BLOG TOUR ~ Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

Title - Christmas at Lilac Cottage
Author - Holly Martin
Publication Date - September 25th 2015
Publisher - Bookouture
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via NetGalley)
Pages - 289

Welcome to the charming seaside town of White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air...

Penny Meadows loves her home - a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver creating breathtaking sculptures.Yet her personal life seems frozen.

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore.

While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she's been dreaming of?

Like a creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows, you won't want to put this deliciously heartwarming novel down. 

Spend the perfect Christmas in White Cliff Bay this year.

First of all, I'd like to say a massive, huge, flappy-happy excited THANK YOU to the wonderful Holly Martin and her fabulous publishers Bookouture for inviting me along to be a part of the blog tour for Christmas at Lilac Cottage. I've been a major fan of Holly Martin's novels for so long now, I feel like she writes her books for me (which is ridiculous I know, seeing as she has hundreds of other fans out there, understandably), but Holly delivers each and every time, singing straight to the centre of my old, romantic heart, leaving me satisfied every time I reach 'the end'. I'm sure I've said this before, but I really do try not to heap my expectations upon an author. After all, because you enjoyed one novel of theirs, it doesn't necessarily mean that you'll enjoy their next, does it? But, at this point, I've read countless novels by Holly Martin and fallen in love with each and every one of them, so it's kind of impossible for me not to eye Holly's books while thinking to myself, "Yep. I know I'm going to love that. I just know it." The funny thing is, with Holly Martin, I always end up being right.

Christmas at Lilac Cottage is Holly Martin's second novel with Bookouture, Fairytale Beginnings being her first. I don't know what it is but Holly has such a whimsical way of storytelling, without taking it too far over the top. Sort of like modern fairytale-esque. And that's one of the reasons why I love her novels so freaking much. I'm a tad whimsical myself, loving nothing more than a dreamy setting, a swoon-worthy hero, and a grin-inducing love story. In Christmas at Lilac Cottage, each of those aspects come into play and they completely stole my heart away. 

I understand not everybody enjoys having Christmas forced upon them in September, but I've always been a Christmas fanatic and couldn't wait to begin reading this book. So, when I was contacted about the blog tour, and given access to the title itself, I almost burst at the seams with my impatience to reach it. For me, Christmas is never too early, and that goes for books too. It's beginning to grow chillier outside now, so curling up with Christmas at Lilac Cottage was just perfect. Holly's charmingly classic imagery and descriptions brought the setting of White Cliff Bay beautifully to life for me, and it didn't take long for me to build up the image of this adorable seaside town in my mind. I loved it even more when the snow began to fall, covering everything in a blanket of smooth white, making Holly's characters, Penny and Henry, seem even more secluded up in Penny's cottage. Throughout the unravelling of this novel, Holly introduced me to the residents of White Cliff Bay, while at the same time Penny and Henry's story began to take shape. There was a real sense of community and support in White Cliff Bay, leaving me feeling cosy and snug as I carried on reading.

As always, Holly's characters were spot-on. When I first met Penny, her flurry of excitement at having guests renting the annexe of the cottage was almost overwhelming. It was endearing, to read of how excited she was to meet her new neighbours and I was just as excited for her. It became clear that she'd gone to a lot of effort to ensure that everything was perfect, so her bubble well and truly burst when she came face to face with Henry for the first time. Henry's demeanour was a stark contrast to Penny's almost childlike glee, and immediately I was aware of the sparks crackling between them both. Alongside Henry was Daisy, who Penny wasn't too sure about at first, but without saying too much on that matter, all becomes clear in the end. Holly, as well as being brilliant with her settings and descriptions, is also fabulous when it comes to the leading couple in her novels, and that was the case with Henry and Penny too. Holly's heroine is never typical either, always ending up being someone who you'd love to get to know in real life. What Penny did for her job fascinated me, as its not everyday you come across an ice-carver, and I loved the moments where we were able to see Penny working. Holly had clearly done her research and the details she provided me with allowed me a clear-as-day image of Penny's work. It was fantastic, and such a breath of fresh air to find a character who was so unique in this way! When Henry arrives on the scene, I had a feeling sparks would fly. The differences between he and Penny were so blatantly obvious they were difficult to ignore, but those differences had me excited about the prospect of what the future could hold for me. Henry had that moody/sexy thing going and worked it perfectly, whereas Penny was bouncy and excitable and just all round, one gorgeous person inside and out. I loved these two so much, and I couldn't wait to see what Holly had in store for them as the novel progressed.   

As always, Holly's writing was indescribably magical, whisking me right away to the gorgeous location of White Cliff Bay, where the snow had begun to fall and the romance was heating up a notch. Not only are we faced with romantic dilemmas and worries about the past, but there was a real family-feel that added so much warmth and feeling to this book. I felt completely enveloped with the world of White Cliff Bay, snug and cosy and wrapped up within Penny and Henry's story. There was always something happening, or something to look forward to, and the development of the relationships were just spot on. Not only that, but it was beautiful to watch how Henry and Penny, compared to the beginning of the novel, developed throughout and were different in more ways than one by the end of the novel. It was everything that I could have for from this author, and incredibly Christmassy (which I loved), with tree-shopping, Christmas decoration-hanging and the deep, rich scent of mince pies emanating from the pages. 

Overall, Christmas at Lilac Cottage was the perfect way for me to be introduced to White Cliff Bay. Henry and Penny's story was gorgeous, as was the setting which it was placed in, and I'm already looking forward to revisiting White Cliff Bay in Holly's second book based here, Snowflakes on Silver Cove. I just can't wait to see what Holly has up her sleeve next for us, although I have a feeling it will be just as glitteringly pretty as this! Becca's Books is awarding Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin with FIVE GORGEOUS CUPCAKES! An absolute sparkler of a novel, one that you'll definitely want to snuggle up with when the autumn/winter chills begin to settle in!

Don't forget to keep up with the rest of the blog tour!

1 comment :

  1. So cute! I hope it works out for her to release a Christmas book in the fall! It never hurts to have a little Christmas charm ahead of the season :) Listening to you talk about how whimsical her writing is really makes it sound like Holly Martin knows how to capture all the butterflies and enchantment of romance in her stories!