‘Welcome to the charming seaside town of White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air…
Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.
When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.
As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore…
While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of.’
As you should all know by now I absolutely fucking LOVE Holly Martin and her books! Whenever I get even a wiff of a new book I get all giddy and squeal and jump around like a bookworm in a bookshop…..
I never said it was pretty, but let’s face it this is the lady who writes novels made for devouring in one go, made to transport you through pages to a world where a sprinkle of magic and a dusting of romance will have you falling in love and packing your bags to go live in her books.
For me, One Hundred Proposal’s is my absolute utter favourite story by Holly EVER, I never in my life imagined that she would create a hero I would love more…… but then along came Henry!
BOY! Can Miss Martin write a hunk of a hero. But more about him later!
Christmas at Lilac Cottage follows the wonderfully kind, sweet and loving life of Penny Meadows, an ice sculptor who lives alone with her huge hairy dog Bernard in Lilac Cottage, in the brilliant White Cliff Bay. Tired of living alone Penny decides to rent out her annexe to Henry and Daisy, who she presumes is his wife. Penny cannot wait to have some company up at Lilac Cottage and truly hopes that they will become good friends sharing dinners and gossip. The night of their arrival Penny is left feeling flat and disappointed, Henry turns up alone and its obvious he won’t be sharing any kind of gossip over a dinner, Penny can only hope that his wife will be different. As the night goes on Penny is horrified at how attractive she finds Henry but she finds the way he looks at her uncomfortable too, he has a wife!
He shouldn’t look at anyone other than his wife like that. The connecting door from her home to the annexe will always be open, figuratively speaking, and Penny hopes it will be used by them as they become friends, but that first night Henry covers the door with a bookcase and Penny is left feeling deflated. For Henry, this isn’t going to be permanent, he will stay at Lilac Cottage whilst himself and Daisy settle into the new area, job and school before they find a home of their own.
When Daisy finally arrives Penny jumps in at the deep end and has a go at Henry for having such a young wife, disgusted with him for the fact she is still a child and questioning whether that’s why they have moved, because he has run away with her. Henry quickly explains that Daisy is his daughter and Penny is left feeling embarrassed, and secretly happy that she needn’t feel guilty for finding him so attractive and it’s clear from the off that she Daisy will become very close friends, so close that Daisy warns her dad to stay away from Penny. He has a reputation for never committing to anything serious and Daisy doesn’t want Penny to be hurt by her dad and for him to jeopardise her newly acquired job with Penny. Daisy was the night of a drunken night when her parents were sixteen, she was then abandoned by her mother and Henry had to fight for her to raise her himself, all at the age of sixteen. It’s because of this that Henry agrees to not go near Penny, because he would do anything to keep Daisy happy and reassure her that she is loved and cared for more than anything.
But as time moves along Henry and Penny begin to spend a lot of time together, bonding over home cooked meals and trips out together and the attraction between them is undeniable. They are unable to stay away from each other or keep their hands off of one another…
But because of Henry’s promise to Daisy, Penny has to agree to keeping their relationship a secret. Which involves a lot of sneaking around and lying to Daisy, something they both feel horribly guilty about. But that is not all that stands in the way of utter bliss. Henry finds himself the target of one of the bosses at work, she wants Henry and she wants him bad. It seems she will stop at nothing to get what she wants…. a night with Henry, even resorting to blackmail and threatening his job.
As Penny and Henry grow closer, Penny and Daisy grow closer and Henry and Daisy welcome Penny into their family with open arms, which makes their secret harder to keep and has them feeling more and more guilty about going behind Daisy’s back.
But that’s not all that happens in White Cliff Bay, we have drama at sea and daring rescues. Gingerbread house building, ice sculpting competitions with lots of blatant cheating and an outrageous Italian with inappropriate ice sculptors and proposals towards poor Penny!
I LOVED everything about Christmas at Lilac Cottage, the story was enchanting and addictive. The characters were impossible not to love. Penny is a real girl who you can relate too on every level, her apprehension of starting a new relationship is relatable to any girl who has been hurt by an idiot and her insecurities about why Henry is so amendment to keep their relationship a secret is believable too, she wants to be honest with Daisy, she never wants to lie to her and wants Daisy to trust her and confide in her, and by starting off with lying to her she feels uneasy. She is a kind and lovely woman without a bad bone in her body, this is something I adore about Holly’s books, her heroines are likable and women we can see ourselves in. As for Henry he is a GOOD guy, he is kind, thoughtful, romantic, loving and absolutely gorgeous. Not only this, he is an amazing father, Daisy comes first and even with his over protectiveness she still adores him and they have a relationship that every girl should have with their dad. You will never read a book by Holly Martin where you don’t crush hard on her hero’s, there is never a hidden agenda with Henry, he is honest and open and has a heart of gold that will have you desperately searching for your own Henry. I think Daisy was my favourite character, she was super sweet and brilliantly cheeky. Daisy was also filled with fear of being abandoned that made my heart ache for her, she had no idea how much she was loved by everyone around her and how far they would go to protect her. Instead of being spoiled by what happened to her, she was still an incredibly bright, funny, loving and kind young lady. Daisy and Henry’s relationship was wonderful, as was Penny and Daisy’s relationship, it was so much fun to watch it grow into something so important for both of them. It was so heartwarming to see Penny become a mother figure and best friend to Daisy, she had so little of a female role model growing up and to find one in Penny couldn’t have been better. The three of them together made a wonderful unit and had me racing through the pages praying for a happy ending.
Holly Martin writes to sweep you away from a rainy cloudy day to a bright and magical world where you can almost smell the mince pies and feel the snow on your nose. Not only does Holly write romance to make you weak at the knees she will have you laughing until your eyes water one minute and cooling yourself down from a rather steamy sex scene the next! Holly Martin is my favourite author and I simply cannot wait to read the next installment of The White Cliff Bay series, something she has never done before and something I will hound her about until I get the next book!
Christmas At Lilac Cottage is the perfect winter treat and will be best read with a blanket and a hot chocolate!