Friday, December 6, 2019

Book Review: A Perfect Cornish Christmas

By Becky Gulc

‘Christmas in Cornwall is just around the corner…

But after last Christmas revealed a shocking family secret, Scarlett’s hardly feeling merry and bright. All she wants this Christmas is to know who her real father is.

So Scarlett heads to the little Cornish town of Porthmellow, where she believes the truth of her birth is hidden. She just didn’t bargain on being drawn into the Christmas festival preparations – or meeting Jude Penberth, whose charm threatens to complicate life further.

Everything will come to a head at Porthmellow’s Christmas Festival … But can Scarlett have the perfect Christmas this year, or are there more surprises on the way’ (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon UK.)

I love a good Christmas book so couldn’t wait to get started with A Perfect Cornish Christmas, and whilst I’ve certainly heard great things about Phillipa Ashley I hadn’t read any of her previous novels yet they all seem exactly the kind of books I’d love. So what did I think?

The story gets off to an intriguing start, with Scarlett entering the local pub just a tad forlorn and distraught on Christmas day, but why isn’t she at home with her family? We soon find out her Christmas gift to her parents inadvertently revealed her dad might not actually be her real dad after all, cue the consequences for all members of the family. What follows is mainly the story of Scarlett and her sister Ellie as they try to move forward, re-build, but uncover the truth.

I loved Ellie in particular; she was a delightful character. I felt her vulnerability and there were moments when her story revealed she was such a selfless character, I was really rooting for her throughout. Scarlett is formidable too and I enjoyed her quest to find out the truth, I felt her frustration when trying to find out something--anything--from her mum on the matter. Due to the frustration, I did enjoy it when their Mum comes to stay in Porthmellow and the barriers slowly break down and the truth revealed.

There are love interests for both Scarlett and Ellie and it certainly felt romantic, particularly for Ellie. You feel the character fall in love and you feel the anticipation and concern over being hurt again. I certainly felt on edge at times hoping these ladies wouldn’t be let down and that other obstacles wouldn’t stand in their way. There may have been some swooning going on.

This book delivers on Christmas – the Christmas period bookends the novel so you get a dose of festivity at the beginning (in theory anyway due to mysterious events) and plenty of build up to the following Christmas at the end of the novel. It delivered everything you’d expect for a more realistic festive period, strained relationships, arguments, loneliness, forgiveness but plenty of love (old and new). I particularly loved the sense of community at Christmas in Porthmellow.

My only qualm concerned the main reveal in the novel. I may have pulled a ‘really?’ face at first and you’d probably need to read the novel to understand why. Once I digested it though I accepted it works for the story, and I certainly hadn’t guessed this reveal so it kept me on my toes throughout.

Overall a fabulous Christmas book and whilst I know there is an earlier novel set in Porthmellow, I didn’t feel I’d missed out any context by not reading that first. I’d certainly go back, and forward, with Phillipa’s Porthmellow series in the future.

Thanks to Avon for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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1 comment:

Rachel Martin said...

This looks like the book I've been looking for to snuggle on my couch with a cup of coffee and melt into! Our book club is reading a light, hilarious book by Nicole Macaulay called Honeymoon Alone, which I highly recommend. But I need a pure seasonal read just for me, so thank you for this recommendation!