Review & Giveaway - Christmas at Bay Tree Cottage by Linn B Halton
November 15, 2017
I seem to be attracted to Christmas books lately! However, each one that I've read is completely different. Something for everyone! Today I have the pleasure of sharing my review of Christmas at Bay Tree Cottage by Linn B Halton.
Genre: Romance/women’s contemporary/holidays
Release Date: 3 Nov 2017
Publisher: Harper Impulse
The countdown to Christmas is usually a magical time, but Elana James is fed up with living on a building site! The renovations on her beautiful cottage – like her heart – have been frozen in limbo ever since she was unexpectedly widowed.
Elana calls in a professional, Luke Stevenson, to help finish the cottage, so her little girl can send letters to Santa up the newly-repaired chimney. Luke’s kind, capable and sexy – but he’s also ten years younger than Elana. So why has her heart decided it’s finally time for a thaw?
The perfect read to curl up by the fire with … for fans of Rebecca Boxall.
‘Mum, can we light the log fire tonight?’ Maya looks up at me with eager eyes.
‘I think we should wait until the weekend, darling. There isn’t really time to appreciate it on a school night, is there? Besides, I’m not even sure whether there are any logs left in the store. I promise to get it sorted as soon as I can.’
It was Niall’s job, sorting the fire. He would have booked the chimney sweep in early autumn and had the logs all ready and waiting, stacked neatly against the back wall of the garage. Ironically, last year I was much more organised. I suppose it was one of my coping mechanisms during those raw, early weeks and months. Keep going; keep doing something – anything, so I didn’t have to listen to what was in my head. But I feel bad. Maya will remember that this time last year we spent every evening huddled together on the sofa in front of the fire, reading. Hour upon hour we escaped into alternative worlds inspired by some wonderful authors. Roald Dahl’s Matilda, E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web, and Maya’s favourite, Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch, a story of tenderness and triumph.
It was the very worst of times, but I focused on getting us through it one day at a time. My gut instinct, immediately after the accident, had been to sell the cottage just to escape that prevailing sense that something was missing. Niall was no longer here and it would never, ever be the same again. But soon realisation dawned that Maya needed a sense of continuity; the memories trapped within these walls were a lifeline for her, although a cruelly painful reminder for me. In a way she feels her dad is still here and I can’t take that away from her.
This story sets off with a scene that is seemingly sweet but becomes increasing poignant as it continues. Poor little Maya is desperate to see their fire all lit up ready for Christmas and her mother, Elana is desperate to have her home habitable so they can start to move on. But really Elana is clinging on to memories too and appears to be surviving rather than living and doesn't seem to be noticing how her daughter is coping with her loss.
To move forward, Elana needs to get their home safe and liveable, but that comes at a cost and with finances tight, Elana has to take all the help she can get. Including the offer from Luke, who is willing to work extra hours to get the job done in time for Christmas. Spending more time there, he gets to know Elana and Maya even more and it seems there is an attraction developing between Elana and Maya, despite Elana not being ready to let go.
What I enjoyed about this story is the author's ability to dig deep into her characters emotions. It's all there. The doubt, the guilt, the anger, the hurt. But not only that, there are tender moments. Maya with her beliefs about her dad and her sweet letters hidden inside the chimney adds those heartwarming and equally heart breaking moments too. Those innocent thoughts and wishes bring light to the shade in this story. There are plenty of ups and downs that mirror reality for most of us. For Elana, it takes Luke to help her to see the important things she is missing about her daughter's life and wishes. And such is real life, it seems that time has to be a healer in order to move on. In many ways!
An incredibly tender story with a sweet and satisfying end!
4 Butterfly Rating
ABOUT LINN B HALTON
Bristol-born Linn lives in the Forest of Dean, in the UK. She resides there with her lovely husband and cat, Ziggy. She has been writing novels since 2009 and has written short stories for a number of magazines. She is also known for her series of ‘Home by Design’ articles wearing her former interior designer hat.
"I'm a hopeless romantic, self-confessed chocaholic, and lover of coffee. For me, life is about family, friends, and writing. Oh, and the occasional glass of White Grenache ..."
An Amazon UK Top 100 best-selling author with A Cottage in the Country in November 2015, Under The Stars also became a best-selling novel in November 2016. Linn's novels have been short-listed in the UK's Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.
Linn writes chick lit, romantic comedy, women's contemporary fiction and psychic romance. Publishers include Harper Impulse, Choc Lit and Endeavour Press.