Yes, it’s time for another Christmas read – and who better than Lucy Coleman (or her alter ego, Linn B Halton). It’s a real pleasure today to join the blog tour and share my review of Magic Under the Mistletoe, published on 5th September by Aria, available for kindle and in paperback via Amazon, and also for Kobo, as an iBook and via Googleplay. My thanks to Vicky at Aria Fiction for the invitation and support, and for my advance reading e-copy (provided via netgalley).
I very much enjoyed Lucy’s first book for Aria, The French Adventure – you’ll find my review here – but sadly had to miss the next two because she writes even faster than I can read. (But I did notice that last year’s Christmas book, Snowflakes Over Holly Cove, is only £1.29 for kindle… if you don’t have Kindle Unlimited or Prime, to read it for free, you might like to take a look!) She’s joined me rather more often as Linn B Halton – the Christmas book I thoroughly enjoyed was Christmas at Bay Tree Cottage, and you’ll find my review here (99p for kindle – just saying!).
But let’s take a closer look at her latest…
Christmas and romance are in the air…
It’s December 23rd and while everyone else is rushing home for the holidays, workaholic Leesa Oliver is dreading switching on her out-of-office for the festive season. And it seems her equally driven boss, Cary Anderson, isn’t relishing spending Christmas at his family’s country estate either.
So together, they draft an unexpected Christmas contract: They’ll spend half of the holidays with each other’s families, pretending to be a couple. Leesa knows the insufferably good-looking Cary will make her Christmas more bearable, but what happens after the last of the mince pies have been eaten…?
Leesa signed off on a sensible business agreement, but somewhere, amongst the fairy lights and carols something seems to have changed… It seems there might just be some magic under the mistletoe this Christmas!
I’ll admit that a focus on the world of work isn’t always the way to win me over – Leesa’s growing video production business is both her passion and obsession, and there’s also quite a lot about Cary’s eco-business and all the corporate shenanigans going on around him. But in this book, I thought it all worked really well – the characters are particularly strongly drawn, with interesting histories and different reasons not to be looking forward to their Christmases – and their business focus makes their unusual contract entirely sensible, logical and believable. I enjoyed the way their contract, and their initially uncomfortable relationship, progressed – not just for Christmas, but throughout the year ahead, and with a perfect seasonal conclusion.
The book really came to life for me with the introduction of Cary’s grandmother Cressida – she’s such a fascinating character, with a career that will delight every reader – and then there are other family complications that come into play, with a satisfying spotlight on fresh starts and second chances.
Family complications are a feature of Leesa’s life too, in more ways than one. There are quite a number of side stories and sub-plots – every one well developed, and seen through to their conclusion, with twists and surprises along the way. And I really did like the way the relationship between Cary and Leesa was developed – a slow thaw as things become rather warmer.
I always love the vividness of the author’s descriptions – this time it was particularly Cressida’s home with its magnificent tree in the hall, the lighting of the approach to the attic study, the cottage in the grounds. And the book’s conclusion brings a veritable explosion of everything Christmassy you could ever desire – quite wonderful.
I really enjoyed this one. So much more than a straightforward romance, satisfyingly complex, engaging characters – and the right amount of Christmas sparkle to make it a seasonal read or one for any time of year.
About the author
Lucy lives in the Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her lovely husband and Bengal cat, Ziggy. Her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards. Lucy won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award.
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