Review: Christmas at Lilac Cottage (White Cliff Bay #1) by Holly Martin

Christmas at Lilac Cottage: A perfect romance to curl up by the fire with (White Cliff Bay Book 1) - Holly Martin

Published by: Bookouture (25th September 2015)


ISBN: 9781910751442


Source: Netgalley


Rating: 5*



Penny Meadows loves her home – a cosy cottage decorated with pretty twinkling fairy lights and stunning views over the town of White Cliff Bay. She also loves her job as an ice-carver, creating breathtaking sculptures. Yet her personal life seems frozen.

When Henry and daughter Daisy arrive at the cottage to rent the annex, Penny is determined to make them feel welcome. But while Daisy is friendly, Henry seems guarded.

As Penny gets to know Henry, she realises there is more to him than meets the eye. And the connection between them is too strong to ignore …

While the spirit of the season sprinkles its magic over the seaside town and preparations for the ice sculpting competition and Christmas eve ball are in full swing, can Penny melt the ice and allow love in her heart? And will this finally be the perfect Christmas she’s been dreaming of?



Whilst I'm not generally a big chick-lit fan, I'd seen this book mentioned on social media a fair bit over the past couple of weeks, so I was intrigued enough to take a bit of a break from my regular gritty thrillers. What I didn't realise at the time was how much Christmas at Lilac College would make me smile. It's just so heartwarming, like a big mug of tomato soup on a cold, blustery, rainy day.


I started reading this last evening and read it in one sitting, finishing at a little before 4 this morning, totally oblivious of how much time had passed! I was completely swept up into the goings on in White Cliff Bay, and felt a little bereft when I came to the end.


Penny is a great character, independent yet a bit vulnerable.  Henry is devastatingly attractive and wants to push all her buttons, if she'll let him. Their interaction is sweet, infuriating and funny all at the same time. Although the story is a tad predictable, it doesn't matter a bit. There is still the delicious dance of will they-won't they as Penny and Henry simultaneously give in to, yet try to fight, their feelings and the sexual chemistry between them.


Supporting characters add to the sweetness and tension and are all well developed. There is enough detail for you to get to know something about many of the residents of White Cliff Bay. I'm eagerly awaiting the second book in this series; maybe I am becoming a big softy in my old age!


Thank you to Bookouture and Netgalley for providing me with a review copy, in return for an honest review.