Review: Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

Friday 9 October 2015
Title: Christmas at Lilac Cottage
Author: Holly Martin
Publication Date: 25th September 2015
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 350
Source: Review Copy
Rating: 4/5
Purchase: Amazon
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?

There are some authors who you know you can turn to when you need a little bit of a pick me up and one of those authors for me is Holly Martin. It has been a while since I picked up one of Holly's books, but I very quickly lost myself in the setting of White Cliff Bay which was just so gloriously magical that I found myself looking forward to Christmas in September.

One of the most important things in a story for me is for the main character to be somebody that I can really believe in and when I met Penny Meadows for the first time I found myself almost feeling sorry for her. Living in this lovely place yet cocooned in her home, desperate to meet her new lodgers because she is yearning for some friendship. So when her new neighbour Henry arrives and appears frostier than the weather outside, it seems as though the friendship Penny desires will never materialise. Very quickly though there's a spark between the two characters, and it isn't always a friendly one.

I had a couple of issues in the beginning especially in the way our two main characters kept switching their moods and the relationship between Penny and Henry didn't immediately seem natural to me but then I realised that this is something that sets Holly's books apart from some of the others out there. Whilst the story is at turns magical and almost sickly sweet, it is also a believable story with a realistic relationship featuring two people who aren't perfect, who have their differences and who have a number of obstacles that they must face before the end of the story.

Penny is an easy character to believe in because you want her to succeed and find happiness and I wanted this for her even more when we meet some of the secondary characters, some of whom are especially horrible people but who ultimately just made me love Penny even more. There is also a whole host of secondary characters (including a lovely friend of Penny's that some readers will instantly recognise the name of!) that have their roles to play in the telling of this story.

One of the highlights of Holly's books has always been her leading men. Men who her readers very quickly fall in love with. I think it can sometimes be difficult for an author to consistently create characters that stand out or 'feel' different from their other characters and so I did find myself comparing Henry with the likes of Harry from One Hundred Proposals (though I pictured Henry as a bit more manly than Harry...) but at the same time the addition of Henry's daughter to the story, and a mysterious past meant that he definitely became his own character and I think there will be a number of readers that finish this story wanting their very own Henry.

I love how Holly always adds a number of unique aspects to her books and one of the things in particular I have enjoyed in the past is the jobs she gives to her characters. It is somewhat refreshing to read a story where the heroine doesn't have a typical job (and isn't a damsel in distress who needs a man to keep her while she spends all day swanning around). In Christmas at Lilac Cottage, Penny creates ice sculptures which is something I really enjoyed reading about and it's certainly something I have never read about in a book before. Penny is a woman probably not all that dissimilar to some of the people that will pick up this book, and that's something I always like about this genre, when we are reading about real, believable characters.

I am delighted that Holly made the move to Bookouture as they have become one of my must-read, never fail publishers and we are being spoilt this year with two visits to White Cliff Bay with Holly's second Christmas book, Snowflakes on Silver Cove, being released at the end of October. Plenty of time for you to pick up Christmas at Lilac Cottage and fall in love with this wonderful little story.


  1. Just finished Christmas at Lilac Cottage on my kindle couldn't put it down lovely story will be reading more Holly Martin books thank you .

  2. Just finished Christmas at Lilac Cottage on my kindle couldn't put it down lovely story will be reading more Holly Martin books thank you .


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