It’s a real pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage by Lucy Coleman: published by Boldwood Books on 3rd September, it’s now available as an e-book (and free to read through Kindle Unlimited), in paperback, and as an audiobook too. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading copy (provided via netgalley).
I find Lucy Coleman’s books really difficult to resist (and I’m often rather partial to the books of Linn B. Halton too!) – and when I saw there was Christmas in the mix, I knew straight away that any attempt at resistance was futile. The last book I read from Lucy was Summer in Provence – you’ll find my review here, read right back at the start of lockdown, and it was just the most perfect of escapes. A bit early for a Christmassy book? Hey, it’s never too early in this house…
Join us for Christmas in the Cotswolds in this perfect festive escape, from the bestselling Lucy Coleman.
Imogen Tolliman never knew her mother. And when an accident robs Immi of her father too, she goes to live with her grandfather, Tollie, in his picturesque lock-keeper’s cottage by the Aysbury marina.
Tollie is the star of the Santa Ahoy Special each Christmas – a festive boat ride along the canal that enthralls both children and adults alike. And as Immi grows up, she starts to appreciate the magical community she is lucky enough to live in.
When Immi meets Gray Adams, she instantly realises he’s someone special. And as their relationship gets serious, they start to plan for the Christmas to beat all Christmases.
But as the day approaches, and the romantic snow showers turn into blizzards, their dream of a Christmas to remember, looks set to be one they’ll never forget – for all the wrong reasons. Can they salvage the festivities, or will old secrets that are finally uncovered turn Immi’s life upside down forever?
Let Lucy Coleman transport you away to a dreamy Cotswolds Christmas full of snowflakes and secrets, log fires, mistletoe, friends and much-loved traditions. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley, Holly Martin and Sue Moorcroft.
Now, I know I always say you can read a Christmassy book at any time of year (well, I can anyway!), but I’m going to make a bit of a suggestion. Download this book now – just in case you forget – then keep it until you’re starting to get a bit frazzled in that run up to the big day. And when the family are hogging the TV and there’s no chance of chilling out with a Hallmark movie, settle down and enjoy it – it’ll be exactly what you need in so many ways.
It’s overflowing with love and community and people being so lovely to each other, the second largest snowfall the Cotswolds have ever had, Father Christmas and his elves (not the real ones, but hey…), so much sparkle, a romance that makes you all warm and fuzzy… and so much more. If you’re looking up at the bare beams of your barn conversion, it’ll give you some great ideas how to decorate them: if your turkey’s too big for your roasting tray and you only have a vegetable paring knife, your problems are over: and if your dining table’s not big enough for all your family and hangers-on, you’ll be absolutely fine (so long as you have a bit of marine-ply in your garage).
The author’s always had a particularly special touch where Christmas is concerned – but she’s really excelled herself with this one (goodness, and I haven’t even told you about the Santa Ahoy cruises on the narrowboats on the canal – or the particularly special ones they put on for their Little Stars…). Aysbury is the perfect setting, so vividly drawn – and the cast of well-defined characters is quite wonderful. And there’s nothing I enjoy much more than a story like this where people pull together when the chips are down, but there might just be a few well placed secrets just waiting to be uncovered.
I will admit that the last 10% or so of the book did come as a bit of a surprise – one of those rather jaw-dropping twists, perhaps just a little bit unexpected after all the loveliness that had gone before – but it really does work in context and answers a few questions that lurk below the story.
You really can’t help but like Immi at the book’s heart – once a troubled teen, now blissfully happy in her relationship with Gray, a wonderful relationship with grandfather Tollie, happy to do anything for anyone and universally loved. I did have a couple of small niggles about Gray – his concern for his ailing mum perhaps a tad OTT, and all that humming and finger-tapping (he’s a composer…) would have distinctly put me off – but their romance is real and entirely convincing.
This was just such a lovely, lovely book – but maybe not for September, although I know it’s so very difficult to get the timing of Christmas releases exactly right. Yes, definitely one for the run-up to Christmas – and you’ll love it too!
About the author
Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.