A little late in the day again, but it’s such a pleasure today to be featuring another book from one of my favourite publishers, Choc Lit – with thanks for my advance reading e-copy. Christmas at Borteen Bay, a rather lovely novella from Morton S. Gray, is published today (13th November), available from Amazon for kindle and as an audiobook, and on all major e-book platforms. Morton’s no stranger to Being Anne: I featured an extract from The Truth Lies Buried, the second in the Borteen Secrets series, back in May (you’ll find it here), and it was really good to work with her on the recent feature on the writers of #ApricotPlots (and here‘s the link to that one). But, to my shame, I still hadn’t got round to reading and reviewing one of her books – until now, and what a perfect introduction it was!
Christmas has a way of bringing family secrets to the surface…
Christmas is a bittersweet time for Pippa Freeman. There are good memories, of course – but some painful ones too.
Then her mother is implicated in a mysterious occurrence in their home town of Borteen, and Pippa wonders if she’ll ever experience a happy Christmas again – especially when a family secret is revealed.
But when police officer and old school friend Ethan Gibson offers his support, Pippa begins to realise that even though her life has been turned upside down, a happy and hopeful Christmas isn’t impossible…
Don’t worry for an instant that this is the third book set in Borteen Bay – you’ll recognise some of the characters and locations if you’ve read the author’s other books, but I read this one as a standalone and it worked quite perfectly. And it was a really lovely read – with an intriguing story line dipping into the past and its impact on the present, with some well-developed characters at its centre, a few touches of real drama and mystery, and a rather lovely developing romance.
I particularly liked Ethan – and really enjoyed the way the story’s viewpoint switched between him and Pippa, helping the reader understand them both so well. There’s sadness and tears in this story, secrets and regrets, but also some of the loveliest touches of lightness – who could fail to love a policeman who wants to run barefoot on the beach, throws pebbles into the sea to relieve stress, offers a hand to hold and a shoulder to cry on, and has the magic touch with a coffee machine?
And the story is quite gloriously Christmassy, as you’d expect with that lovely cover – lots of singing, the town coming together to trim the community Christmas tree, unexpected guests at Christmas dinner, and the loveliest of Christmas presents that it would be quite impossible to wrap. The writing is excellent – I was particularly struck by the realistic dialogue that also moves the story forward. Engaging, heart-warming, uplifting, and a really good story with a tad more depth than you might expect from a novella – I really enjoyed this one.
About the author
Morton S. Gray lives with her husband, two sons and Lily, the tiny white dog, in Worcestershire, U.K. She has been reading and writing fiction for as long as she can remember, penning her first attempt at a novel aged fourteen. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and The Society of Authors.
Her debut novel The Girl on the Beach was published as an ebook in January 2017, after she won The Choc Lit Publishing Search for a Star competition. The story follows a woman with a troubled past as she tries to unravel the mystery surrounding her son’s headteacher, Harry Dixon. This book is now also available as a paperback.
Morton’s second book for Choc Lit The Truth Lies Buried was published as an eBook on 1 May 2018. Another romantic suspense novel, the book tells the story of Jenny Simpson and Carver Rodgers as they uncover secrets from their past.
Morton previously worked in the electricity industry in committee services, staff development and training. She has a Business Studies degree and is a fully qualified clinical hypnotherapist and Reiki master. She also has diplomas in Tuina acupressure massage and energy field therapy. She enjoys crafts, history and loves tracing family trees. Having a hunger for learning new things is a bonus for the research behind her books.