After a frosty welcome, things soon heat up at Wynter House.
Neva Grey is looking forward to spending a quiet Christmas with her family in the cosy cottage they’ve rented in the picture-postcard village of Wyntersleap. Nestled between rolling hills and a gently burbling river, it’s going to be idyllic.
Except it’s not. Torrential rain causes the river to burst its banks and the quaint little village isn’t quite so cosy with water lapping at the doors. Add to that a power cut and a sudden blizzard and Christmas is looking bleak … until gorgeous Adam Wynter invites them all to Wynter House.
Although not everyone is happy to share the ancestral home. Adam’s elder brother, Rafe is less than pleased. Their grandmother, Olivia extends a grudging welcome. And for Carruthers, the oddly arrogant butler, unexpected guests are a Christmas surprise he could do without. Especially one as troublesome as Neva’s eight-year-old niece.
But something’s not quite right at Wynter House. What is Rafe intent on hiding behind the locked doors of the old barn? And what really happened to his first wife? It’s a good thing Neva has a sense of humour. She’s going to need it this Christmas at Wynter House.
The blurb really does a sterling job of explaining the story, so I won’t go into too much detail.
Basically, Neva and her family arrive to stay at a holiday cottage in Wyntersleap for the Christmas holidays, but the weather is appalling and, following power cuts and flooding, the villagers (including the holiday makers) are evacuated to Wynter House, where they are invited to stay by the Wynter family.
Actually, it’s Adam Wynter, the younger brother, who invites them. Elder brother Rafe seems less than keen, as does their grandmother, Olivia, and butler Carruthers. But the villagers enjoy themselves at Wynter House, and they would rather like to stay, especially Sasha, Neva’s eight-year-old niece, who thinks staying in a stately home, complete with a secret passage, is the best Christmas present she could have had.
Neva has already rather fallen for Adam, even before she moves to his home, so the scene is set for a Christmas romance, even if she clearly hasn’t won over Olivia, and despite the fact that Rafe and she clash every time they meet …
I really enjoyed this book, which was packed with festive feeling. It takes place mostly in a stately home, which I’m a sucker for anyway (see my review of another of Emily’s books, Deck the Halls here) and there’s plenty of humour and good characterisation.
I loved that there was a secret passage in the house, and I enjoyed the mystery of the locked barn, too. That added another strand to the story and I did my best to figure out what was going on there, making some pretty wild guesses. (I didn’t come anywhere near the truth!)
Christmas at Wynter House is the first in a new series, and I’m looking forward to reading the rest of these stories. It also connects with the author’s new Merriment Bay series, and some of the characters actually visit Merriment Bay in this book, so we also get a glimpse of that location. I’ll be downloading that series, too!
So yes, this is a five star read as far as I’m concerned, with all the action taking place over Christmas, a fabulous bunch of characters, a really sexy hero, a mischievous dog, a cute kid and a stately home. What’s not to love?
You can buy Christmas at Wynter House here.