A huge thanks to Anne Cater for organising this tour and to Cressida McLaughlin and Harper Fiction for an ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Hannah Swan is looking forward to Christmas for the first time in years. Her new job as an eco-consultant is taking her – and her geeky colleague, Noah – to the beautiful Cornish village of Porthgolow for the first time.
They’re are helping the Crystal Waters Hotel to ramp up its green credentials, though after a bumpy journey, Hannah can’t shake off the feeling that Porthgolow is strangely familiar. Never able to resist a mystery, her interest is piqued when the hotel’s staff and customers report odd noises and sightings, believing the hotel to be haunted.
When bad weather cuts off Porthgolow, Hannah and Noah are looking at a Cornish Christmas. It gives them plenty of time to work out what is really going on, but will their yuletide escape send shivers up their spines? Or will it be as warm and toasty as a glass of mulled wine?
Despite being part of a linked series set in the same place, I read this novel as a stand alone and it worked perfectly. Some of the characters have been in previous novels so I am definitely going to catch up with the other books but it’s not essential to have read them first in order to enjoy this wonderful festive romance.
I love Edinburgh and enjoyed the little snippets of familiar and recognisable places that pop up. I have never visited Cornwall though and Cressida McLaughlin really brings it to life. I live by the sea and know how it can be differently beautiful in the winter months. I felt this throughout the whole novel and I’d love to visit Cornwall someday. The hotel sounds like bliss and I kept escaping there for a while. I just want to slink into one of those luxury beds after filling up on delicious food at the cream tea bus. Such a vividly described back drop really helped to bring this novel to life.
As Hannah and Noah are stranded together for Christmas, they are thrown together for the festive period and sparks begin to fly. As well as their budding, romantic friendship, a mystery around the past of the hotel develops as well as some interesting things about both Noah and Hannah. I loved the added mysteries and drama within the romantic plot and enjoyed speculating on reasons for things that happened. It was a great way to develop the main characters through something a little more than a romance.
This is a delightful book and my only complaint is that it ended. I am definitely returning to Porthgolow to find out more about its residents and its charm.
A perfect festive read.
Author Bio – Cressida McLaughlin
Cressy was born in South East London surrounded by books and with a cat named after Lawrence of Arabia. She studied English at the University of East Anglia and now lives in Norwich with her husband David. When she isn’t writing, Cressy spends her spare time reading, returning to London or exploring the beautiful Norfolk coastline.