Wednesday 19 December 2018

Guest Review: Christmas at Snowdrop Cottage by Helen J Rolfe

Full of sparkling festive magic, Little Woodville is all set for Christmas…

Belle Nightingale hasn’t celebrated Christmas properly since she lost touch with her Gran and left the tiny village in the Cotswolds behind two decades ago. But back in Little Woodville to sell up and move on to start a new business venture with her boyfriend, Belle finds herself wondering whether her own dreams have been pushed aside in her quest to please everyone else. 

The cosy cottage, nostalgia and her tenant Sebastian’s ties to her own family, bring a lot of emotions to the surface for Belle, particularly when she begins to form a bond with Sebastian who isn’t the old man she was expecting, but a tall, dark and ridiculously handsome man her age and with a very kind heart. 

When the snow blankets the tiny village and Belle comes up against a community that pulls together to look after their own, she begins to discover the true meaning of Christmas and wonders whether it’s time to confront the past in a last attempt to bring her family back together. 

Grab a hot chocolate and escape to the quaint Cotswold village and the thatched cottage where the perfect recipe for Christmas may just contain a whole lot of love, friendship and kindness. And it may just be everything Belle is looking for. 

Review: This is the 11th novel from Helen J Rolfe, but the first that I have read. I love all things Christmas, including Christmas romance novels, so this one attracted me at once. It has a wonderfully Christmassy cover that gives a clue to what will be happening within its pages. Looking back once I had finished the story, the cottage depicted on the cover is just as I had imagined it would appear while reading. This is one of those stories that got my attention from the word go and kept me reading whenever I could right to the end.

The story concerns Belle Nightingale, who has been given a beautiful Cotswolds cottage, Snowdrop Cottage, by her estranged grandmother who has moved away to live in a care home. The cottage has a tenant, Sebastian, whose rent is giving Belle a welcome extra income, but who she has never met. When Belle decides she needs some money to set up her new business with boyfriend Anthony, she visits the cottage and the lovely village where it sits just before Christmas with a view to clearing it out and selling. However, she has not reckoned with the memories stirred up by her visit of her past christmases with her grandmother and the attraction of her tenant.

What a lovely story this is, brimming full of Christmas spirit and traditions. I could almost smell the spices and taste the mince pies and cookies that were being baked at intervals in the text. The characters in this quaint Cotswolds village were so committed to Christmas and, in the main, so welcoming and generous; they embodied the true meaning of Christmas. I loved Belle and found myself willing her to make the right decisions throughout the book, but at the same time confident that she would. Sebastian, in addition to being rugged and handsome, was the most charitable person that I could imagine, even when he had every right to be anything but. This book is definitely one to add to your Christmas reading pile or to anyone’s stocking. It’s one that I will probably read again next Christmas.

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