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I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day By Milly Johnson

I Wish It Could Be Christmas EverydayIf there’s one book that will get you into the spirit of Christmas this year, it’s Milly Johnson’s latest festive offering.

Six people all going to different places are forced to hole up in a small inn on the North Yorkshire Moors. Bridge is meeting her soon to be ex-husband Luke to sign a piece of paper that will officially begin the end of their marriage. She wanted to see him for five minutes tops, because she can’t stand the sight of him. Or is she just afraid to be in his presence for any longer than that because what she feels isn’t the hate she pretends to have for him? Luke is meeting his soon to be ex-wife Bridge for the shortest of meetings. He has moved on from his disastrous marriage to her and the last thing he needs is to be trapped with her for four full days when dangerous old feelings could resurface. Industry boss Jack is on his way to a meeting with a Japanese client who cancels at the last minute. It’s a dratted inconvenience having to spend Christmas with a bunch of strangers. But is it really – for someone who is lonely and craving company? Mary has been in love with her boss Jack for four years and this was her big chance to show him she was flesh and blood not the mere useful equivalent of an office stapler. Now she has four days to show him that he needs her in his personal life… but has that chance come too late? Charlie and Robin are going to Aviemore for a snow-filled, luxury Christmas with all the bells and whistles they can muster. Having to spend it with a group of strangers instead, cooking their own dinner would be a complete and disastrous let down to them… wouldn’t it? Six people – some at peace with themselves, some work in progresses, some lost… all take and give from each other in this festive fun-filled feast. A story packed with broccoli, snowmen, carols, paper chains, mince pies, plum tomatoes and cherries… kindness, wisdom and above all hope.

The story is seen through the perspective of 6 people who are all travelling on a snowy winter’s night. The weather is so torrential that they all pull over in a hotel called Figgy Hollow Inn, that is lying vacant but is completely prepared for Christmas. The 6 people are all at crossroads in their lives but during the 23- 27th December, they become firm friends and come to some realisations about themselves.

Outspoken Bridge is meeting her ex-husband Luke to finally sign their divorce papers, married couple Robin and Charlie were off to Scotland for their Christmas celebrations, whilst businessman Jack and his PA Mary were on their way to an important business trip.

As usual, Milly has produced another book that will literally have you feeling warm and glowing inside. With the magical setting of the Figgy Hollow Inn, it’s festive and welcoming setting as well as the wealth of indulgent food on offer that literally has the reader salivating with each page.

I loved the characters so much and had a connection with each one. Bridge and Luke are a complex couple, after years of arguing and moving on, they’ve finally decided to sign the papers but whilst in Figgy Hollow, they remember the good times when money was less but they still loved each other. These parts make for poignant and warm reading as the couple reflect on old times. Robin and Charlie bicker like a old couple, but there’s a deep love between them even though there’s quite an age age between them. Charlie was the gentleman of the story, exuding charm and wisdom to the party with his gentle nature. Whereas Mary has been in love with her boss for years, but Jack has never seen her in this light, but it seems the magic of Figgy Hollow is making him look at his PA in a new way. The magical setting of Figgy Hollow is making everyone reevaluate their lives as well as the importance of friendship at this time of year.

‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday’ is another charming story from Milly, delivered with her trademark tenderness, love and wit and is story of hope, magic and new friendships. This book is Christmas wrapped up with a festive bow.

You can buy ‘I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Secrets In The Dark By Ceril Campbell

Secrets In The Dark‘Secrets In The Dark’ is Ceril Campbell’s debut novel.

Innocent Phoebe has only known a life of privilege. Street-smart Paula has had to make her own way in the world. When the two girls meet as teenagers, they form a deep sisterly bond, recognising in one another a yearning for love and for lives that are different from the ones they were born into. But when they each suffer a personal trauma, they are torn apart and set out on very different paths. So begins a rollercoaster journey throughout the 1970s of extreme highs and lows for Phoebe and Paula, as they travel from the epicentre of cool on the Kings Road, Chelsea, to the glamour of Paris, LA and the South of France.

If you’re a fan ofJackie Collins and need a book filled with deceit, scandal and sex, then look no further as ‘Secrets In The Dark’ ticks all those boxes.

The story is seen through the narrative of best friends Phoebe and Paula, who met in secondary school in 1970 and became unlikely friends. Upper class Phoebe is uncomfortable and awkward whilst Paula is a stunning girl who is Phoebe’s complete opposite. Together they make an unlikely pair but they form a close bond until one day Paula disappears leaving Phoebe to wonder what became of her best friend. Leaving them both to find their places in the world, unaware that they in each other’s vicinity without the other knowing.

The story is seen through the narrative of both women and flows through the years. Both becoming successful in their careers, falling in love, marriage as well as teenage pregnancy, sexual assault and drug addiction.

This book makes for racy yet gritty reading that I found myself unable to put down as Phoebe becomes a successful clothes stylist working with great pop stars of the 70’s and gives an insight into the pop circuit. An industry rife with drugs, alcohol and sexual exploits.We also see Phoebe struggle with substance addiction as well as an eating disorder as it helps deal with a sexual assault and gives her back control. These scenes are upsetting reading as Phoebe battles with emotions and blames herself for the attack. Whilst Paula has made a career for herself as a working girl and is fortunate to be paired with only successful men.

The era for the setting of the book made for gripping reading, when drugs are heavily on the scene and being gay is still taboo and has to be celebrated in secret. Cecril’s descriptions are wonderfully vivid and she paints a fabulous picture of the heady days of the music and film industry.

I loved ‘Secrets In The Dark’, it’s sexy, scandalous, thrilling but at the heart of it all, it’s a wonderful story of friendship and though lives may have moved on, best friends are forever.

You buy ‘Secrets In The Dark’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Saying Goodbye To Tuesday By Chrissie Manby

Saying Goodbye To Tuesday ‘Saying Goodbye To Tuesday’ is the latest book by Chrissie Manby.

Stupendo the dog has died. But that’s just the beginning of his story. To love and protect. The code of the good dog is clear. When single mother Tuesday took on mongrel pup Stupendo, she made a friend for life. Through the best and the worst of times, Stupendo has been there for her. Ever faithful, ever loyal, ever true. Nothing could break their bond. Until last week. Stupendo doesn’t know why Tuesday is suddenly ignoring him or why his doggy antics no longer seem to soothe Baby William. It takes his worst enemy – the cat next door – to break the news that Stupendo has become a ghost. Somehow left behind on Earth, Stupendo knows he has unfinished business. Enlisting the help of the community of animals in the neighbourhood, Stupendo must get to the bottom of the very human sadness that hangs over his old home and keeps him from saying goodbye to Tuesday.

Chrissie is one of my favourite authors and it’s been a while since I read one of her books. Her books are uplifting and charming and her latest book is a tender story.

Stupendo has died but he’s unable to move onto Rainbow Bridge and is stuck in limbo watching is beloved owner Tuesday mourn for him. No one can see Stupendo, only the other animals in the neighbourhood and William, Tuesday’s little boy who still shouts “do, do” when Stupendo is around. Now dead, Stupendo can go where-ever he wants, but no doesn’t feel joy with the unlimited freedom instead his heart aches for his old life and a confusion as to why he’s still around.
 
The story is seen solely through Stupendo’s narrative and flows in past and present tenses leading up to his death and the life that he had. Stupendo had a fantastic life with gardener Tuesday, he was fiercely protective of her particularly when non dog lover Kenton came into her life and Stupendo tried to warn her against him. But Stupendo was a dog, so she didn’t listen and ended up becoming a mother to William, who Stupendo loved as if William was his own. Now Stupendo was guardian of both Tuesday and William. He befriends Zena, a guide dog and between the pair of them stir up a new friendship between Zena’s surly owner Andrew and kind spirited Tuesday.
 
A dog’s perspective makes for fun and insightful reading. Stupendo is a handsome character with a huge spirit and appetite and his loyalty towards Tuesday and William is paramount throughout the story. His observations about life and humans make for fun and wise reading that made me smile through. His best friend in the animal kingdom is Caligula, a sassy cat who has three owners to handle his monstrous diet. The interactions between Stupendo and his feline friend makes for entertaining reading as even though Caligula is a sarcastic cat, he’s also sensitive to Stupendo’s situation.
 
This book is a beautifully unique story that is weaved with wit, warmth and tenderness that truly made for emotional reading. With uplifting moments, relatable and fun characters, ‘Saying Goodbye To Tuesday’ is a genuine heartbreaking story of a dog’s unconditional love and even in death, their loyalty never strays.

You can buy ‘Saying Goodbye To Tuesday’ from Amazon and is available to buy from most good bookshops.

The Red Monarch By Bella Ellis

The Red MonarchThe Red Monarch’ is the third book By Bella Ellis in Bronte Mysteries series.

The Brontë sisters’ first poetry collection has just been published, potentially marking an end to their careers as amateur detectors, when Anne receives a letter from her former pupil Lydia Robinson. Lydia has eloped with a young actor, Harry Roxby, and following her disinheritance, the couple been living in poverty in London. Harry has become embroiled with a criminal gang and is in terrible danger after allegedly losing something very valuable that he was meant to deliver to their leader. The desperate and heavily pregnant Lydia has a week to return what her husband supposedly stole, or he will be killed. She knows there are few people who she can turn to in this time of need, but the sisters agree to help Lydia, beginning a race against time to save Harry’s life. In doing so, our intrepid sisters come face to face with a terrifying adversary whom even the toughest of the slum-dwellers are afraid of . . . The Red Monarch.

The latest book in the Bronte Mysteries sees the Bronte sisters and their brother leave the Yorkshire wilds for the busy streets of London as they are asked to help find a missing man and missing jewell.

Once again Bella Ellis aka Rowan Coleman has delivered another deliciously atmospheric and compelling story about the Bronte sisters and their detecting skills.

The story sees them meeting some unscrupulous characters and putting themselves in danger as they try to solve mysteries. The various narratives give an interesting insight into the sisters as they find their places in world and experience new things, feelings and emotions as they try to be accepted as female detectives and writers, as well as deal with new loves.

In a time filled with discrimination, sexism and a deep resentment to women, Ellis writes wonderfully of the inspiring women who were brave and challenged dynamics and stood up for beliefs and weren’t afraid to stand up to be heard.

Wonderfully written and filled with charm and wit. This historical fiction book is a glorious story from the first page, this atmospheric and chilling story set in the theatric and scary streets of London. ‘The Red Monarch’ is another fantastic instalment in the
Bronte sisters.

You can pre-order ‘The Red Monarch’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 18th November 2021.

Christmas At The Village Sewing Shop By Helen Rolfe

Christmas At The Village Sewing Shop‘Christmas At The Village Sewing Shop’ is the latest book by Helen Rolfe.

Loretta loves running the little village sewing shop in Butterbury. Some of her most precious memories are sitting with her three daughters Daisy, Ginny and Fern, stitching together pieces of material – and their hopes and dreams.

But this Christmas the family is coming apart at the seams: Fern feels like she’s failing at motherhood and marriage, Ginny’s passion for her job as a midwife is fading, Daisy is desperate to prove she ‘ s changed since her wild younger years – and most of all, Loretta seems to be hiding something…

It’s that time of the year when the Christmas books are hitting the shelves and we’ve got that warm and fuzzy feeling from festive reading.

The story is seen through the narrative of mother Loretta and her 3 daughters, Fern, Ginny and Daisy. Their relationship is turbulent and all Loretta wants is for the 4 of them to be together for the Christmas with their grandfather Ivor and hopes that sewing a quilt together for their grandfather will bring them all together.

Once close, the sisters have all drifted apart. Eldest sister, Fern likes order and control, so much so that it’s affecting her marriage and using the time away to work on herself. Ginny prefers to be more of a free spirit and working in temp jobs as a midwife. Her heart has never recovered when her first love Lucas broke it and now he’s back in her life and all feelings have ignited. Whilst Daisy is the baby of the family and most sensitive of the three girls. She’s never left home and enjoys the security of her mother’s sewing shop, whilst admiring her teenage crush called Joshua from afar.

This story is a charming festive read about reconciliation and sibling relationships and it made for tender reading as the three sisters begin to bond whilst rediscovering their shared love of sewing and reflecting on their childhoods. There are lovely moments in the stories as they reconnect.

Beautifully written and filled with festive charm and romance, ‘The Christmas Village Sewing Shop’ is a lovely book to curl up and get you in the festive Christmas mood.

You can buy ‘Christmas At The Village Sewing Shop’ from Amazon