It’s starting to feel a lot like Christmas around here, can you feel it, too?? It’s Bookouture’s fault for tempting me with this fabulous blog tour! My review is my unbiased thank you to them and the author!
Title: Annie’s Christmas by the Sea
Author: Liz Eeles
Date of publication: October 2017
Number of pages: 345
On the beautiful coast of Cornwall lies the idyllic Salt Bay, where Christmas is the perfect time for bringing family and friends together…
Annie Trebarwith is happily settled in Salt Bay with her beloved great-aunt Alice and gorgeous boyfriend Josh Pasco. Snow is in the air, and Christmas is just around the corner.
But when the father she’s never met, aging rock god Barry, turns up with the half-sister Annie didn’t know existed, life suddenly gets complicated. Barry and Storm are soon clashing with the entire village, and their antics are even driving a wedge between Annie and Josh.
Can Annie prevent her new family ruining the festivities and repair things with Josh in time for a cosy Christmas? Or will their relationship end up as frosty as the Salt Bay air?
Annie’s Christmas by the Sea is a hilarious and heart-warming story about family, friends and the magic of Christmas, perfect for fans of Lily Graham, Holly Martin and Phillipa Ashley.
Meeting Annie a few months ago, I was happily surprised and transported to a little English village where I learned to appreciate choirs, unknown family members, and dark and broody sexy Englishmen. Now you know me, I’m not a Christmas person, but the first book had so many emotions and layers to it than I thought… Why resist? Especially when Bookouture is tempting you with lots of winter reads!
So, first things first. Christmas. I can happily say there was not too much of it in this story! *insert happy and relieved face here* Salt Bay moves with the tide and once again you are invited to spend your days in the beautiful Trebarwith house. Thanks to the many descriptions, it took me minutes to remember and picture the whole scene again and feel a breeze against my face. As a girl who grew up next to the sea, I am fond of the scenery and I was back to one of my favorite places! Without the Jingle Bells!!!!
But I believe Annie would have preferred all the existing carols instead of the surprises she gets in the story! How many times can you discover you have unknown family members walking the Earth? And how many times do they have to come and find you?? Family ties are tough, especially with people you’ve never seen before! Clap your finger and a dad and half sister appear! I felt panicked, just like Annie! I could see a giant “NO” sign over the faces. Because just when she was finally settling in, finding her sea legs, and getting cosy in town, things had to get complicated.
I’d go so far as to call it a humongous shock, even worse than waking up to discover that Trump is leader of the free world.
This is why I always fear it when things go well for some time! Life throws a giant ball in your face and make your nose explode! Happy and lovely Annie suddenly turns into family-busy and overwhelmed Annie, leaving no time for the plans she had in mind. I could empathize so much with this! I like deciding what I do, when I do it, what I spend my time on, and then life decides otherwise and you’re forced to reorganize and turn into an ultra flexible yogi to be there for every task, every person, and you lose yourself in the process.
I felt little piece of Annie shatter, but I also watched her grow. I sensed her reflect, and I saw her lose it. I witnessed her smile, and I was by her side when she shed tears until her pillow was just like a rock in the sea. Annie is so real, so funny, so imperfect it is more than easy to follow her, to love her, to live with her!
Like I’ve said, my inner voice is a total bitch.
I liked this Christmas. I liked how it taught me lessons about first impressions, about the little things people do but you never see, about life itself and how things do not happen without a reason. This story breathes salted life, and we get to see it happen. The writing style is just as powerful as the first time, and you long to be a part of this village way before you reach the end of the story.
The choir warmed my heart, as did the entire town and I was absolutely ecstatic to see those familiar faces get some light, with their funny and endearing personalities, their issues, their history. I grew fonder of some, I definitely had my moments with Josh, boyfriend material in need of some hugs and slaps! (I promise I’m not a violent person!) I wish I had a Josh to warm the bigger side of the bed! I can’t resist the broody but heart-on-his-sleeve kind of guy.
Things blend. You can blend in. In a good way. If you open your heart enough. Annie’s Christmas reminded me our heart is bigger and more welcoming that we think it is.
So I’ll be recommending Annie’s Christmas by the Sea, which is like a hard-earned salted-caramel filled chocolate square melting on your tongue, heart-warming and with a true spirit, Christmassy or not!
Liz began her writing career as a journalist and press officer before deciding that she’d rather have the freedom of making things up as a novelist.
Being short-listed in the Corvus ‘Love at First Write’ competition and the Novelicious search for a new women’s fiction star gave Liz the push she needed to keep putting pen to paper …. and ‘Annie’s Holiday by the Sea’ (her first published novel) is the result.
Liz lives on the South Coast with her family and, when she’s not writing, likes to spend time walking by the sea, and trying to meditate. Her ambition is to be serene one day …. she’s still got a long way to go.
Check the other blogs for some winter fun!