Friday, 30 September 2016

Extract | A Cornish Christmas ~ Lily Graham

Today I am delighted to be bringing you an extract from A Cornish Christmas - the new book from Lily Graham.
A Cornish Christmas is published by Bookouture today and if you like what you read below then you can buy the full book on Amazon.

Thank you to Kim from Bookouture for allowing me to post the extract on Lozza's Book Corner.

A Cornish Christmas
Lily Graham
September 2016

Nestled in the Cornish village of Cloudsea, sits Sea Cottage – the perfect place for some Christmas magic …

At last Ivy is looking forward to Christmas. She and her husband Stuart have moved to their perfect little cottage by the sea - a haven alongside the rugged cliffs that look out to the Atlantic Ocean. She’s pregnant with their much-longed for first baby and for the first time, since the death of her beloved mother, Ivy feels like things are going to be alright.

But there is trouble ahead. It soon emerges that Stuart has been keeping secrets from Ivy, and suddenly she misses her mum more than ever. 
When Ivy stumbles across a letter from her mother hidden in an old writing desk, secrets from the past come hurtling into the present. But could her mother’s words help Ivy in her time of need? Ivy is about to discover that the future is full of unexpected surprises and Christmas at Sea Cottage promises to be one to remember. 

This Christmas warm your heart and escape to the Cornish coast for an uplifting story of love, secrets and new beginnings that you will remember for many Christmases to come.

The Writing Desk

Even now it seemed to wait.
Part of me, a small irrational part, needed it to stay exactly where it was, atop the faded Persian rug, bowing beneath the visceral pulse of her letters and the remembered whisper from the scratch of her pen. The rosewood chair, with its slim turned-out legs, suspended forevermore in hopeful expectation of her return. Like me, I wondered if it couldn’t help but wish that somehow she still could.
I hadn’t had the strength to clear it, nor the will. Neither had Dad and so it remained standing sentry, as it had throughout the years with Mum at the wheel, the heart, the hub of the living room.
If I closed my eyes, I could still hear her hum along to Tchaikovsky – her pre-Christmas music – as she wrapped up presents with strings, ribbons and clear cellophane, into which she’d scatter stardust and moonbeams, or at least so it seemed to my young eyes. Each gift, a gift within a gift.
One of my earliest memories is of me sitting before the fire, rolling a length of thick red yarn for Fat Arnold, our squashed-face Persian, who languished by the warmth, his fur pearly white in the glow. His one eye open while his paw twitched, as if to say he’d play, if only he could find the will. In the soft light Mum sat and laughed, the firelight casting lowlights in her long blonde hair. I shut my eyes and took a deep breath, away from the memory of her smile.
Dad wanted me to have it: her old writing desk. I couldn’t bear to think of the living room without it, but he insisted. He’d looked at me, above his round horn-rimmed glasses, perpetual tufts of coarse grey hair poking out mad-hatter style on either side of his head, and said with his faraway philosopher’s smile, ‘Ivy, it would have made her happy, knowing that you had it. . .’ And I knew I’d lost.
Still it had taken me two weeks to get up the nerve. Two weeks and Stuart’s gentle yet insistent prodding. He’d offered to help, to at least clear it for me, and bring it through to our new home so that I wouldn’t have to face it. Wouldn’t have to reopen a scar that was trying its best to heal. He’d meant well. I knew that he would’ve treated her things reverently; he would’ve stacked all her letters, tied them up with string, his long fingers slowly rolling up the lengths of old ribbon and carefully putting them away into a someday box that I could open when I was ready. It was his way, his sweet, considerate Stuart way. But I knew I had to be the one who did it. Like a bittersweet rite of passage, some sad things only you can do yourself. So I gathered up my will, along with the box at my feet and began.
It was both harder and easier than I expected. Seeing her things as she left them should have made the lump in my throat unbearable, it should have been intolerable, but it wasn’t somehow.
I began with the drawer, emptying it of its collection of creamy, loose-leafed paper; fine ribbons; and assorted string, working my way to the heart of the Victorian desk, with its warren of pigeon holes, packed with old letters, patterned envelopes, stamps, watercolour brushes, and tubes of half-finished paint.
But it was the half-finished tasks that made the breath catch in my throat. A hand-painted Christmas card, with Santa’s sleigh and reindeer flying over the chimney tops, poor Rudolph eternally in wait for his little watercolour nose. Mum had always made her own, more magical and whimsical than any you could buy. My fingers shook as I held the card in my hand, my throat tight. Seeing this, it’s little wonder I became a children’s book illustrator. I put it on top of the pile, so that later I could paint in Santa’s missing guiding light.
It was only when I made to close the desk that I saw it: a paper triangle peeking out from the metal hinge. It was tightly wedged but, after some wiggling, I pried it loose, only – in a way – to wish I hadn’t.
It was a beautiful, vintage French postcard, like the ones we’d bought when we holidayed there, when I was fifteen and fell in love with everything en français. It had a faded sepia print of the Jardin des Tuileries on the cover, and in elegant Century print it read ‘[Century font writing] Carte Postale’ on the back.
It was blank. Except for two words, two wretchedly perfect little words that caused the tears that had threatened all morning to finally erupt.
Darling Ivy
It was addressed to me. I didn’t know which was worse: the unexpected blow of being called ‘Darling Ivy’ one last time, finding out she’d had this last unexpected gift waiting for me all along, or that she’d never finish it. I suppose it was a combination of all three.
Three velvet-tipped daggers that impaled my heart.
I placed it in the box together with the unfinished Christmas card and sobbed, as I hadn’t allowed myself to for years.
Five years ago, when she passed, I believed that I’d never stop. A friend had told me that ‘time heals all wounds’ and it had taken every ounce of strength not to give her a wound that time would never heal, even though I knew she’d meant well. Time, I knew, couldn’t heal this type of wound. Death is not something you get over. It’s the rip that exposes life in a before and after chasm and all you can do is try to exist as best you can in the after. Time could only really offer a moment when the urge to scream would become a little less.
Another friend of mine, who’d lost his leg and his father in the same day, explained it better. He’d said that it was a loss that every day you manage and some days are better than others. That seemed fair. He’d said that death for him was like the loss of the limb, as even on those good days you were living in the shadow of what you had lost. It wasn’t something you recovered from completely, no matter how many people, yourself included, pretended otherwise. Somehow that helped, and I’d gotten used to living with it, which I suppose was what he meant.
The desk wasn’t heavy. Such a substantial part of my childhood, it felt like it should weigh more than it did, but it didn’t and I managed it easily alone. I picked it up and crossed the living room, through the blue-carpeted passage, pausing only to shift it slightly as I exited the back door towards my car, a mint green Mini Cooper.
Setting the desk down on the cobbled path, I opened up my boot, releasing the back seats so they folded over before setting the desk on top, with a little bit of careful manoeuvring. It felt strange to see it there, smaller than I remembered. I shut the boot and went back inside for the chair and the box where I’d placed all her things; there was never any question of leaving it behind. On my way back, I locked up Dad’s house, a small smile unfurling as I noticed the little wreath he’d placed on the door, like a green shoot through the snow after the longest winter. It hadn’t been Christmas here for many years.
Back to my car, I squeezed the chair in next to the desk and placed the box on the passenger seat before I climbed in and started the engine. As the car warmed, I looked at my reflection in the side mirror and laughed, a sad groaning laugh.
My eyeliner had made tracks all down my face, leaving a thick trail into my ears, and black blobs on either side of my lobes so that I looked like I’d participated in some African ritual, or had survived the mosh pit at some death metal goth fest. With my long dark blonde curls, coral knitted cap and blue eyes, it made me look a little zombiefied.
I wiped my face and ears and grinned despite myself. ‘God, Mum, thanks for that!’ I put the car in gear and backed out of the winding drive, towards the coastal road.
It was hard to believe I was back, after all these years.
London had been exciting, tiring, and trying. And grey, so very grey. Down here, it seemed, was where they keep the light; my senses felt as if they’d been turned up.
For a while, London had been good though, especially after Mum. For what it lacked in hued lustre, it made up for by being alive with people, ideas, and the hustling bustle. It was a different kind of pace. A constant rush. Yet, lately I’d craved the stillness and the quiet. So when The Fudge Files, a children’s fiction series that I co-wrote and illustrated with my best friend Catherine Talty, about a talking English bulldog from Cornwall who solves crimes, became a bestseller, we were finally able to escape to the country.
In his own way, Stuart had wanted the move more than I did; he was one of those strange creatures who’d actually grown up in London, and said that this meant it was high time that he tried something else.
In typical Stuart fashion, he had these rather grand ideas about becoming a self-sustaining farmer – something akin to Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall – and setting up a smallholding similar to Hugh’s River Cottage. The simple fact of it being Cornwall, not Dorset, was considered inconsequential. Which perhaps it was. I had to smile. Our River Cottage was called Sea Cottage (very original that), yet was every bit as exquisite as its namesake, with a rambling half acre of countryside, alongside rugged cliffs that overlooked the aquamarine waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the gorgeous village of Cloudsea with its mile-long meandering ribbon of whitewashed cottages with window frames and doors in every shade of blue imaginable, perched amid the wild, untamed landscape, seemingly amongst the clouds, tumbling down to the sea. It was the place I always dreamt about when someone asked me where I would choose to live if I could magically supplant myself with a snap of my fingers or be granted a single genie’s wish. Cloudsea. And now. . . now we lived here. It was still hard to believe.
So far our ‘livestock’ consisted of four laying hens, two grey cats named Pepper and Pots, and an English bulldog named Muppet – the living, slobbering and singular inspiration behind Detective Sergeant Fudge (Terrier Division) of The Fudge Files, as created by Catherine, Muppet’s official godmother.
Despite Stuart’s noble intentions, he was finding it difficult to come to terms with the idea of keeping animals as anything besides pets. Personally, I was a little grateful for that. We assuaged our consciences though by ensuring that we supported local organic farms, where we were sure that all the animals were humanely treated.
But what we lacked in livestock, Stuart made up for in vegetation. His potager was his pride and joy and even now, in the heart of winter, he kept a polytunnel greenhouse that kept us in fresh vegetables throughout the year. Or at least that was the plan; we’d only been here since late summer. I couldn’t imagine his excitement come spring.
For me Cornwall was both a fresh start and a homecoming. For the first time ever I had my own art studio up in the attic, with dove grey walls, white wooden floors, and a wall full of shelves brimming with all my art supplies; from fine watercolour paper to piles of brushes and paint in every texture and medium that my art-shop-loving heart could afford. The studio, dominated by the mammoth table, with its slim Queen Anne legs, alongside the twin windows, made it a haven, with its view of the rugged countryside and sea. One where I planned to finish writing and illustrating my first solo children’s book.
Now, with our new home and the news that we’d been waiting seven years to hear, it would all be a new start for us.
I was finally, finally pregnant.
Seven rounds of in vitro fertilisation, which had included 2,553 days, 152 pointless fights, five serious, two mortgages, countless stolen tears in the dead of the night in the downstairs bathroom in our old London flat, my fist wedged in my mouth to stem the sound, and infinite days spent wavering between hope and despair, wondering if we should just give up and stop trying. That day, thankfully, hadn’t come.
And now I was twelve weeks pregnant. I still couldn’t believe it. We hadn’t told Dad yet; I didn’t want to get his hopes up, or tempt fate; we’d played that black card before.
Our hopes. . . well, they’d already soared above the stars.
It was why I so desperately wished Mum were here now. It would have made all of this more bearable. She had a way of making sense of the insensible, of offering hope at the darkest times, when all I wanted to do was run away. I missed how we used to sit up late at night by the fire in the living room, a pot of tea on the floor, while Fat Arnold dozed at our feet and she soothed my troubled fears and worries – the most patient of listeners, the staunchest of friends. Now, with so many failed pregnancies, including two miscarriages, the memory of which was like shrapnel embedded in our hearts, so that our lives had been laced with an expectant tinge of despair, primed for the nightmare to unfold, never daring to hope for the alternative; we were encouraged to hope. It was different, everyone said so, and I needed to trust that this time it would finally happen, that we’d finally have a baby, like the doctors seemed to think we would. Stuart had been wonderful, as had Catherine, but I needed Mum really, and her unshakeable, unbreakable faith.
There are a few times in a woman’s life when she needs her mother. For me, my wedding was one and I was lucky to have her there, if luck was what it was, because it seemed to be sheer and utter determination on her part. It had been so important to her to be there, even though all her doctors had told us to say our goodbyes. I will never know what it cost her to hold on the way she did, but she did and she stayed a further two years after that. In the end, it was perhaps the cruellest part, because when she did go, I’d convinced myself that somehow she’d be able to stay.
But this, this was different. I needed her now, more than ever. As I drove, the unstoppable flow of tears pooling in the hollow of my throat, I wished that we could have banked those two years, those two precious years that she had fought so hard and hung on for, so that she could be here with me now when I needed her the most.

About the Author

Lily has been telling stories since she was a child, starting with her imaginary rabbit, Stephanus, and their adventures in the enchanted peach tree in her garden, which she envisioned as a magical portal to Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree. She’s never really got out of the habit of making things up, and still thinks of Stephanus rather fondly.
She lives with her husband and her English bulldog, Fudge, and brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction.
Contact Lily via:

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Review | The Holiday Swap ~ Zara Stoneley

The Holiday Swap
Zara Stoneley
September 2016
Rating 4/5

Two women, two very different lives – one perfect solution to a Christmas holiday fraught with potential pitfalls.
The Holiday Swap.
Florence Cortes has the perfect life – an apartment in the trendiest district of Barcelona, a job she loves and a boyfriend who’s whisking her away on a romantic break to Paris to no doubt propose.
Only, he’s planning something far different, and Flo soon realises her life isn’t so perfect after all.
Home loving Daisy Fischer is perfectly happy in her idyllic home in the Cheshire countryside, with an on-off boyfriend who might be slightly dull but is totally dependable. Until he issues an ultimatum, and Daisy suddenly realises that there might be a whole different world out there that she’s missing out on.
Have Flo and Daisy come up with the perfect solution to escape festive heartbreak?
Can a snowbound Christmas in Cheshire – with aristocratic, handsome Hugo as her neighbour, a house full of animals and a leaking roof – help Flo mend her broken heart, and remind her of what she really wants in life?
Can a sunny break in beautiful Barcelona – with the dishy but brooding Javier, a never ending supply of cava, and a sea view to die for – prove to Daisy that playing safe isn’t always the answer?
Love actually does seem to be all around this Christmas – and in the places Flo and Daisy least expect to find it, but where will they be for New Year?


Being a massive fan of the the film 'The Holiday', I couldn't resist requesting a copy of this book as soon as I saw it on NetGalley.

The Holiday Swap is the first book that I have read by Zara Stoneley, and although I struggled to get into the first couple of chapters, once I had it was a delight to read.

The Holiday Swap starts of with Daisy, one of the two main characters and whom has just been proposed to by her long term boyfriend, Jimmy. This comes as a shock to Daisy and she starts to question everything she currently knows in her life as it is. She's always wanted to travel but life has whizzed by with her ties to her cottage and beloved pets in Tippermere however she feels that by agreeing to Jimmy then she may never get that chance to travel if she settles down - even though the quiet country life, minus a few run in's with her neighbour Hugo, is pretty quiet already!

Flo is our other main character and she on the other hand is more than ready to say yes to her boyfriend Oli,.. before he has even asked the question! Flo leads a busy life in Barcelona running a magazine with Oli and when she see's a confirmation on his phone to a romantic break in Paris, Flo is convinced that the time has come.
However once there her beloved reveals his true colours when she walks in on him in a rather compromising position

With Daisy needing to get away and figure out her feelings, and Flo needing to be cheered up, their mutual friend Anna suggests a weekend in Barcelona - a perfect 'kill two birds with one stone' scenario, however once there it soon becomes clear that Daisy is loving the break and Flo is homesick for some cold Tippermere weather.... this is when Anna steps in again and suggests a holiday swap for the last few weeks leading up to Christmas.
Now I mention the 'C' word... please don't feel that this book is super festive as it isn't - its perfect to be read right now whilst we still have some sunny days but the mornings are getting colder.

Over the next few chapters we are treated to Daisy discovering the delights of Barcelona with the help of Flo's friend Javier, whilst Flo gets in to all sorts of mishaps and troubles back in Tippermere with the animals and Hugo!!

Although I felt here that the book was a little predictable with the girls falling for the boys respectfully, the way it was written kept the pages turning with lots of little twists, challenges and misunderstandings in their relationships to keep the reader engaged.

All in all The Holiday Swap was a great read with its alternating chapters depending on whether you are in Tippermere or Barcelona, but it all linked very well.
My only grumble - and it's a little one- is that there was no epilogue. I felt the story finished quite quickly and I would have liked to have seen how there girls are getting on in their new lives - fingers crossed for more!


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Review | Christmas Under A Cranberry Sky (A Town Called Christmas, #1) ~ Holly Martin

Christmas Under A Cranberry Sky -
A Town Called Christmas, Book 1
Holly Martin
September 2016
Rating 5/5


This year spend a wonderful Christmas on Juniper Island, where love can melt even the iciest of hearts… 

Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that’s how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away. 

So when Piper’s next assignment brings her to the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again. 

But Piper isn’t the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn’t forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace. 

Now fate has reunited them on Juniper island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home? 

Curl up with this gorgeously romantic tale and let the glistening snow and the roaring fires of Stardust Lake Hotel get you in the festive spirit this Christmas. 


Having fallen in love with last years festive books from Holly Martin, I was excited to see that she was writing a new series this winter, although I had my doubts that nothing could top the magical fiction that White Cliff Bay brought - but, how wrong was I? 
I started reading Christmas Under A Cranberry Sky and I did little else until I finished it - You know books are good when you complete them in one sitting!!

Christmas Under A Cranberry Sky tells the story of Piper and Gabe, whom were the absolute best of friends during their childhood and teen years.

However, we are quickly thrown into the current situation - Piper is a mystery reviewer for a magazine, giving her thoughts and views on hotels across the globe.
Her latest assignment is to check in to the newly refurbished Stardust Lake Hotel on Juniper Island.

Piper has been here once before.. with Gabe and his family, but what she doesn't expect to find and especially within the first half hour of her arrival, is that the new owner is Gabe himself.

Gabe,  the one person she has ever truly loved.

Gabe, the only man she's ever been with.

Gabe, the man who seemingly broke her heart snd she turned her back on twelve years ago.

Now of course I'm not going to divulge into the full details of why this pair haven't seen each other for so long - your simply going to have to pick the book up and read it for yourselves but what I will tell you is not as all as it seems and as the story progresses we can feel Pip and Gabe falling back in love with each other in the masterful way Holly creates her romantic stories. Only it's not quite as simple as just falling in love... not only do they both have trust issues, Pip is dealing with some nasty reminders of her past, and there is also Gabe's four year old daughter, Wren, to consider.

I honestly didn't think that Holly could top Penny and Henry's story in last years Christmas at Lilac Cottage but not only did I completely fall for Pip and Gabe, Christmas Under A Cranberry Sky felt like it had excelled to another level - Holly's writing gets better.

Christmas Under A Cranberry Sky had everything covered, from miss- understandings, friendship, love, lies and honesty. 

There were scenes that made me snort out loud, parts where I just wanted to tell them to get on with it and of course the romantic and family moments that make you want to sigh and go 'aww' too.
Throw in a Christmas market, snow, hot chocolate, igloos, the Northern Lights, a few steamy kisses plus a healthy dose of Frozen and you have yourself the perfect festive read.

I can't recommend reading Christmas Under A Cranberry Sky enough this winter- Holly has a wonderful way of transporting you to the fictional world where you are completely emerged like marshmallows on a got chocolate in to the characters and their lives.

Christmas romance at its absolute best - I can't wait for Christmas Under A Starlit Sky, which is book two in this gorgeous A Town Called Christmas series.

With thanks to Bookouture for supplying a review copy.

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Review | Summer at the Cornish Cafe (The Penwith Trilogy, 1) ~ Phillipa Ashley

Summer at the Cornish Cafe - 
The Penwith Trilogy, Book 1.
Phillipa Ashley
Avon, Maze
May 2016
Rating 4/5


One summer can change everything . . . 
Demi doesn’t expect her summer in Cornwall to hold anything out of the ordinary. As a waitress, working all hours to make ends meet, washing dishes and serving ice creams seems to be as exciting as the holiday season is about to get.
That’s until she meets Cal Penwith. An outsider, like herself, Cal is persuaded to let Demi help him renovate his holiday resort, Kilhallon Park. Set above an idyllic Cornish cove, the once popular destination for tourists has now gone to rack and ruin. During the course of the Cornish summer, Demi makes new friends – and foes – as she helps the dashing and often infuriating Cal in his quest. Working side by side, the pair grow close, but Cal has complications in his past which make Demi wonder if he could ever truly be interested in her.
Demi realises that she has finally found a place she can call home. But as the summer draws to a close, and Demi’s own reputation as an up and coming café owner starts to spread, she is faced with a tough decision . . .
A gorgeous story exploring new beginnings, new love and new opportunities, set against the stunning background of the Cornish coast. Phillipa Ashley has written a feisty, compelling heroine who leaps off the page and encourages you to live your summer to the full.


Summer at the Cornish Cafe is not only the first in a new trilogy by Phillipa Ashley, it is also the first book I have read by this author.

The book starts with a rush at the local cafe where Demi, our main character is waitressing tables. After a bit of a to-do with the town's high and mighty business woman, Demi is faced with the loss of her job and the home that came with it.

Now, being homeless is nothing new to Demi as we discover throughout the story that she is a young lady with a difficult past but a chance encounter with Cal, owner of Kilhallon Park allow's Demi to turn her life around.

Cal is no angel though. He's moody, grumpy and short tempered but that works well with Demi's feisty and argumentative side.
Together the pair work hard to get the park up to scratch but it is clear they are starting to fall for each other.

There are lots of sub plots within Summer at the Cornish Cafe, and the Cafe for me felt like a minor element so I'm not sure that the title really fits the book - especially after reading so many other books set in cafe's this summer.
The sub plots involve Cal's ex, lies and secrets, problems with planning permissions, storms, drunken flings and one very golden opportunity for Demi.

I loved how the story of Summer at the Cornish Cafe flowed, with lots of little elements it was fast paced and interesting although it did take me a few chapters to get into the grove of it but I fell that was due to the change in POV from Demi to Cal.

Overall, Summer at the Cornish Cafe was a delightful read and I can't wait for book two in the series - Christmas at the Cornish Cafe!


With thanks to Avon for supplying a review copy via NetGalley

Thursday, 8 September 2016

Review | Summer at Oyster Bay ~ Jenny Hale

Summer at Oyster Bay
Jenny Hale
June 2016
Rating 5/5


They say falling in love is easy. But what if you know it’ll break your heart?
For Emily Tate, returning to her charming childhood home Oyster Bay is like coming up for air after the fast pace of her city life. At the farm her grandfather built, surrounded by sister Rachel’s chatter, Gram’s buttermilk biscuits, and the soft, white sand, Emily is reminded of exactly who she is and what she holds most dear. 

When Emily starts work at elegant Water’s Edge Inn, Charles Peterson, the handsome new owner, asks for her help. He wants to expand and needs Emily to teach him the local ways, so he can convince the planning commission. Emily vows to make him fall in love with her hometown, just the way it is. 

At work, Charles is reserved and serious, yet once Emily has him kicking off his shoes in the sand and sailing across the glistening Chesapeake Bay, she sees another side to him, and their easy rapport feels like the start of something big. 

But when it becomes clear Charles’s plans for the inn involve bulldozing Oyster Bay, Emily is heartbroken. Will she lose her home and Charles all at once, or can she save Oyster Bay, and give true love a chance? 


Jenny Hale is a relatively new author to my collection, and whilst I have purchased her complete back catalogue, other than Summer at Oyster Bay the only other book I have read is last years festive release, Christmas Wishes and Mistletoe Kisses.

What I loved about that book is that as soon as I started reading I felt like a big warm blanket was wrapped around me. As I was absorbing the words Jenny had written down, I could feel myself falling in love with the characters as they fell in love with each other.

Summer at Oyster Bay was no exception.

We are introduced to Emily as she is about to embark on a new phase of her life. She's moved back to her family home with her Gram and is starting a new job as an events coordinator at the local Inn.
And all this has come about because Emily decline a marriage proposal realising that she simply didn't love Brad any more. I've been in that situation where you realise the love just isn't there and I too moved back home and practically re-started my life, so right from the outset I had a soft spot for Emily.

On her first day of work, she bumps into Charles Peterson in a local shop who turns out to be the new owner of the Inn she is employed at. Charles has some big plans for expanding the Inn although he is having trouble convincing the local committee. 

Asking Emily for help on local knowledge in a bid to win the committee over, we can clearly see Charles relax and the pair start to form feelings.
Emily is completely torn between a rock and hard place as she likes Charlie, loves how he gets on with her Gram and sister's family but there is the flip side as Gram reveals she's already sold him her land and Emily resents him for destroying all her family memories.

Emily makes it her mission to try and change Charlie's mind by showing him her beloved horse Eli and his barn, the swings hovering over the sand at the bottom of the garden and the small pier hidden away. Emily completely opens up to Charlie and tells him about all these things which her made by her beloved Papa before he passed away and how everything has a place in her heart.

No matter how hard she tries, or how close the pair get it seems that the renovations go ahead and we are left to wonder just how Emily and Charlie will end up.

Jenny Hale described the locations and settings in Summer at Oyster Bay wonderfully. I felt as though I could feel the sand and the sea on my toes as I was reading.
Along with the gorgeous tension filled romance scenes in the book, there were some really nice lighthearted moments too - primarily involving Emily's niece Clara and her dog Flash which kept the everything light and fresh. 
Of course there were some heaver points within the story too with the sub plots of her sisters marriage and Gram's health.

Although I felt Summer at Oyster Bay was a little predictable in places, it worked as it was one of them stories that ultimately was utterly romantic with great epilogue fast forwarding and really finishing off the story.

At the time of reading Summer at Oyster Bay, Jenny's 2016 Christmas novel was announced - it has the same beautifully picturesque cover as this book and the others by Jenny, and with her becoming a firm favourite author, I cannot wait to read All I Want For Christmas!