Book Review: A Christmas Kiss
A sparkling festive romance that will warm your heart this Christmas.
The week before Christmas, GP Zander Gillespie finds his festive plans in tatters. He’s supposed to be flying out to his parents’ chateau in Carcassonne with his high-maintenance girlfriend, Melissa. But she has other ideas. She wants to spend Christmas in London with her party friends – and he’s not invited.
The prospect of facing his family, with their questions and their sympathy – not to mention the ‘I told you so-s’ – just isn’t an option. Instead, Zander decides to head to his holiday cottage in the quaint moorland village of Lytell Stangdale, where he intends to hide away with his faithful rescue Labrador Alf.
Eighty miles away, Livvie’s world has come crashing down. With plans to cook a romantic meal for her boyfriend, she heads home early and walks in on him in a compromising position with their neighbour. Fed-up of his lies and philandering ways, this is the final straw.
With her Christmas plans up in smoke, the thought of spending it with her parents and her smug, married sister with her pompous husband in tow, is enough to bring Livvie out in hives. So, when she fires up her laptop and finds the perfect little holiday cottage in Lytell Stangdale available to rent over the festive period, it seems the perfect solution. Or is it…?
Zander didn’t believe in love at first sight until he set eyes on Livvie.
Livvie had sworn off men until she met Zander.
The pair may be reluctant to give in to temptation, but fate seems to have other ideas…
Join Livvie and Zander – and all the usual characters – for a magical Christmas in Lytell Stangdale.
The perfect cosy read to snuggle up with this Christmas
I’ve seen Eliza’s books dotted all over Facebook and Amazon during the last few months, and I was attracted to them all by the wonderful covers. Not surprising, really. I discovered later that they were designed by the fabulous Berni Stevens, who designed my Skimmerdale, Moorland Heroes and Witches of Castle Clair covers. No wonder I liked them so much!
Anyway, having been so drawn to them, I purchased the first three in the Life on the Moors series, with good intentions of reading them as soon as I could. Of course, as I’m sure most of you understand, life got in the way a bit. My own writing, other books I’d promised to read first, family life, blah blah blah. Somehow, time got away from me and before I knew it, I was reading about Eliza’s fourth book in the series – A Christmas Kiss. Well, I just couldn’t let that slip by, so despite it being the fourth, and despite my policy of always reading series in strict chronological order, I couldn’t resist it.
I really do think that this book (fortunately for me) can easily be read as a standalone. Yes, the characters from the previous books do make appearances in this one, but I don’t believe that will spoil my enjoyment of them when I do finally get around to reading them. The very fact that I fully intend to catch up with them all says a lot about this book.
Firstly, I loved the setting of the series. Obviously. The village of Lytell Stangdale is on the North York Moors, which is a favourite location of mine and one I’ve used in several of my own stories. The village itself is ideal, and I can’t wait to visit it at other times of the year to see what goes on there. There’s a great community spirit and everyone seems to get on really well, so I’m sure it will be a great place to head to in the summer, for example. I was really drawn to the secondary characters, and I’m looking forward to finding out about their own lives, and what they’ve been through.
Eliza does descriptions very well. Not only is the village beautifully detailed, but the description of the cottage that Livvie flees to after her boyfriend’s betrayal is so well-drawn and thorough that I could really picture myself there, and longed to be there. As if that wasn’t enough, there are some really mouth-watering descriptions of the food that Zander and Livvie cook and eat, and I got quite hungry reading it all!
The characters are lovely. (Mostly!) I’ve already mentioned the villagers, but the main characters are delightful. The sexual tension between them sizzles, and I loved that their attraction was immediate and intense, but that they didn’t act on it. It made the whole story crackle with their chemistry, and I was longing for them to finally get it together. Zander is a decent, kind, intelligent man, but he’s refreshingly human and does make mistakes. Boy, does he ever! Livvie is fantastic. Emotionally, she’s been well and truly beaten down by her awful family and boyfriend, and her self-esteem is at rock bottom, but she’s warm and funny and talented, and she adores Alf.
Ah, Alf! What a star he is. A rescued Labrador with an horrific back story, Alf is Zander’s best pal, and the two are devoted to each other. I really loved the warmth and affection in their relationship, and it said a lot about Livvie that Alf took to her immediately, and she to him.
Of course, Zander’s girlfriend, Melissa, also has a relationship of sorts with Alf, and that says quite a lot about her, too. Hmm. I’ll say no more about that, nor will I mention Livvie’s boyfriend. I’ll leave you to make up your own mind on that one.
A Christmas Kiss is a festive, feel good delight. A gorgeous cottage on the snowy Yorkshire Moors, lots of food and drink, a wonderful dog, and romance and passion galore. What more could you possibly want? I highly recommend this book, and I’m definitely planning to read the previous three books in the series to catch up with the other residents of Lytell Stangdale.
You can buy A Christmas Kiss here.