was she right to put her trust in Angus? With only flickering candles to guide her through the darkness, will she ever find her way back to the light?
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.