Well, it might only be October, but now it really does feel like the festive season’s not too far away… I always know it’s time to check my stocks of tinsel when Sue Moorcroft’s Christmas release lands on my kindle. Let It Snow was published for kindle (and on all other major e-book platforms) on 26th September by Avon Books (currently just 99p – but do check before you click!): and that gorgeous cover, complete with sparkle, will be absolutely everywhere when the paperback is released on 14th November (available for pre-order from Amazon). My thanks to the publishers for the blog tour invitation, and for my advance reading e-copy (provided via netgalley).
I know I’ve said this many times before, but I’ve been a fan of Sue Moorcroft’s books for more years than I can remember – just put her name in the search bar, and you’ll find reviews of so many of her lovely books. But I’ll admit I’ve always had a particularly soft spot for the Christmas ones – and when I heard that this book was partly set in the village of Middledip again, I was looking forward to it more than ever. And then there was the promise of an “escape to a winter wonderland”… yes, loved it before reading the first page!
This Christmas, the villagers of Middledip are off on a very Swiss adventure…
Family means everything to Lily Cortez and her sister Zinnia, and growing up in their non-conventional family unit, they and their two mums couldn’t have been closer.
So it’s a bolt out of the blue when Lily finds her father wasn’t the anonymous one-night stand she’d always believed – and is in fact the result of her mum’s reckless affair with a married man.
Confused, but determined to discover her true roots, Lily sets out to find the family she’s never known; an adventure that takes her from the frosted, thatched cottages of Middledip to the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, via a memorable romantic encounter along the way…
The Sunday Times bestseller returns with a gloriously cosy read, perfect for fans of Katie Fforde, Trisha Ashley and Carole Matthews.
So why is it that I love Sue Moorcroft’s books so much? First of all, there’s the world she creates – and this story begins in Middledip, drawing in the many readers who’ve read her earlier books (but never excluding those who haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting), introducing a few characters regular readers will recognise, revisiting some familiar locations. This time much of the early action is focused on the pub, The Three Fishes, where Isaac is the relief manager while Tubb is away in Switzerland, and Lily (for reasons that soon become clear) works both behind the bar and in the restaurant.
And that pub setting brings in something else about her writing that I always enjoy, her meticulous research and the way she uses it to bring a setting to life – from the preparations for Christmas and interactions with the customers to the realities of a publican’s life, both at the Three Fishes and the failed glitzy bar that Isaac used to run.
The reasons why Lily is in Middledip provide an original and very different background storyline – her unconventional parents (two mothers – and the whole idea so well handled), her need to find the rest of her family, her close relationship with “sister” Zinnia rarely without its fireworks or larger explosions. Sue Moorcroft’s books always have an edge of something a little darker, an unexpected complication (or several) – but always perfectly judged, the story-telling never losing its lightness, always focused on the convincing developing romance at the story’s heart, never without a splash of humour. There’s always a happy ending, once the many obstacles that arise have been overcome – but I really enjoy that extra touch of depth and complexity, always realistically handled.
Her characters are always excellent – in this book, both Lily and Isaac won my heart (and that happy ending was a long time coming, and often in considerable doubt). But I very much liked the supporting cast too – Isaac’s family as well as Lily’s (his mother particularly well drawn), the threat from his former girlfriend (and the unexpected way in which it was developed), every single member of the singing group individually drawn with their own dramas and concerns. And then there’s the wonderful Doggo, Isaac’s dalmatian – should you ever doubt that a dog can be a fully rounded character, he’s the proof you’ve been looking for, and an absolute joy with his every intervention.
But if it’s Christmas you’re looking for… well, once the action moves to Switzerland, you couldn’t really ask for more. Again, the author’s research comes strongly to the fore – coming after a road trip through which you live every moment, the descriptions are just stunning. The scenery, the markets, the food, the music, the cuckoo clocks, and all that snow – I’ve never been, but she certainly involves all the senses as she brings the setting so vividly and perfectly to life.
There’s the world of work too, wholly successfully woven in – the convention, the stand for the promotion of British food that Lily helped to design, the question marks about the future direction of her life. And Switzerland really is the perfect backdrop against which to develop her relationship with Isaac, and to work through some of those complex family issues, with a perfect balance of joy and heartbreak.
This book was excellent – more than enough Christmas content for the most ardent fan of the festive season, a wholly satisfying romance, but also an excellent and well-developed story, superbly told in Sue Moorcroft’s unique style. Highly recommended by me… I thoroughly enjoyed it.
About the author
Award-winning author Sue Moorcroft writes contemporary women’s fiction with occasionally unexpected themes. She’s won a Readers’ Best Romantic Read Award and been nominated for others, including a ‘RoNA’ (Romantic Novel Award). Sue’s a Katie Fforde Bursary Award winner, a past vice chair of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and editor of its two anthologies.
She also writes short stories, serials, articles, writing ‘how to’ and is a creative writing tutor.
The daughter of two soldiers, Sue was born in Germany and went on to spend much of her childhood in Malta and Cyprus. She likes reading, Zumba, FitStep, yoga, and watching Formula 1.
For more information on Sue Moorcroft and her books, she has an excellent website: she also has a Facebook author page, and you can follow her on Twitter. And if you’d like sign up for her newsletter, you can do so here.