Author: Holly Martin
Date of Publication: 25th September 2015
Synopsis: A lonely ice carver, Penny, takes a lodger and his daughter into her annex in the idyllic White Cliff Bay. Romantic entanglements and lots of misunderstandings ensue.
Festive Rating: 🎅 🎅 🎅 🎅 🎅
This is the seventh in my #12DaysofChristmas read-a-thon! Each day I will post a review of a Christmas / Winter related book. Hopefully this will give you some Xmas-Inspo and give your holiday reading a boost!
I have always had a certain leaning towards romantic stories in small towns. I think because the reality of living in the same tiny place all your life, knowing absolutely everybody and making a living in a fascinating, eclectic and enjoyable way is virtually impossible; therefore these books are a kind of fantasy – my favourite genre.
In Christmas at Lilac Cottage we are treated to a huge dose of this fantasy. Penny is an ice carver in a small town and had one horrid relationship eight years before ending in disaster. Since then she hasn’t dated – until handsome Henry rents her annex and is living no further than a plywood door away.
Whilst I really liked Henry and Penny in essence, Christmas at Lilac Cottage has a couple of flaw for me; one is that it is far too long. Whilst there are genuinely tear jerking, heart racing, uplifting moments – there are many repeated actions and phrases which feel like they’re diluting the whole and filling space unnecessarily. My other issue is more of a person one; they get together too quickly. I’m a big fan of the tension between two people and the crux of a romantic story being the couple finally coming together. Henry and Penny are essentially together by the 25% mark, but keep on bringing up the same issues again and again to suspend the happy ending we all know will be inevitable.
Saying that, there are some major pluses – Penny’s ice carving career genuinely is interesting to read about and her bonding with Henry’s daughter, Daisy, is sweet and genuine. I really liked Daisy as a character – not just an obstacle to the main event but a character in her own right; and a very fun one to read!
I would recommend this with mulled wine and a (hopefully delicious!) mince pie! I can’t fault the festive nature of Christmas at Lilac Cottage; tree buying, mince pie making and Christmas balls are all in abundance! It definitely embodies a modern, small town Christmas romance!