It’s such a pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for A Christmas Gift by Sue Moorcroft, published as an ebook by Avon Books on 4th October, with the hardback and audiobook to follow on 1st November. My thanks to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy – and for the hardback copy now looking particularly Christmassy and gorgeous on my bookshelves (together with the small trumpet so I can join in with the band!).
I’ve mentioned so many times before that Sue has long been one of my favourite authors, and it’s a privilege and joy to be part of her street team (if you’re a fan too, you can find out more here). This book is dedicated to Sue’s street team – and I’d like to thank her for that, on behalf of all its lovely members. I’ve enjoyed every book she’s ever written, but I’ll admit a particularly soft spot for her books set at Christmas – and this one really was one of the best of them all…
One Christmas can change everything…
Georgine loves Christmas. The festive season always brings the little village of Middledip to life. But since her ex-boyfriend walked out, leaving her with crippling debts, Georgine’s struggled to make ends meet.
To keep her mind off her worries, she throws herself into organising the Christmas show at the local school. And when handsome Joe Blackthorn becomes her assistant, Georgine’s grateful for the help. But there’s something about Joe she can’t quite put her finger on. Could there be more to him than meets the eye?
Georgine’s past is going to catch up with her in ways she never expected. But can the help of friends new and old make this a Christmas to remember after all?
When you look at that thoroughly gorgeous cover, I’m sure you might be expecting a bit of Christmas fluffiness – a love story, a bit of the warmth of family, a few challenges along the way, but all heading towards a happy ever after ending. My goodness, you haven’t read Sue Moorcroft’s books before, have you? As Debbie Johnson says on the cover, her books “have it all” – and that’s why I enjoy them so very much.
This is a quite wonderful, multi-layered story. Of course, I particularly loved the fact that it’s set in Middledip, with cameo appearances by much-loved characters from the author’s earlier books, together with all those familiar points of reference like Ratty’s garage, the Three Fishes and the now thriving Angel Community Cafe – but even if you’ve never visited before, you’ll enjoy the way the author builds a sense of place and community. There’s a strong and believable love story at the book’s centre, its progress largely driven by the putting together of a musical Christmas show – Georgine is events director at Acting Instrumental, the local performing arts college, and Joe is her assistant, looking after the props and lighting – and I particularly enjoyed the well-researched insights into the work involved.
But these central characters have a shared history, and this gives the story considerably darker edges than you might be expecting. Within that history, slowly revealed, there’s a strong rags to riches story – and its flip side – but as it’s explored you’ll come across neglected children, bankruptcy, alcoholism, ill health and poverty, all particularly well handled and adding real depth to the story.
Goodness, I’ve now made it all seem rather dark and depressing, haven’t I – and that’s so wrong of me, because there’s a perfect balance of light and dark, moments of joy, lots of laughter, and a warmth and uplifting quality to the whole story that I thoroughly enjoyed. And there’s plenty of tinsel and turkey, Christmas trees and sparkling lights – a perfect seasonal setting, but with a less conventional story at its heart. The author always creates wonderful characters, with considerably more complexity than you might expect, and I found myself totally invested in both Georgine and Joe, as their relationship develops and their past and present day secrets are uncovered. Joe’s story is particularly unexpected, but exceptionally well handled – and as always, there’s a particular strength to the secondary characters in both their lives.
This is a wonderful Christmas read, and might just be my new favourite of Sue Moorcroft’s many books. Do give it a try – I promise you won’t be disappointed!
About the author
Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, an international bestselling author and has held the #1 spot in the UK Kindle chart. She writes contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes.
Sue has won a Best Romantic Read Award, received two nominations at the Romantic Novel of the Year Awards and is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. Her short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’ have sold around the world.
The daughter of two soldiers, Sue was born in Germany and went on to spend much of her childhood in Malta and Cyprus. She lives in Kettering.