Linda Mitchelmore comes to the blog today for the first time with her lovely woman’s fiction story, full of healing, friendship, love and new opportunities in
Christmas at Strand House
Oh I loved this story from first page to last! It’s told in four perspectives, three new friends who met on an arts weekend, and the widowed husband of the fourth, the one who essentially brought them all together. Lissy, having just inherited her great aunts house on the Devon coast is recently divorced and has decided that she wants to have company: who better to invite than the two other women at the weekend course she and her childhood best friend Claire attended, even with Claire now gone in a road accident? So using Facebook and emails, she contacted Janey, the real artist in the group, Bobbie, the aging fashion model who was their life model for the course, and Xander, still living in the little town, still reeling after his wife’s death. And all agreed, arriving with their own concerns and questions, but happy to reconnect and get away for the few days.
Here the story opens up: the connection that both Lissy and Xander felt the night of his wedding, never acted upon and him not really moving forward to open his heart or life to another. Lissy with her newfound enjoyment in cooking and her growing disillusionment with her career as an accountant. Janey who took the first step into a new and freer life by leaving her alcoholic abusive husband, a bundle of nerves and shame taking a taxi to Strand House with the lovely Sam, an older man who seemed to intuit her need for ‘jollying up’. Robbie with her bold ways, oodles of luggage and lack of tact, who gets to the heart of the matter, carrying a letter from her solicitor that she knows is holding information about her biggest secret and regret.
Through delicious food, some drink, and the sense that dreams are possible within the walls of the house, these four take tentative steps toward deepening their friendship and finding supportive and often helpful advice and options as they learn more. From Janey’s abuse and withdrawal into herself because of her husband, and Xavier’s instantly apparent ‘big brotherly’ concern, to Bobbie’s literally putting her in new clothes to boost confidence, one would think that Janey was the only one finding peace. But a Christmas night telephone call to Bobbie, a connection that is deepening and growing between Lissy and Xander, and the ease with which they all offer support, honesty and true affection – even the most harsh-sounding conclusions are put forward with best intentions, and help toward everyone finding the fireworks on Boxing Day to be the sparks that guide them into new directions with all the possibilities open. Mitchelmore packed a ton of issues, questions, secrets and choices into this story and managed to provide ways forward for all, with the simplest of needs: friendship. That kind of friendship that is honest, wishes you the best but isn’t afraid of pulling you up short when you’re wrong-footed, but will support, cheer, accept and enjoy each step forward as if they were their own.
Title: Christmas at Strand House
Author: Linda Mitchelmore
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Friendship, Holiday Themed, Romantic Elements, Setting: Britain
Published by: HQ Digital
Published on: 4 December, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
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A holiday to change their lives forever!
When Lissy inherits her late godmother’s seaside villa, Strand House, she decides to turn her life upside-down and move to the seaside.
It couldn’t have come at a more perfect time for Lissy, so when she realizes that her best friends, Janey, Bobbie and Xander are going to be alone over the holidays, she invites them to stay!
Every one of them has a secret, but at Christmas time anything can happen – and this is sure to be one to remember…
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.