I really should have reviewed Christmas in Lantern Square by Helen Rolfe before now – it’s the third in a four-part serial set in Butterbury in the Cotswolds, published for kindle on 5th November. In fact, it’s taken me so long (my apologies, life’s been a little busy!) that I’ve now read – and thoroughly enjoyed – the fourth part too: Snowfall in Lantern Square was published for kindle on 3rd December, and it really was everything I wanted it to be.
I shared my review of the first part, Summer Nights in Lantern Square back in August: and in October I read and reviewed the second part, Falling Leaves in Lantern Square. For those of you who haven’t been following the series of novellas, the complete Lantern Square story will be published for kindle and in paperback on 6th August next year, and it’s now available for pre-order.
Shall I skip the bit where I tell you (again) that I’ve never really been a great fan of stories told in parts, but that Helen Rolfe does it so wonderfully that I just can’t resist? Ok then, I will – let’s just have a look at this summary of the whole series…
Hannah went from high flyer in the city to business owner and has never looked back. In the cosy Cotswold village of Butterbury she runs Tied up with String, sending handmade gifts and care packages across the miles, as well as delivering them to people she thinks need them the most.
But when her ex best-friend Georgia turns up and wants in on the action, will Hannah be willing to forgive and forget? With her business in jeopardy she needs to maintain the reputation she’s established, and discover who she can trust…
Meanwhile, a mysterious care package lands on her own doorstep at Lantern Cottage. Who is trying to win her heart – and will she ever be willing to give it away?
I’ve loved every moment of this series – gloriously Christmassy, with a heroine I really took to my heart, a community wonderfully drawn, and a story (well, a few really!) running through its parts that kept me quite enthralled.
Things have started going a little awry with Hannah’s care package business, more than can just be put down to mistakes – and some of the consequences could have been rather serious (although one of the recipients really made me smile!). Someone seems to be trying to sabotage her success, and she really needs to find out who it is.
Meanwhile the doctor seems to have a revolving door to his house, with women passing in and out, and – although he often shows his softer and more caring side, as well as being rather hot – it rather looks like he’s not really the man for her. Her ex Luke is rather more in-her-face than she’d like him to be, and she has time to reflect on some of her regrets and lingering sadness. And then there’s Georgia, that friend from the past – what is she up to?
I just loved the visits to the old people’s home, where she’s now started a bookclub – and is working behind the scenes to bring happiness to a few of the residents, and to others who might be finding life a little lonely at Christmas. And I must say that this story might just have been one of the most Christmassy I’ve read – the square itself with its lights sparkling on the snow, the carol concert, the lovely lantern walk, the little acts of kindness, all thoroughly perfect. I particularly loved the illuminated animals – and yes, the churro stand makes another appearance, its deliciousness now with the aroma of Christmas spices.
The various mysteries work their way through – one particularly dramatically, and really well-handled. And then there’s that lovely touch of romance to make the season complete – the closing scenes, as Hannah closes the door on her past, were absolutely everything I wanted them to be, and left me both with a tear in my eye and a smile on my face. Heartwarming? Oh yes – just perfect. The ending I wanted? Most definitely!
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Lantern Square – but if it’s too close to Christmas for you to catch up now, do put it on your list for when the complete story is published next August. I recommend it most highly.
About the author
Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction with an emphasis on relationships and love. She enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and characters who face challenges and fight to overcome them. Helen enjoys creating strong female lead characters and although her stories often deal with serious issues, they always have a happy ending.