- Author: Sue Moorcroft
- Published: December 2016 by Avon
- Category: Contemporary, Romance
For Ava Bliss, it’s going to be a Christmas to remember …
On a snowy December evening, Sam Jermyn steps into the life of bespoke hat maker Ava. Sparks fly, and not necessarily the good ones.
Ava Bliss is struggling to scrape a living from her bespoke hat making business and, although she shares a house with her best friend Izzy, finding the rent is becoming a real worry. Her dreams of running a successful high-end millinery business are fading fast and to top it all it’s Christmas, Ava’s least favourite time of the year. Money troubles are not the only problems for Ava. Her ex boyfriend is harassing her and threatening to make public some photos Ava deeply regrets agreeing to.
There’s one upside though – Sam Jermyn commissions her to make a hat for his mother, Wendy, who is fighting cancer. He wants to make Christmas as special as he can for her. Sam runs the PR company where Izz and Ava’s other best friend, Tod, work. Sam and Ava meet at the Christmas drinks party Izz all but drags Ava to. There’s a spark of attraction between Sam and Ava but her loyalties lie with her friend, who has a huge and unreciprocated crush on Sam. Ava doesn’t need any more relationship problems and has sworn off men after Harvey. She can’t believe her bad luck when she spots him in the bar, already inebriated, which is Harvey at his worst.
Harvey focussed on Sam and scowled. Then he switched on a big smile for Ava. ‘You’re under the mistletoe! If you don’t kiss anyone you’ll get bad luck all year.’ To Ava’s horror, he made an unsteady but purposeful lunge in her direction.
Before she could decide which way to dodge, an arm around her shoulders swung her neatly out of Harvey’s path. Sam brushed a kiss on her temple. ‘Just in case you’re superstitious.’
Ava blinked, stunned and half admiring that he’s thwarted Harvey so effectively, even if it had meant taking a bit of a liberty.
The lovely cover gives the impression of a cosy Christmas romance but this is a story dealing with serious issues, which are all approached with sensitivity. A life threatening illness and revenge porn are two of the most significant topics, the others include complicated family relationships and the far reaching effects. Ava had almost been conditioned to dislike Christmas by her workaholic parents, who didn’t feel it was something to celebrate and preferred to work.
I liked Ava from the start, she’s someone you’d want as a friend, and was sympathetic to the horrible position she found herself in. It shows the cyber dangers and how a seemingly innocent bit of fun can be used as a tool for revenge. Sue Moorcroft also shows how the positive side of the internet and social media balances the darker aspect.
Sam is charming, and obviously distressed about his mother. Wendy’s efforts to be upbeat and her determination to enjoy Christmas before starting treatment is very touching. Booby Ruby brings a sprinkling of humour and lightness. Despite the grittier aspects of the story it’s not all doom and gloom. Far from it. Realistic, convincing and mostly relatable characters people this well thought through and researched, emotive storyline. I do like a Christmas story with depth, drama and an emotional tug.
About Sue Moorcroft
Bestselling author Sue Moorcroft writes women’s contemporary fiction with sometimes unexpected themes. Her new book, The Christmas Promise, was published by Avon Books UK (ebook 6 October 2016, paperback and audio 1 December 2016) and reached the UK Kindle Top Ten. It also did well in the mass market paperback chart in Germany (WinterZauberKüsse).
Sue’s books have won the Best Romantic Read Award and been nominated for a RoNA. Sue is a Katie Fforde Bursary winner. She also writes short stories, serials, articles, columns, courses and writing ‘how to’.
Born in Germany, her parents both having served in the army, Sue then lived in Cyprus, Malta and the UK. She’s worked in a bank, as a bookkeeper (probably a mistake), as a copytaker for Motor Cycle News and for a typesetter, but is pleased to have wriggled out of all ‘proper jobs’.