Welcome to the charming seaside town of White Cliff Bay, where Christmas is magical and love is in the air…
Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.
When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.
As Penny gets to know Henry, she realizes there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore…
While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?
Like a creamy hot chocolate with marshmallows, you won’t want to put this deliciously heartwarming novel down.
Three and a half stars: A sweet, funny holiday romance, perfect for when you want something light and fluffy.
Penny Meadows is hoping that her new renters will become fast friends. She has been busily preparing Lilac Cottage for the arrival of Henry and Daisy. Unfortunately, her dreams of friendship are crushed when Henry arrives alone, grumpy and snappish. Penny squashes down her disappointment and gets to work on her latest ice carving. Thankfully, once Daisy arrives, things smooth over and get better. Before long, Penny finds herself attracted to Henry. Is she willing to open her heart after years of disappointment and being alone?
What I Liked:
- Christmas at Lilac Cottage is one of those light and fluffy books that you can pick up and read when you are in need of an easy, feel good read. This one has lots of holiday cheer, a small town setting, a nice romance, good friends, and some actual laugh out loud moments. I had a good time with this read, and I would recommend it to those who want a cozy holiday book.
- The characters are lots of fun in this one. Penny is a bit different. She is attractive, fun, but she is lonely because she is pushing thirty with no romantic prospects. She works as an ice carver, and she is very talented. I liked not only her job but her sense of humor. Penny is a terrific romantic lead. Daisy, Henry's young daughter, is sixteen, but she isn't an annoying teenager. She is also funny, and kind and I loved the relationship she formed with Penny. Henry is a tougher sell as at first meeting, he is gruff and rude. There are moments when I really liked him, especially when he misdirected the town floozies, who were determined to get their meaty hooks into him. Then at other times, he is overbearing, hot headed and irrational. Still, I liked the dynamic between Henry, Penny and Daisy. There is a nice cast of secondary characters that add to the charm of the story and the town.
- The story is set in the small town of White Cliff Bay. I am always up for a book with a cozy, little town, and White Cliff Bay delivers. It has all you love in small town: people who know everyone and everything, friendship, camaraderie, sense of community, and willingness to lend a helping hand. Some of the scenes with the nosey town folk are funny, and I loved the way they all pitched in to makeover Penny, and how they all helped with the ball at the end when the snowstorm hit.
- I loved the comedy in this one. There were several scenes where I found myself snickering and giggling. The highlight of the book was when Daisy confronts Penny about the sex noises coming from her room. Penny can't tell Daisy the truth about whom she was sleeping with, so she is forced to think up a lie which amounts to her inadvertently watching porn. The conversation turns into all kinds of hilarious awkwardness, and I loved it. There are plenty of comedic moments in this book which I loved.
- I know nothing about ice carving, so I was interested to learn more about the trade since Penny is an ice carver. It was fascinating to learn all about what goes into an ice sculpture. I loved that Penny had such a non traditional job.
- The ending brings the book forward one year into the future. I liked catching up with everyone and seeing how things turned out. No loose ends. This is a nice, sweet, satisfying stand alone holiday read.
And The Not So Much:
- The romance was a bit of a sticking point for me. Yes, it was sweet and light, but it is definitely on the insta love side. The majority of the book takes place in a two week time frame, and things move incredibly fast. It goes from a prickly first meeting, to sparks of attraction, hot sex and declarations of love. Then of course, there are a couple of stumbling blocks, and a nice ending. I liked the romance, but I think it would have been much better if had moved slower, it felt way to instant for me. I was not a fan of Henry flying off the handle before he understood everything either.
- I know a book needs conflict, but the romance suffered from a couple of stumbles that blew way out of proportion. It wasn't overly dramatic, but it was a little more angsty than I would have liked. Several times, things could have been worked out with communication.
- The whole scene with Henry and the female CEO and the sexual harassment was a bit weird. I didn't fit well with the overall story. It seemed unrealistic.
Christmas at Lilac Cottage is a nice, light, pleasant holiday read perfect for when you want a bit of escapism during the chaos of the holiday season. I loved the characters, the small town setting and the humor in this one. The romance is sweet even if it is insta love. If you can handle the insta love romance, this is a terrific read for the holiday season. It certainly made me laugh.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.