Published: 22nd October 2015
Publisher: Head Of Zeus
On the twelfth day of Blogmas…
Bea does not believe in second chances. A widow at fifty-three, Bea knows she must accept that she will be alone forever. She buries her grief in hard work, and soon the deli she runs in Surry Hills has a reputation for the best carrot cake in Sydney. But then an email from a cafe-owner in Edinburgh leads her to take a trip to Scotland in the depths of winter. There, transported by the twinkling lights and falling snow of a traditional Christmas, Bea is drawn back to a secret past – and a secret love – that she has long ago tried to forget…
Thank you to Midas PR for kindly sending me a review copy.
The festive read opens with an emotional prologue; the death of Bea’s husband. Her relationship with him was stable, constant and he didn’t say no when she revealed that she had a son. I thought the opening was extremely soothing and there was something quite grasping about the way in which Amanda introduced one of her best loved characters again. As the narrative progresses into the beginning chapters, time has passed and readers are able to see how Bea mourns the loss of her husband. Along with the time lapse, we learn a few of her secrets regarding how she truly felt and to my surprise, it wasn’t as heartbreaking as I imagined it would be.
“She smiled at the memory of his wonderful humour and wished once again that she could have returned to him the same love that he’d given her.”
As Bea gets Christmas ready in her beautiful cafe (seriously, I want to visit), she receives a letter from a fellow cafe owner in Scotland and kindly introduces Bea to an online forum to talk to other owners about their festive business plans. I really liked this idea seeing as Bea is in Australia with family who barely talk to her (minus her troubled teenage granddaughter) and it was a sweet touch to know that since Peter’s death, she isn’t alone. When Bea started to open up about the man who she once loved, the story was brought to life and it seemed to be given the boost it needed. I did think it was quite clear what would happen but the journey getting there was an exciting path.
“He’s on his way right now to you. He’ll meet you at the Christmas cafe.”
As the plot came slowly to the end, all of Bea’s Christmas wishes came true and it was really nice to see her happy without having to hide her true feelings. As much as I enjoy Amanda’s writing, I wasn’t left feeling all Christmassy inside and although there was a lot of festive description, it didn’t transfer from the page to my imagination.