Sunday, December 9, 2018

Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky by Holly Martin

Still on my holiday reading groove! I have to admit I've begun reading a few non-holiday novels just to balance out the sweet. I found this author at my local Barnes & Noble and I must confess I immediately bought every book of hers they had on the shelf, and ordered a few more. I know most of her novels are available as ebooks, but since my e-reader is out of commission, that's not an option. 

Holly Martin is a British author, in the genre of Jenny Colgan chick-lit type novels. I was astounded at everything she's written! Needless to say, she doesn't just cover the Christmas season, but you've got a chance to enjoy her novels all year round. Check out her extensive title list on Goodreads. Some are available in paperback in the U.S., but many more are available as ebooks. 

Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky is a full on holiday experience. Set on Juniper Island, a island north of Scotland, the folks of that tiny island have partnered with the owner of the Stardust Lake Hotel to create a winter wonderland for tourists. They're pretty isolated, so it's either create a place where they can earn a living and live, or move off the island and away from their homes. Piper Chesterfield is on her way to the island to review Stardust Lake Hotel. She's a traveling hotel reviewer and hasn't had a place to call home in years. After this assignment, she's taking a 6 month break, renting an apartment in London, and figuring out where she wants life to take her. Traveling non-stop, living out of a suitcase has become weary, and she needs a change. 

Everything about Juniper Island and the hotel is magical. Most importantly, to Piper's surprise, the owner of the hotel is none other than her teenage love, Gabe Whitaker. They haven't seen each other for twelve years, after the tragic accident that changed both of their lives and drove them apart. Shocked to see each other, the spark is still there, but now Gabe has a little girl-Wren-and the heartbreak Piper caused is battling with his desire to begin a new relationship with Piper. And there's the sticky situation of Gabe not knowing Piper is there to review his hotel...

Juniper Island and the hotel are places I'd like to go, if they existed. A winter wonderland full of wild ponies, epic scenery, ocean views, and igloos designed for overnight guests to experience the Northern Lights from a warm, cozy bed; a town with shops, friendly people, and everything decorated for the Christmas season. It's hard not to want to stay there; even in the warm months, it remains a popular tourist destination. This is Gabe's big project, and while he owns other hotels in big cities, this is closest to his heart. Will his rekindled love for Piper win out over years of distrust, hurt, and angst?

You'll meet a supporting cast of characters that will round out the whole experience of Juniper Island, and I certainly had a very clear vision in my head of everyone and everything. Some of Gabe and Piper's angst got a little old for me, but other than that, it was a fun novel to read, and I can't wait to read more of Holly's novels in 2019. Maybe I'll squeeze another one in before the end of 2018--who knows?

Rating:  3/6 for a magical setting, where the author thought of every detail, but leaves enough to your imagination to help you create your own Juniper Island. Cast of characters are solid; romance is steamy, and it's a fun read for December. 

Available in paperback and ebook.

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