I know, it’s only October but I love Christmas themed stories and really enjoyed this book when it was released in 2017.
Isla McCoy is twenty nine, living at home with her mother and studying psychology. She can’t remember her father as her parents’ marriage broke down when she was five years old and she didn’t see her father again. Being brought up solely by Glory, her mother, who is still bitter and unable to make peace with her father after twenty odd years, has left a long term impression on Isla and influenced the potential for romantic relationships. She finds it difficult to form lasting relationships and tends to keep men at arm’s length, always expecting to be let down.
Glory is a proud woman who’s had a tough life, and the hurt is buried so deep it’s become a part of her and colours her stubborn attitude when it comes to Isla’s father. When a solicitor’s letter arrives for Isla informing her she is a beneficiary in her paternal grandmother’s will, the grandmother she’s never known, entailing a trip to France and a meeting with her father, the fireworks fly between her and Glory, mainly because Glory initially withheld the letter. Unwilling to hurt her mother despite her annoyance at Glory’s high handedness, Isla backs down, although she secretly feels desperate to find out more about her father. Due to the stipulations of the will, if Isla refuses to go to France, no-one gets their inheritance, so after much soul-searching she decides to make the trip.
Isla lay on her back, staring at the ceiling of her room, the letter that had caused so much trouble lying on the duvet beside her. She’d reassured Glory that she wasn’t interested in what it might mean, and she had almost convinced herself of the same. But still, the offer wouldn’t leave her alone. It wasn’t just about money, though. It was about answers.
For what was perhaps the fifth time that hour, she put it to her face and reread it.
I’d been meaning to read a book by Tilly Tennant for a while and I think this was a good one to start with. The cover is gorgeous and I fell in love with St Martin-de-Bellville from the wonderful description…. ‘white frosted hulks of mountains bearing down on a town of adorable wooden chalets‘, the individual shops and picturesque scenery. And what a breathtaking setting! Spending Christmas there would be magical, I think.
Although A Cosy Candlelit Christmas is the second in a two book series, I didn’t realise until I’d read it, and it certainly didn’t detract from my enjoyment in any way. The first book detailed Isla’s friend, Dodie’s story.
Tilly Tennant has a very readable, engaging writing style and I liked the fact this wasn’t exclusively a ‘Christmassy’ story. Isla’s struggle with herself, despite the years of believing her father didn’t care, was portrayed extremely well and the storyline was handled sympathetically, from both sides. There are always two sides to consider and it’s easy to see how such a situation can spiral out of control.
The two possible romantic interests are complete opposites, with different agendas as far as Isla is concerned. Julian the sexy French, sort of cousin and Sebastian, the geeky glaciologist. Isla begins to realise that sometimes the heart needs to rule the head, something she is not used to. A delightful, perceptive story of new opportunities, forgiveness and the promise of love.
About the book
It’s the week before Christmas and Isla McCoy has just received an unexpected gift: a letter announcing she is due a life-changing inheritance, but only if she’s willing to make peace with the father who abandoned her.
She has absolutely no intention of forgiving him, but who could resist an all-expenses-paid trip to the French resort of St Martin-de-Belleville?
There she meets smooth-talking Justin and nerdy glaciologist Sebastian; two very different men, with two very different agendas. Torn between her head and her heart, Isla finds herself utterly lost in a winter wonderland of her own feelings.