"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 realises 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."
I have seen so many great things being said about the White Cliff Bay series, and I can completely see why now I've finished the first in the series, Christmas at Lilac Cottage.
Holly Martin has a real talent at creating vivid, realistic characters and locations that jump off the page at you and this book is no exception to that. The story follows Penny, as she rents out the annex in her beautiful cottage to Henry and Daisy. Their relationship builds and we follow them as they get to know each other and as Henry and Daisy settle into White Cliff Bay.
The three main characters are all brilliant. Penny is a kind, warm-hearted, yet lonely character who you immediately root for and hope that she finds the happiness that she deserves. Henry is very, very handsome - as usual Holly Martin has created a swoon-worthy male lead, described so well that you have an amazing picture of him in your head as you read the story. Daisy is also a great character - she's your typical teenage girl, but with a loveable twist. I loved watching the three of them get to know one another and become close, like a family unit.
Now, whenever you pick up a Holly Martin book, you expect there to be a romance storyline - she is absolutely brilliant at creating sexual tension and chemistry. Christmas at Lilac Cottage more than lives up to expectation. The spark between Penny and Henry is electric and has you on edge from the beginning, willing that they act on their feelings and become a couple.
White Cliff Bay is an absolutely amazing setting and I really fell for this location. The seaside town itself sounds lovely, with a real community feel (even if some of the residents are possibly a little too nosy!). But, it was Lilac Cottage that really captured my heart. Penny's cottage sounds so amazingly homely and cosy and, thanks to Holly's detailed descriptions of it, I felt like I'd been transported there. I built up a real picture in my head of what it would look like, and I just think it's cruel that I can't immediately pack up and move there myself!
I absolutely loved Christmas at Lilac Cottage. It's an absorbing read that has you hooked from the first page. I enjoyed finding out more about the brilliant characters and watching their relationships play out. White Cliff Bay is a beautiful location and made me feel all cosy and Christmassy as I read. I also loved Penny's unusual career choice as an ice carver - it added another interesting layer to the story, and you can tell that Holly put in a lot of work to make sure she got the details right.
If you're looking for a cosy, cute Christmas story to snuggle up with on the run-up to the big day, then look no further... Christmas at Lilac Cottage is the book for you! It'll be sure to make you feel festive and warm your heart. I'm now going to make a start on Snowflakes at Silver Cove, the second book in this fab series!