It’s a real pleasure today to be helping launch the blog tour for A Not So Quiet Christmas by Suzie Tullett, and sharing my review. Published by Bloodhound Books on 13th October, it’s now available via Amazon for kindle and in paperback – and it’s also available for Kobo, via Apple Books, and for Nook. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support. The copy I read was my own, an ebook purchased on publication day – but when I wasn’t able to fit in the reading, I was delighted to have another opportunity by signing up for Rachel’s tour.
After quite a few years of being on my list of authors I just knew I’d love, if only I could manage to read one of their books, I finally caught up with Suzie’s Six Steps to Happiness back in December 2019. And, as I’d rather expected from someone so very lovely (maybe I should tell the story about her looking after my handbag at the RNA’s Winter Party again?), I really loved it – it was warm, well written, and exceptionally funny, sometimes surprising you with moments of depth and seriousness, and it certainly left me with a wholly satisfied feeling when I reluctantly reached the end (you’ll find my review here). So I’m really delighted to be reading one of her books again…
A solo getaway at an English country cottage is a pleasant way to spend the holiday – but it takes two to really make things merry…
Antonia prefers a quiet Christmas. She’s happy to spend it on her own, watching Hallmark holiday movies in her pyjamas, eating what she wants, when she wants.
Antonia’s friend Jules, on the other hand, loves a big Christmas celebration and plans on travelling to the Yorkshire Dales for a festive break. But when Jules breaks her leg, she persuades Antonia to make the trip on her behalf. Arriving at the little cottage, Antonia meets the handsome property agent Oliver. But she can’t escape the weird locals – or avoid embarrassing situations like mistaking a cow for a burglar.
As Christmas approaches, the attraction between Oliver and Antonia grows. She could choose to return to the bustling city and spend it alone. Or she could choose love and have a not so quiet Christmas…
Antonia’s at a bit of a loose end after the spectacular failure of her dog-walking business – but she only needs to get Christmas out of the way (she’s really not a fan) and then she can get started with her new project. So when her best (and only) friend Jules finds herself immobile after an accident and unable to travel to Yorkshire to sort things out after the death of her aunt, she really can’t refuse to go on her behalf. After all, it might not be too bad – she likes a Christmas on her own, even if it’s the depths of winter and Little Leatherington is in the middle of nowhere.
And when she arrives, the locals aren’t particularly friendly at first – but that’s ok too, because she’s really not a people person. But Oliver, the letting agent, is friendly and helpful and particularly easy on the eye – and although she’s certainly not looking for romance (another personal disaster area), it’s good to have someone to turn to when any problems arise.
But as she settles in for her stay, the locals don’t keep their distance for long – she finds herself in a community filled with wonderfully eccentric characters. And after a few early dramas, she finds she’s really not going to be able to avoid Christmas. First a tree is delivered, and its decorations found in the loft (helped by friendly Jason, who’s a constant fount of interesting facts about Christmas around the world, and lovely child Seb who plainly enjoys her company). And then she finds herself agreeing to host a Christmas celebration for all the village’s lonely people – as well as beginning to discover that she might be more of a people person than she thought she was, and that Oliver might just be rather more than someone to call on in a crisis.
Although I thought the story might just have been a little bit slow to get going, it really does become quite gloriously Christmassy – everything you could possibly want from a festive read, with plenty to warm your heart and bring a tear to your eye. I wasn’t so keen on Antonia at first (and I must admit I never really warmed to her friend Jules, interfering at a distance), but I grew to love her through her early trials and tribulations and particularly when she began to become part of the life of the village.
The characters of Little Leatherington are just wonderful – young Seb and his mum with their poignant back story, the initially curmudgeonly Ted, damaged and loveable Jason and his distinctly less lovable brother Barrowboy. And there are some fantastic minor characters too – like the woman in the corner shop who’s immersed in her book, and the chap in the cap always lingering outside (I loved that small storyline!). And I haven’t even mentioned Frank, have I? He’s Jules’ dog, staying with Antonia on her break, and he really is one of the most characterful dogs I’ve come across (well, when you find him awake and willing to move from his spot by the fire!).
The humour is fairly gentle, though always present – and it certainly does step up a bit for the early dramas. But I particularly liked the more emotional side of things – Christmas itself brought a real tear to my eye (but never without a smile on my face), and I found the developing romance beautifully handled and entirely convincing. And I really did enjoy Antonia’s own journey, towards the real possibility of a happy and unexpected ending. This was a book that ticked every box as a Christmas read – and it was one I’d most certainly recommend.
About the author
Suzie Tullett is an author or contemporary humorous fiction and romantic comedy. She has a Masters Degree in Television & Radio Scriptwriting and worked as a scriptwriter before becoming a full-time novelist. Her motto is ‘live, laugh, love’ and when she’s not busy creating her own literary masterpieces, she usually has her head in someone else’s.
Suzie lives in a little cottage on the Wild Atlantic Way in Ireland, along with her husband and two Greek rescue dogs.