If Lily Graham ever fancies a break from writing contemporary fiction (and I hope she doesn’t) I think she’d make a brilliant food writer – as highlighted in her latest book, Christmas At Hope Cottage.
I guess when your main character does it for a living you also need to know your stuff but it’s more than just dropping the odd technical term in, she makes food seem magical.
That’s just one of the things I enjoyed about this book, which I found very hard to put down.
Here’s the blurb:
When thirty-year-old food writer Emma Halloway gets dumped then knocked off her bike, she’s broken in more ways than one, and returns to her family’s cosy cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. Emma hasn’t been back in some time, running from her crazy relatives and her childhood sweetheart, Jack Allen.
Emma’s grandmother is determined to bake her back to health and happiness, as the Halloways have done for generations. Surrounded by old friends and warm cinnamon buns, Emma starts to believe in her family’s special talents for healing again. But then in walks Jack with his sparkling hazel eyes, stirring up the family feud between them.
As the twinkly lights are strung between the streetlamps, Emma remembers just why she fell for Jack in the first place… and why a Halloway should never date an Allen.
The infuriating new lodger, Sandro, doesn’t believe anyone should have to choose between love and family. With a little bit of Christmas magic, can Emma and Jack find a way to be together, or will Emma find herself heartbroken once more?
Poor Emma, it never rains but it pours. I don’t want to give anything away but she has more than just broken bones to contend with. I did find keeping up with where she was in the healing process a little confusing at times – although I was quickly distracted from pondering her injuries by her wonderfully eccentric family. They don’t live an easy life but it is a purposeful one, full of love and laughter.
The story switches between past and present with ease and you get a real sense of why Emma is the way she is. There are some darker moments in this book but it’s all the better for them.
Lily very cleverly steers you in different directions and just when you think you know how you want things to play out, she inserts a little doubt here and there and you change your mind. Thankfully, in the end, it all works out just as it should (or at least just as I felt it should).
My rating: Four stars.
With thanks to Bookouture for the ARC (via NetGalley) in return for an honest review.