Christmas on the Riviera – Jennifer Bohnet

I loved reading about the eclectic characters in this book, all of whom I warmed to pretty much immediately, but particularly Elodie and Gabriella. I also enjoyed discovering/rediscovering Juan-Les-Pins with them.

Gabriella does seem to have a number of secrets that she is keeping from Elodie though. You will have to read this great book for yourself to find out about those secrets, but if you enjoy this book half as much as I did, then you’ll be ok!

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The Christmas Trip – Sandy Barker

Another year has passed and it’s Christmas again. This year best friends Chloe, Jules and Lucy are all loved up but living worlds apart.

Chloe is madly in love with her celebrity beau, Archer, but after a whirlwind year in Hollywood’s limelight, she’s desperate to get away and spend some quality time together.

Jules loves her Melbourne life – and gorgeous winemaker Matt – but a crowded flat share has her longing for a place of her own.

Meantime, Lucy is stuck in a long distance relationship, jetting back and forth between Colorado and London to see Will.

When Archer’s plan to whisk Chloe to Paris goes awry, he surprises her by bringing her friends together for a Christmas to remember..

I have so enjoyed the previous books by Sandy Barker, so I was very muck looking forward to reading this festive treat.

Chloe, Jules and Lucy seem to be living their best, albeit separate lives, but circumstances collude to bring them together in Hawaii for Christmas, years after the ‘May Girls’ first met as youngsters.

Will Lucy get over her other half agreeing to this trip without asking her? Can her friends work out what is up with her?

Is Audrey’s unexpected arrival going to cause any kind of issue?

As for Archer’s proposal plan – what an possibly go right wrong?

Does Audrey really have eyes on Will?

Is Madison going to turn up and make a scene?

Could anything come from the flirting between Nate and Sean?

Will the three ‘May Girls’ see the other side of Christmas with their relationships intact?

Will this Christmas trip turn out to be one they will never forget? Read this great story for yourself, to find out.

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The Christmas Castle in Scotland – Julie Caplin

Izzy McBride had never in a million years expected to inherit an actual castle from her great uncle Bill but here she was, in the run up to Christmas, Monarch of her own Glen – a very rundown glen in need of a lot of TLC if her dream of turning it into a boutique bed and breakfast was to come true.

But when Izzy’s eccentric mother rents a room to enigmatic thriller author Ross Adair and the Scottish snow starts to settle like the frosting on a Christmas cake, it’s a race to get the castle ready before they’re all snowed in for the holidays.

I have loved the previous Julie Caplin books that I have read, so, Halloween over, this new book seemed like the perfect opportunity to ease myself into the festive period once more. I must confess to suffering from a little turret envy. I simply cannot walk past that rare entity – a house with a little turret, without a few wistful thoughts. I haven’t ever dreamed of living in/staying in/owning, a whole castle however!

I immediately warmed to Izzy, but her Mother Xanthe did seem a bit of a handful – a character and a half. As for Ross, the enigmatic author renting a room (via Xanthe) at the castle, much to Izzy’s chagrin, what’s not to like! But what is he hiding? John from the farm shop also provided a potential romantic interest – although it seemed there was maybe history between John and Ross? I did however feel for Izzy though, upon hearing about Xanthe’s plan for Christmas!

25k to rent the castle out for a week – but can Izzy and Xanthe pull off making the castle look half way decent in six weeks?

The wild campers in the castle grounds were a bit of a mystery, but Izzy showed her true colours, by being more than kind to them. As for the castle sapphires, was there any truth in the story or was it just folklore?

I loved the way that Izzy seemed to collect waifs and strays at the castle, such was her kind heart, but it seemed that they all wanted to help herewith Christmas, as a kind of payment for her kindness, which was really quite heartwarming.

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Mistletoe and Magic for the Cornish Midwife – Jo Bartlett

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…

But for single mum and busy midwife Nadia, it’s quickly turning into her worst Christmas ever.

Her marriage is over, and whilst her husband has moved on, Nadia finds herself back home, squashed into her mum’s spare room with her two small children. They might not be a perfect familyanymore, but Nadia is determined to make this Christmas special for them.

Dr Hamish Spencer totally understands Nadia’s pain. As a fellow single parent, he’s struggling to cope with a rebellious teen daughter and a precocious six-year-old!

Perhaps if he and Nadia join forces, they could make this Christmas slightly more memorable for everyone?

The last thing Nadia wants is a new man in her life, but she’d definitely like lovely Hamish as a friend.

But Christmas has a way of melting the hardest of hearts and maybe a kiss under the mistletoe could change everything?

Oh what a treat, to be given the opportunity to review the next instalment in Jo Bartlett’s Cornish Midwife series.

I was immediately drawn to Nadia, having been a working mum myself, but my working life really didn’t compare to that of a midwife, in that I was always able to stop what I was doing, in order go and pick up my children. Life for a midwife is so different, in that you can’t diarise anything; there’s no hurrying a birth up because of the imminent school run. Each baby will turn up exactly when it’s ready and not a moment before!

I really felt for Nadia, when she was late to pick her child up from nursery school – made worse by the teacher at the nursery fawning over the also-late Dr Spencer, whilst simultaneously chastising Nadia- suggesting that she understood how difficult it was for a GP to get away, but the same understanding didn’t extend to midwives delivering babies. Dr Spencer sounded a delight and I did harbour a hope – that he might be single – as I’m sure he’d make the perfect other half for Nadia! Regardless, Nadia and I had certainly got the wrong end of the stick regarding exactly who Saffron was!

Dr Hamish Spencer was marvellous at dealing with Nadia’s patient Genevieve, but It did seem that he was speaking from personal experience – perhaps explains the demise of his Wife. Nevertheless, he was oozing with compassion; just what Genevieve needed. I had renewed hope for the prospect of Hamish and Nadia getting together, but she would need to win around Hamish’s teenage Daughter Saffron around first – and she was hugely protective of Hamish and her little Sister Daisy.

I did find myself feeling for Nadia’s Mother, Frankie, at the behaviour of her Son. I just hoped that he would see sense before the festive season. Frankie really didn’t deserve the backlash she got from him, especially in a public arena.

I do love babies and it seems that I also love reading about bringing babies into the world, with Jo Bartlett’s unparalleled midwife series. One might worry about the author running out of story lines, but with each book I think it is the best ever, and when the next one comes along, it proves me wrong by being even better, with its fabulous characters and innovative story lines. I also love the way that the new characters seamlessly blend in with the new characters.

If you only intend to read one book from this series, choose this one, for an unbeatable first visit to Port Agnes, with its uplifting stories and characters within. Prepare to be hooked!

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