A welcome return to Honeybourne in this feel good christmas romance with extra added cake.
Spencer has returned to Honeybourne for Christmas with his American Fiancé Tori. Reluctantly having agreed to play host to both sets of parents on Christmas day, Spencer knows that when his relaxed and carefree parents meet Tori’s more uptight parents, it will do nothing to ingratiate him with the future parents-in-law who already seem to hate him. It doesn’t help that there is still the unanswered question of just where he and Tori will live when they are married that both of them are too afraid to speak about.
Over at the cafe, Millie has her hands full balancing the pre-Christmas orders with looking after little baby Oscar. Both Millie and her boyfriend Dylan are beyond tired but thankfully have tremendous help in the form of Millie’s cousin, Darcie. Darcie has proven a godsend both with the bakery and with Oscar, but she has a secret, one she has been keeping from Millie. Darcie is in love, but the object of her affection doesn’t notice her and she doesn’t know how much longer she can stay in the village feeling the way that she does.
Darcie isn’t the only one wrestling with feelings of unrequited love. Being back in the village and seeing best friend Dylan’s sister, his first love Jasmine, again, he starts to have doubts about his relationship with Tori. Can they really get married if he still carries a torch for someone else? And can Tori trust Spencer with his heart when he cannot be honest with her about his own feelings.
With the pressure of Christmas, the burden of managing two polar opposite sets of parents, and the elements of mistrust creeping into their relationship, Tori and Spencer are forced to take a long hard look at their whirlwind romance and ask themselves whether they are truly meant to be together, or is the nightmare before their first Christmas in Honeybourne just a really bad omen?
‘Christmas in the Little Village Bakery’ is a beautiful little romance which brings readers back into the lives of the residents of Honeybourne. Focusing mainly on Spencer and Tori and their preparations for Christmas with their folks, you also get a healthy dose of Jasmine and her husband Richard whose relationship is put under strain not only by Spencer’s reappearance in their lives, but also Jasmine’s reignited broodiness having looked after baby Oscar for a night. Alongside all of this is Darcie’s story, a young woman confused by her growing feelings for a completely inappropriate older man, longing desperately for a love of her own to match the one her cousin Millie has.
The characters are skilfully crafted, from the warm and generous Millie, right down to the gossipy and forthright Ruth. The conflicts created between Spencer and Tori’s parents are so typical of the kinds of misunderstandings that would occur when two very different sets of people are thrust together, and are perfectly set up to add humour to the mix. There are tender moments between Spencer and Tori and a beautiful, overdue moment between Dylan and Millie, to warm the heart. And Darcie is a kind and endearing character, one I am sure will be popular with readers. She may read as younger than her years, but this uncertainty, her insecurity, is part of her appeal.
The wintry weather adds another dimension to the story, not only in terms of fostering the festive appeal but by adding a layer of conflict, helping to thwart Spencer, with the assistance of a road full of sheep, as he tries hard to convince Tori that they belong together, no matter how hard their collective parents try to persuade them otherwise.
‘Christmas at the Little Village Bakery’ is a heart-warming read, kind of like mulled wine and mince pies on a wintry Christmas morning. Or in my case, as a tee-total mincemeat hater, like caramel macchiato and Chorley cakes. Lovely, yummy, indulgent heaven. So if you like your Christmas with romance and a little snow-bound drama, then this is the book for you.
A wintry and festive 5 stars.
My thanks to NetGalley and super publishers Bookouture for the copy of ‘Christmas at the Little Village Bakery’ in exchange for my review.
‘Christmas at the Little Village Bakery’ is published today by Bookouture and is available now at the following links: