Really happy to be joining the blog tour today for A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt – the first book in the series The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite, published on October 18th by Tule Publishing, and available from Amazon in the UK and US. I am slightly ashamed though that this is yet another book from Kate that I just couldn’t manage to read… and it does look so lovely!
Welcome to Thornthwaite, a quaint village tucked up in England’s beautiful but rainy Lake District… where homecomings happen and surprises are in store for the four Holley sisters…
Anna Holley, the third of four sisters, has always felt a little bit forgotten. A family tragedy when she was a child had her retreating deep into shyness, and social anxiety kept her on the fringes of the cozy, chaotic bustle of the busy vicarage.
When she finished school Anna left for Manchester and tried to avoid coming back home and the well-meaning nosiness being a Holley sister in a small village like Thornthwaite meant… but when her father says he has an important announcement to make, she’s drawn back home for the happy chaos of a vicarage Christmas.
Avoiding her sisters’ bossy questions, Anna heads out to the local pub one night, and meets a handsome stranger nursing a pint. Somehow, unburdened by expectations, Simon seems like the perfect person to spill all her secrets to—including a hopeless, long-held crush on her sister’s boyfriend. Confident she’ll never see him again, Anna returns home… only to discover the next day that Simon is actually her father’s new curate!
Anna is beyond mortified, but Simon won’t let her retreat into her usual shyness—and for once Anna is forced to confront the past, and all the fears and feelings she’d tried so long to hide. But with his own heartache that needs to heal, can Simon help Anna to make this the most magical Christmas either of them have known?
Romance and Christmas – what more could you want, eh? I’m delighted to welcome Kate to Being Anne to tell us about her five favourite Christmas films and reads.
I love Christmas! And so of course I love books and films about Christmas, too. It took some serious consideration because there are so many to choose from, but I’ve listed my top five picks below. I picked ones that I’ve enjoyed with my family, because Christmas is such an important family time, and we have great memories of all of these!
It’s A Wonderful Life: A classic Christmas film that we watch every year on Christmas Eve—and cry every time. For those who don’t know it, it’s a story of a man in a small town living what he feels is a small, unimportant life. When things go very wrong and he thinks of killing himself, an angel named Clarence shows him what everyone’s lives would have been like if he hadn’t existed. It is very moving and also prompts quite a lot of discussion with our children about the nature and sacrifice involved in loving someone. Plus we all love Zuzu’s petals! (Watch the film to get the reference ☺)
The Grinch Who Stole Christmas: To be clear, I’m talking about the 1960s cartoon with Boris Karloff narrating, not the feature film with Jim Carrey. This cartoon is worth watching for the Grinch’s dog Max alone, wagging his tail eagerly as he jumps into the sledge. And of course Dr. Seuss’ poem is absolutely brilliant, and really comes to life with the simple but incredibly apt animation. We all love watching the Grinch’s heart grow three sizes that day!
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer: Again I’m talking about the 1960s cartoon, this one with Burl Ives narrating. It’s worth getting hold of a copy somewhere because this is absolutely brilliant. We love the Island of Misfit Toys (No one wants a Charlie-in-the-box! Or a train with square wheels!) and Yukon Cornelius, Rudolph’s friend looking for gold. And of course there is Herbie, the elf who actually wants to be a dentist. If it all sounds a bit mad, that’s because it is, and such good fun. We watch it every year.
The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey: This is a children’s story set in Victorian times about a woodworker who lost his wife and comes back to life and love through the carving of a nativity set, a curious little boy, and a lovingly persistent widow. It’s such a simple yet emotional story. I guarantee you will be choked up at the end, if not full on ugly crying, in the best possible way, of course.
Jesus’ Christmas Party: This is a fun story for little ones, and a different take on the nativity story, told from the viewpoint of the grumpy innkeeper who only wants to get a good night’s sleep, but everybody keeps waking him up. My four-year-old absolutely loves it, and acts it out as I read.
So those are my picks, but what are yours? Is there any film or book you watch/read every year? Tell me in the comments, because I’d love some recommendations!
Thanks you Kate – It’s A Wonderful Life is already one of my favourites, but I think I really must try The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey… and your book, of course!
With thanks to Kate and tour organiser Brook Cottage Books, I have a lovely giveaway for you – first prize an Amazon gift card, second prize an e-copy of A Cotswold Christmas. Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
About Kate Hewitt
Kate Hewitt is the author of over 60 novels of women’s fiction and romance. Whatever the genre, she enjoys telling an emotionally compelling story. An American ex-pat, she now lives in a small market town in Wales with her husband and five children.