I’m absolutely delighted today to be helping launch the blog tour for Under the Mistletoe by Sue Moorcroft, and to share my publication day review. Published by Avon Books, it’s now available in every format you could possibly want – and I know there are so many readers who, like me, just can’t resist a Christmas book from Sue (especially when it’s set in the lovely village of Middledip). You’ll find the paperback in your favourite high street book shop or your nearest large supermarket, or you might like to buy it on-line from Bookshop.org, Amazon or WH Smith: if you prefer an e-book, it’s available on kindle via Amazon, for Kobo, or via Apple Books, and as an audiobook via Audible. Thank you, as always, to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the publishers for my advance reading e-copy, provided via netgalley.
You might just have noticed by now that I’m a massive fan of Sue Moorcroft’s writing – I really don’t mind if it’s a book set in the Mediterranean sunshine or if we’re in the depths of winter with the snow steadily falling, I find them all totally irresistible. She’s been one of my very favourite authors for quite a few years now – she’s a superb storyteller, the romantic content of her books is always convincing and engaging, her characters are always strong and well-developed, and I really enjoy the contemporary and slightly darker edge she always includes in her stories. And, as well as all that, she unfailingly writes the most wonderful Christmas books that make me want to bring in the tree immediately and start stringing up the fairy lights… yes, I was really looking forward to this one!
Christmas. A time for family, friends – and rekindling old flames…
When Laurel returns to the village of Middledip, she’s looking for a quiet life. Adjusting to her recent divorce, she’s ready to spend some time getting back on her feet amidst the glorious snow-dusted countryside.
Yet, life in Middledip is far from straightforward. Coming to the aid of her sister, Rea, as she navigates her own troubles, Laurel barely has a moment to think about where her own life is going.
However, time stands still when she sees her old flame, Grady Cassidy – and it’s soon as if they’ve never been apart. But through her happiness, Laurel remembers why she left the village all those years ago, as she recalls a dark night and Grady’s once-wayward brother, Mac…
Can Laurel learn to forgive and forget? Or will her chances of Christmas under the mistletoe with Grady remain a dream?
An enchanting, festive read, perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan and Carole Matthews.
Laurel never planned to find herself back in Middledip – when her marriage ended, she’d planned to head for Cornwall, find a home where she could pursue her life as a successful artist – but when sister Rea along with daughter Daisy really need her support, she instead finds herself back at The Nookery, setting up her easel in the garden studio that once belonged to her mother. She left the village when she was a teenager, after a disturbing event that had still has considerable repercussions on her in adulthood – an incident that she’s kept secret from all but those closest to her.
When she left Middledip, her relationship with Grady had hardly begun – and she’s delighted to find there might be the opportunity for a second chance when they find their spark of attraction is still very much alive. But as they grow closer, there are major obstacles to their happiness – being able to move on takes a lot more than a “sorry” for the events of the past from the individuals involved.
While I’m focusing on the romance – and it’s one I became particularly invested in, really liking both characters – there’s a great deal more to this book than that. There’s a lot of love in this book, and it’s not all between Laurel and Grady – there’s a particularly strong focus on family ties and loyalties and what they mean to the individuals involved, through Laurel’s support for her sister, her lighter relationship with young Daisy, and all those other layers of complication that mean theirs will never be a smooth-running love story. There are some pretty serious issues here, very realistically portrayed and sensitively handled – everything is emotionally well-judged throughout, the darker moments well balanced by the overall lightness of the story.
It’s impossible not to have a smile on your face when in Daisy’s company – she’s a very real young teen, concerned about her mother but excited by the approach of Christmas and the plans the village has to celebrate it. The wreaths she makes (and sells – quite the entrepreneur!) using foliage gathered on Gabe’s farm are only the beginning – there’s the art trail around the village too, everyone illuminating one of their front windows and displaying their wares, and the ambitious plans for Middledip Christmas Fair. The snow falls, there are plenty of twinkling lights, times when the villagers pull together, those poignant family moments, the occasional well-timed Christmas carol in the background – it’s all most certainly every bit as Christmassy as you could possibly hope for.
I also very much enjoyed reading about all the various artistic endeavours – thanks to Laurel, I think I could now successfully paint a Christmas tree, and found Grady’s vehicle spray painting and his artistic gourds equally fascinating. The wider community is really well drawn too, and it was lovely to stumble across a few minor characters familiar from other Middledip-based books – nothing to worry about if you’re a first-time reader, but as a fan, that’s always a particular treat.
I really enjoyed this one – a romantic festive read, heartwarming and uplifting, but with a great deal more depth than you might be expecting. Highly recommended by me!
About the author
Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author and has reached the coveted #1 spot on Amazon Kindle UK as well as top 100 in the US. She’s won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Romantic Novel Award, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award and the Katie Fforde Bursary. Sue’s emotionally compelling, feel-good novels are currently released by publishing giant HarperCollins in the UK, US and Canada and by other publishers in other countries. Her short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared around the world.
Born in Germany into an army family, Sue spent much of her childhood in Cyprus and Malta but settled in Northamptonshire, England aged ten. She loves reading, Formula 1, travel, time spent with friends, dance exercise and yoga.
For more information on Sue and her books, she has an excellent website, and a blog: she also has a Facebook author page, and you can follow her on Twitter and Instagram. And if you’d like sign up for her newsletter, you can do so here.