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Finding Love At The Christmas Market By Jo Thomas

Finding Love at the Christmas Market‘Finding Love At The Christmas Market’ is the latest book by Jo Thomas.

Residential-home caterer Connie has had one online-dating disaster too many. Hurt in the past and with her son to consider, now she’s feeling hesitant. Then one of Connie’s residents sets her up on a date at a beautiful German Christmas market – with the promise she’ll take a mini-bus full of pensioners with her.Amongst the twinkling lights and smell of warm gingerbread in the old market square, Connie heads off on her date with a check-list of potential partner must-haves. Baker Henrich ticks all the boxes, but when Connie meets Henrich’s rival William, she starts to wonder if ticking boxes is the answer.

Having consumed Jo’s previous book called ‘Escape to the French Farmhouse’ in one sitting, I was delighted to be offered the chance to read her new Christmas book about love, friendship and food.

The story is mostly seen through the narrative of Connie, a single mum who works for a local catering company that delivers food to a care home called Lavender Hill. It’s in this job, that has made friends with the residents of the care home, especially Pearl and has decided to help them with a task of bringing the ashes of their friend called Elsie back to her home country in Germany and be scattered at the Christmas markets. It just so happens that Connie is going to Germany to meet Heinrich, her last hope at online dating. With a minibus full of elderly people who have far from lost their lust for life. They begin a 5 day adventure in Germany, embracing life and new friendships.

I loved this book, it warm, full of heart and is the perfect distraction during a pandemic. I loved Connie, she’s a kind woman, who puts other people’s happiness before her own. When she meets Heinrich, he ticks all the boxes that she’s looking for in a man. Now that her grown up son has Sam has left the nest and got himself a girlfriend, Connie is looking for company but is wary of the deception that is involved with online dating. Even though Connie wants her heart to belong to Heinrich, she finds herself drawn to William, who just so happens to be Heinrich’s enemy. Their family have been at loggerheads for years and come from bakeries in the opposing parts of the town. William is hoping that this year will be the year that his bakery will win the Christmas cake of the year and help bring in some funds to the Old Town and help mend his relationship with his wife and son. I loved William, he’s kind with a huge heart. I loved the interaction between Connie and William, from their awkward first meeting to her helping him with the baking.

This book is the perfect festive book to read. Filled with graphic scenes of the Christmas markets to the heady scents from the Christmas baked goods that seemed to leap from the pages. The story is beautifully written with wonderful characters and really highlights how people can easily be forgotten when they get older and are put into homes and out of the way. It made for sad reading in parts, as the characters reflected on how they were made to feel when family only wanted them for Boxing Day or for expensive gifts.

The humans weren’t the only great characters in this book, there was the inclusion of a sweet and deaf dog called Fritz who was able to put people at ease with his gentle nature. Like Jo’s previous books, this book is heavily food based with traditional German sweets and baked goods and Jo has included the recipes should the reader decide to create their own.

A story of new beginnings and new memories, this festive story is filled with love and heart, ‘Finding Love at the Christmas Market’ is a fun and captivating story that is packed with Christmas cheer and love.

You can buy ‘Finding Love At The Christmas Market’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Escape To The French Farmhouse By Jo Thomas

Escape To The French Farmhouse‘Escape To The French Farmhouse’ is the latest book by Jo Thomas.

Del and her husband Ollie moved to a beautiful village in Provence for a fresh start after years of infertility struggles. But six weeks after they arrive, they’re packing the removal van once more. As Del watches the van leave for England, she suddenly realises exactly what will make her happier…a new life in France – without Ollie. Now alone, all Del has is a crumbling farmhouse, a mortgage to pay and a few lavender plants. What on earth is she going to do? Discovering an old recipe book at the market run by the rather attractive Fabian, Del starts to bake. But can her new-found passion really help her let go of the past and lead to true happiness?

Last night I curled up with this book with the intention of only reading a few chapters. Fast forward three hours later and I finally put the book down after being unable to put the book until I finished the stories of Del and her new adventures in France.

I genuinely loved this book, everything in it was so vibrant from the setting, the characters as well the dialogue.

Del is a great character, she’s a brave woman who decides that her marriage isn’t working and makes the courageous decision to stay France whilst her husband returns to England. Alone and a stranger, Del decides to embrace the French way and to earn a few euros by making use of the lavender fields beside her house in recipes. With the help of her new friends Carine, Henri and the glorious Fabien, she establishes herself as a successful baker in the small town as well as an valuable asset to the small town.

Everything in this story is so lovely, from the interactions with the characters, the beautiful settings which is described so vividly to the lavender fields that leap off the pages. The story is wonderfully written with relatable characters particularly Dell. The one thing that she dreamt off was to have a family, but feels at a loss that she can’t and begins to doubt her worth, but in this new surrounding she emerges a great strong woman who helps so many people in the town and making such significant changes, from helping the homeless and poor.

A story of heart and community, ‘Escape To The French Farmhouse’ is a beautifully written story about new friendships and new beginnings, this book was a captivating story from the first page.
You can buy ‘Escape To The French Farmhouse’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Coming Home To Winter Island By Jo Thomas

Coming Home To Winter Island‘Coming Home To Winter Island’ is the latest book by Jo Thomas.

Ruby’s singing career is on the verge of hitting the big time, when her voice breaks. Fearing her career is over, she signs up for a retreat in Tenerife to recover. But an unexpected call from a stranger on a remote Scottish island takes her on a short trip to sort out some family business. It’s time to go and see the grandfather she’s never met. City girl Ruby knows she will be happy to leave the windswept beaches behind as quickly as she can, especially as a years-old family rift means she knows she won’t be welcome at Teach Mhor. But as she arrives at the big house overlooking the bay, she finds things are not as straightforward as she might have thought.

This book was a joy to read from the start to the very end. Filled with relatable and heartwarming characters, I curled up and read it one sitting, it was such an engaging read.
The story is about a young woman who’s dream of becoming a recording artist is put on hold when she loses her voice and finds herself in the back end of beyond looking after a grandfather that she never met. It’s whilst looking her grandfather and trying to sort out his property so that he is properly cared for, she meets Lachlan, a man who is annoying but also makes her see life from a different perspective. It’s whilst living in Wales during the cold Christmas season, Ruby adapts to a new life and getting to know the family that she never knew she had.

Charming from the first page, this book was a lovely story with friendly and heartwarming characters, with the gruff and eccentric grandfather who’s convinced that Ruby is his late friend to the charismatic who’s annoyingly honest.

Life affirming and sweet, ‘Coming Home To Winter Island’ is a romantic and fun story that is the perfect accompaniment to the cold winter evenings.

You can buy ‘Coming Home To Winter Island’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Win A Copy Of The Olive Branch By Jo Thomas

The Olive BranchThe lovely people at Headline Books have kindly given me one copy of ‘The Olive Branch’ which is the brand new book by Jo Thomas to give to one lucky person.

The story of ‘The Olive Branch’ is –

You can buy almost anything online these days. For Ruthie Collins, it was an Italian farmhouse.

Yet as she battles with a territorial goat and torrential rain just to get through the door of her new Italian home, the words of Ed, her ex, are ringing in her ears. She is daft, impetuous and irresponsible.

But Ruthie is determined to turn things around and live the dream.

First, though, she must win over her fiery neighbour, Marco Bellanouvo, and his tempestuous family…and then there’s the small matter of running an olive farm. As the seasons change and new roots are put down, olives and romance might just flourish in the warmth of the Mediterranean sun.

To be in with an chance of winning this delicious book, simply reply below with your answer to the question by Monday 13th July and I shall pick a name at random.

What is the name of Ruthie’s neighbour?

Good luck everyone!