Genre: Romantic Fiction
Regular readers of the blog will possibly remember I recently reviewed two previous books by Kate Blackadder. I so enjoyed those two books that when I saw there was another novel available by this author I knew I had to read it.
But even although I was fairly sure I’d enjoy a book by Kate Blackadder, I did have two reservations.
One was, as I’ve said in other posts on my reading preferences, I tend to prefer the main characters in the romance novels I read to be of the more mature variety. This book’s two main protagonists were in their twenties.
And secondly, I don’t usually like Christmas themed books as I often find them to be just too twee and tinselly.
However both reservations proved to be groundless. This book was a lovely read.
The story’s main characters Stella and Ross are young, but they are also engaging and far from naive. Their relationship has faltered and ended, but it wasn’t because either of them wanted that to happen. External circumstances, misunderstanding and a lack of communication have led to their parting. And, after more than a year apart, it is further external circumstances which will force them to confront the feelings they still have for each other.
Both Stella and Ross have problems. They’ve both suffered loss and Stella’s back story is particularly tragic. Therefore they both have depth and nuance. They’re realistic and credible. They’re also likeable. The reader empathises with them and roots for them.
There is also a strong supporting cast. There’s Ross’s grandfather and his mother. There’s Stella’s absent sister and her London colleagues. The author paints them with a light but assured touch and they all bring something to the story. But most especially there’s Stella’s grandmother and her house guest who bring further depth and colour to the narrative.
The portrayal of the setting which is partly in Edinburgh, but mainly in the Scottish Border town of Melrose, also adds to the overall quality of the novel.
The realistic and sympathetic characters, the vivid setting, and the thwarted romance all pull the reader in. And that engagement is maintained by an economic writing style that, in turn, leads to a brisk and satisfying pace. The plot comes to its resolution at Christmas but the suggestion that it’s all down to a wish made upon a decorative Christmas tree star isn’t overdone.
Indeed the Christmas whole element is subject to such a light authorial touch that it only adds to the romance.
All-in-all this is a romantic, feel good, Christmas read. So go on and indulge yourself. It’s Christmas!
Type of read: Got to be on the sofa, by the log fire and the Christmas tree, with mince pies and a glass of fizz within easy reach.
Back Cover Blurb:
Six days before Christmas, Stella must rush home to Scotland when her grandmother is taken to hospital. As she reconnects with her past, old flames are rekindled, and as Christmas fast approaches, Stella begins to wonder if her most heartfelt wish can come true?
Uprooted from her life in London and back in her childhood home of the Scottish borders, Stella is soon faced with relationships which have lain dormant for years. New opportunities present themselves, but will Stella dare to take them…