Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Cotswold Christmas

.Welcome to Wychwood-on-Lea… a not-too-quaint village where frosty evenings, welcoming fires, and second chances will make this a Christmas you’ll never forget.

Anna Vere has escaped to the Cotswolds for Christmas to try to heal from her broken engagement and, far worse, her broken dreams. When her reserved room at a bed & breakfast is flooded, she takes up the offer of camping out in Willoughby Close, the converted stables of the nearby manor house… and is taken under the wing of sexy local carpenter Colin Heath.

What starts out as merely helping a neighbor in need turns into far more as Colin and Anna share a surprisingly intense and emotional connection, weaving their own Christmas magic as they spend the holiday together. But Anna has a secret she’s scared to reveal, something that could destroy the fragile bond they’ve just created, and Colin knows she’s only in England for a short time. Can these two sudden soul mates risk their hearts for a love that has yet to be tried and tested?

Get swept away by this poignant and heartwarming story, set in beautiful Wychwood-on-Lea, in the English Cotswolds. And look forward to four more books set in Willoughby Close, where everyday miracles and happily-ever-afters are guaranteed.

“So.” Colin heaved a big cardboard box on top of the counter. “Pillow, check. Towel, check. Teabags. Some milk and cereal and bread for the morning, and a few extra comforts.” He waved a large bar of luxury dark chocolate. “It is Christmas, after all.”
“You’re too kind,” Anna said, ridiculously touched by his effort. “I can reimburse you—“
“Nonsense.” Colin waved aside her token offer. “Frances got you into this mess. This is the least I can do.”
“Frances did, not you.” Anna pointed out. “You’re what? Her cousin?”
“Second cousin once removed, actually, but my family has always been close.”
“That sounds nice.”
“Sometimes. Sometimes it makes me contemplate murder. I have three older, very nosy, very bossy sisters.”
“Oh, dear. That sounds… challenging.”
“That’s one way of putting it.”
Anna watched Colin move about, putting food in the fridge and then taking a stack of paper plates out of the box. “Sorry, let me help. I’m just standing here watching you…”
“It’s fine.” Once again he waved away her offer. “You must be exhausted. You took an overnight flight?”
“A late overnight flight. The plane was delayed and we didn’t leave until one in the morning. It took all day to clear customs and get myself out here.”
“Only to find you were homeless. That is tough luck.”
“It could happen to anybody, I suppose.”
“Still. Not a great way to spend Christmas.” He was easing off the foil lids of two containers and the smell of spicy curry wafted out, stirring Anna’s appetite. “I hope you like tikka masala? Britain’s national dish.”
“Love it,” Anna said.
She’d always liked a simple curry or burger; Mark had been the one to prefer Michelin stars and tiny, gourmet portions artfully arranged on hexagonal plates.
“Good.” Colin looked up, his blue eyes meeting hers as he grinned, and Anna smiled back, strangely jolted by the look in his eyes, the sense of complicity and connection. This was almost starting to feel like some bizarre date, and no more so when then Colin drew a bottle of wine out of the box.


Imagine arriving for a dream escape vacation at Christmas in a country where you know no one and don't really know where you are, only to find that all your plans are null and void. Do you give up and head home? Anna Vere does not.   It is amazing how much a good cuppa will do for one's emotional wellbeing.

This is a heartwarming tale about one woman who has every reason to feel hopeless and give up.
Her dreams for the future have recently been shattered. Still, when faced with a potential new opportunity, she continues to consider how it will effect others, especially one new, special other, before considering her own happiness. With all her good qualities, there are still some times when I found it hard to like Anna.  Colin, for all his flaws, most of which are explained, is hard not to fall for. Then there is Jane. We are all set up to dislike her, which she makes it easy to do. Before the book is over, we find that she, too, has redeeming qualities.   A wonderful holiday tale of redemption!

I am excited that this is only the beginning.

 Kate Hewitt is the USA Today-bestselling author of over 40 books of women's fiction and romance. She is the author of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, set in England's Lake District and published by Penguin. She is also, under the name Katharine Swartz, the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell. Other series include the Emigrants Trilogy, the Amherst Island Trilogy, and the Falling For The Freemans series.

She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women's fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.

Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in the English Cotswolds with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever.

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