Book number 60 in my Goodreads Reading Challenge is Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair by Heidi Swain.
When Anna takes on the role of companion to the owner of Wynthorpe Hall, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, she has no idea that her life is set to change beyond all recognition.
A confirmed ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, Anna is amazed to find herself quickly immersed in the eccentric household, and when youngest son Jamie unexpectedly arrives home it soon becomes obvious that her personal feelings are going all out to compromise her professional persona.
Jamie, struggling to come to terms with life back in the Fens, makes a pact with Anna – she has to teach him to fall back in love with Wynthorpe Hall, while he helps her fall back in love with Christmas. But will it all prove too much for Anna, or can the family of Wynthorpe Hall warm her heart once and for all…? (Thanks Amazon)
So the cover of this novel has been enticing me for the last few weeks every time that I go to the supermarket. I finally decided that I needed a bit of Christmas cheer in my life, it’s that time of year and I am a sucker for a good Christmas story. Book reviews for this have been filling my Twitter feed so this really was the only choice! Plus I have read The Cherry Tree Cafe, so I had already been introduced to Wynbridge and was more than happy to revisit such a lovely setting.
Anna, our main character, was really interesting to follow. Anna had a tough time growing up, and all her bad memories revolved around Christmas. As a result she has spent her grown up life avoiding anything to do with Christmas. When the option to take on a companion role in a remote part of England where it is planned that Christmas will barely be celebrated, she jumps at the opportunity. Six weeks to hide away, throw herself into her work and pretend that Christmas does not exist.
Jamie, the son of Angus and Catherine Connelly, finds himself back at Wynthorpe Hall with a potential burden to bear. Upon meeting and discovering each others secrets, Anna and Jamie agree to help each other. Anna will help Jamie to fall back in love with his home, whilst Jamie will help Anna discover a love for Christmas.
We follow Anna and Jamie as they seek to deal with their own issues whilst trying to help each other. What follows are two journeys of self-discovery where both Anna and Jamie find what is missing in their lives, all set in the run up to Christmas.
Obviously this has an undercurrent of romance (we all need a little Christmas romance in our lives), and the setting of Wynbridge is just magical. It is a small town, with a close community who all look out for each other. I love Christmas novels, and this one is a great one. It has everything you want from a Christmas novel: snow, lights, romance, community and family. I definitely recommend this novel if you want to top up on Christmas cheer before the big day!
Rating: 📖 📖 📖 📖