While many writers have more than enough on their plates tackling two lead characters, Holly Martin takes on four – plus a large supporting cast – and still produces her typically witty, emotionally-charged, romantic page-turner.
There is an injection of adrenalin on the very first page of Christmas Under A Starlit Sky, which is book two in the A Town Called Christmas series, with the dramatic entrance of Hollywood hunk Oakley Rey who has come to sweep Neve Whitaker off her feet.
As manager of a hotel on a remote snow-covered Scottish island, Neve gets to work alongside her family in a beautiful location but something, or rather someone, is missing – Oakley.
She split up with him just before he left for California after catching his big acting break and has been channelling “If you love someone, set them free” ever since.
What she hadn’t counted on was him coming back to fight for her, especially as she has a huge secret she’s struggling to keep.
We also get to meet deputy hotel manager Adam Douglas and artist Ivy Storm, two people struggling with their pasts, who might just have a future – if they can get beyond what is holding them back.
I’m a massive fan of Holly Martin’s writing and while this wasn’t my favourite of her books, it was still a great read.
It made me long to snuggle under a blanket in front of a roaring fire – even though I read it during an Indian summer and would probably have overheated if I had tried. That’s just how good her writing is; it draws you in and you get caught up in the characters and the location.
I did struggle with the name Oakley (I just kept thinking of sunglasses) and there were a couple of points where I actually said out loud to Neve: “Just tell him already.” (You’ll see what I mean when you read the book).
On the whole though I was swept along by the interwoven stories and found it very enjoyable.
Format: Kindle (published today!).
Price: £1.99 via Amazon (October 16).
My rating: Four stars.
Thank you to Bookouture (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for my honest opinion.