Tuesday 27 September 2016

Reviewed: Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin

TITLE: Christmas under a Cranberry Sky
AUTHOR: Holly Martin
PUBLISHER: Bookouture

PUBLICATION DATE: September 22, 2016

Amazon - Goodreads

Piper Chesterfield lives a glamorous life travelling the world and reviewing the finest hotels. She calls nowhere home, she works alone and that’s how she likes it. For long ago Piper decided that to protect her heart she should lock it away.

So when Piper’s next assignment brings her to the newly opened Stardust Lake Hotel for the festive season, the last person she expects to face is Gabe Whitaker, the man who broke her heart so completely she could never love again.

But Piper isn’t the only one who has been frozen in time by heartbreak. Gabe hasn’t forgotten the golden-eyed girl who disappeared from his world without a trace.

Now fate has reunited them on Juniper island, can the magic of Christmas heal old wounds? And can this enchanting town be the one place Piper can finally call home?

It’s September and I have just finished my first Christmas book of the year, and although that feels far too early there isn’t an author better at getting you in the Christmas spirit than Holly Martin. Christmas under a Cranberry Sky is as expected, a festive, wonderful wintery tale and the setting of Juniper Island is built up to be so idyllic that it gives Lapland a good run for its money as far as dreamy Christmas escapes go.

Piper is a hotel reviewer and after her last stay was at a hotel she couldn’t recommend in the least, her stay at Stardust Lake Hotel is something altogether different. The place and the people are charming, the location is enchantingly beautiful and the hotel is also run by Piper’s first love, Gabe Whitaker. Piper hasn’t seen Gabe in twelve years and things didn’t end on good terms for them. A tragic incident was the beginning of the end for their relationship but with Gabe now back in Piper’s life, at least for the duration of her hotel review, the chemistry between them is quick to resurface.

There was a lot to love about this novel. Everything, from the setting to the characters, made Christmas under a Cranberry Sky a special kind of read. One thing I liked about this book was how Piper and Gabe talked about the circumstances when she left almost straight away, without making us wait for ages. This made their connection and the backstory feel more realistic, because even though many authors like to keep us in suspense in similar situations, realistically if someone disappeared for twelve years without telling you why, when they re-appear you’re going to want to know what happened. There was still, of course, a fair few moments I wanted to bang their heads together, but knowing their circumstances early on opened up the story and made it more of that heart-warming, satisfyingly romantic novel – the kind many readers have come to love from Holly.

The characters were also a joy to read about. I liked both Piper and Gabe, as well as Gabe’s family, but my favourite was Gabe’s young daughter Wren. She was simply the sweetest character who tugs at your heartstrings and I loved her involvement in the story the most.

One of the best things about Holly’s books are that no matter how magical and fairy-tale like they appear, she makes me believe in all the things she writes about. I can feel all the emotions and experience the setting and the various things which happen during the course of the book. Holly’s style of writing is just perfect for Christmas books as it is impossible to not feel festive when reading Christmas under a Cranberry Sky. Her attention to detail and descriptions and inventive imagination creates a wonderland you’d just love to experience yourself. And regardless of what time of year you read Christmas under a Cranberry Sky, you are bound to feel full of cheer and festive spirit.

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