Friday, 30 September 2016

Book Review - A Cornish Christmas by Lily Graham

Amazon UK
Title: A Cornish Christmas
Author: Lily Graham
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Bookouture
Publication Date: 30th September 2016
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Nestled in the Cornish village of Cloudsea, sits Sea Cottage – the perfect place for some Christmas magic … 

At last Ivy is looking forward to Christmas. She and her husband Stuart have moved to their perfect little cottage by the sea - a haven alongside the rugged cliffs that look out to the Atlantic Ocean. She’s pregnant with their much-longed for first baby and for the first time, since the death of her beloved mother, Ivy feels like things are going to be alright. 

But there is trouble ahead. It soon emerges that Stuart has been keeping secrets from Ivy, and suddenly she misses her mum more than ever. 
When Ivy stumbles across a letter from her mother hidden in an old writing desk, secrets from the past come hurtling into the present. But could her mother’s words help Ivy in her time of need? Ivy is about to discover that the future is full of unexpected surprises and Christmas at Sea Cottage promises to be one to remember. 

This Christmas warm your heart and escape to the Cornish coast for an uplifting story of love, secrets and new beginnings that you will remember for many Christmases to come. 

A Cornish Christmas is a pleasantly surprising book. First let me state this is an extended version of a previously published book called The Postcard, which to my eyes is a far more apt title, as there is a postcard that is central to the story. 

For the majority of the book I found myself frustrated that the story just didn't feel Christmassy, and felt like it had far more serious undertones, as well as magical ones, and it was really getting to me. But as I persevered I realised that despite the book not being really what I was expecting, a far better story was emerging, one that at any other time I would have been enthusing about right from the start. 

As it was it took until I had almost finished reading this to truly appreciate, what Lily Graham has written, its a story about not giving up hope, its about miracles that can occur not just at Christmas. It features a small Cornish village that as you would expect has a great community spirit, even in the face of adversity. 

I loved Stuart's cottage industry, his small holding and all of his wacky ideas for jams, jellies, and other preserves. He is clearly the cook and gardener in the family, and is loving this quieter pace of life, in their cottage. Wife Ivy, is a children's book illustrator, and both the books she is working on sound like they would make great real life series, and the pictures sounded so pretty. 

What sets this book apart though from the average story, is the Postcard. With this postcard which Ivy finds when she is going through her mum's desk, she starts to get ethereal messages at 3am. I don't really believe in this sort of thing, in fact I'm opening sceptical and did when I encountered this to start with, wonder whether I really wanted to continue reading, as I wasn't sure if it was going to turn into a ghost, or get any more weird. Luckily the level of magical presence was kept fairly minimal if regular.

However that being said there were moments that I had goosebumps reading this, as various pieces of information came to light, and I can tell the postcard was clearly a source of comfort almost for Ivy, over the Christmas period. 

The story is predominately set in December, covering the Christmas period, but I would not call it a Christmas book. I think its a fantastic story, a great piece of chick lit with a serious side to it, a reasonable level of romance for a married couple, but overall a story of love, friendship, relationships, hope and will ultimately leave you smiling (if not in tears). 

I am very glad that I had the opportunity to read this book, and think its a great piece of writing from an emerging author.

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Bookouture for this review copy. This was my honest opinion. 

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