Thursday 17 December 2020

Guest Review: New York Ever After series by Helen J Rolfe

To avoid any major spoilers for the first part of the series, I'll share the synopsis of book 1 with you only...

Christmas is coming and New York is in full swing for the snowy season. But at The Little Knitting Box in the West Village, things are about to change …

The Little Knitting Box has been in Cleo’s family for nearly four decades, and since she arrived fresh off the plane from the Cotswolds four years ago, Cleo has been doing a stellar job of running the store. But instead of an early Christmas card in the mail this year, she gets a letter that tips her world on its axis.

Dylan has had a tumultuous few years. His marriage broke down, his mother passed away and he’s been trying to pick up the pieces as a stay-at-home dad. All he wants this Christmas is to give his kids the home and stability they need. But when he meets Cleo at a party one night, he begins to see it’s not always so easy to move on and pick up the pieces, especially when his ex seems determined to win him back.

When the snow starts to fall in New York City, both Cleo and Dylan realise life is rarely so black and white and both of them have choices to make. Will Dylan follow his heart or his head? And will Cleo ever allow herself to be a part of another family when her own fell apart at the seams?

Full of snow, love and the true meaning of Christmas, this novel will have you hooked until the final page.

Review: This is a series of 6 festive romances set in the Big Apple and the nearby small town of Inglenook Falls. Each one is complete in itself, but with recurring characters appearing in the backdrop of the main story which focuses on new introductions. As such, each book can be read as a standalone but I always think it’s good to meet up with a familiar face and know how they come to fit in with the new characters. I have decided to review the series as a whole, with a brief description of the individual stories. Helen J Rolfe has done a great job of bringing the reader a flavour of this city at Christmas.

Book 1 is Christmas at the Little Knitting Box, in which we meet Cleo, who has come to New York from England to run her grandparents’ knitting shop, making new friends along the way. In book 2, Christmas at the Inglenook Inn, Darcy is standing in as manager of the eponymous boutique hotel over the festive season. Amid financial worries for the future of the business, she meets up with a guest who brings memories from the past. Darcy’s story is continued in book 3, Wedding on Madison Avenue, which sees her preparing for her wedding to Myles, following a whirlwind romance, as their careers and a variety of hurdles try to get in the way. Book 4, Christmas Miracles at the Little Log Cabin, sees magazine editor Holly changing career and meanwhile meeting up with the mysterious Mitch at his little log cabin in the woods. She decides to help him with his struggle against his past and put his life back on track. In Christmas Promises at the Garland Street Markets we meet Nathan and teenage daughter Scarlett and Amelia with nephew Kyle, who have come from the UK to spend the festive season in Manhattan. Both adults are trying to work through problems with the teenagers, whose attraction for each other is causing friction. In the final book, Moonlight and Mistletoe at the Christmas Wedding, everyone is excitedly preparing for the wedding of Cleo and Dylan. There are lots of hurdles to clear along the path to the altar, some caused by Dylan’s best man Finn, who is fighting problems of his own.

I have very much enjoyed working my way through this series of heartwarming stories. It was nice to be able to read them in quick succession and easily keep up with where the characters fitted in with each other. It almost felt like one big family by the time everyone appeared in the final book. With all the drama that the various characters experienced through these tales, friendship and love shone through to support them. All of the stories were very well written. I felt that I had a marvellous tour of New York and Inglenook Falls; it made me want to visit again soon, and of course stay at the Inglenook Inn, where nothing is too much trouble for the manager to arrange. I would recommend this series as a wonderful festive read that will give the reader a warm feeling when it’s cold outside.

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