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Annie's Christmas by the Sea: A funny, feel good Christmas romance Paperback – October 4, 2017
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We are back in Salt Bay, yay!!! I absolutely adored the first part of Annie’s story and I am very excited we get to read more about her and some other characters.
Annie Trebarwith is very happy in her new home. She takes care of her great-aunt Alice, has a gorgeous boyfriend Josh and her choir is still going strong.
Josh Pasco is a teacher, he is very busy at work, helps Annie with the choir and looks after his mother. The two of them barley see each other, but they somehow make it work.
However, Annie’s father Barry turns up with her half-sister Storm. This makes things much more complicated.
Then there is Josh’s sister Lucy with her daughter Freya. The story around Freya’s dad causes a lot of drama as well.
On top of that, there is Christmas coming up and the choir is preparing for a competition. I loved this part of the story. These little choir aspects and also the whole choir community, such a great mixture of people. Liz Eeles captured this beautifully in her writing. I felt like being in an actual rehearsal with the choir.
My favourite scenes were by far the ones with Annie and Josh together. They are such an amazing couple with a lot of chemistry. They had their ups and downs, but that was part of the storyline. I was especially surprised by Josh in the end, positively of course.
Salt Bay is a wonderful place and around Christmas it’s even more special. The atmosphere surrounding the characters and the storyline is magical.
Catching up with all the other characters was fabulous too and we get introduced to some new ones as well. They are all so unique and it’s just so sweet to see, how they are all there for each other. They are all so real and authentic.
A gorgeous read, perfect for snuggling up in a blanket with a warm drink. I enjoyed every second of this wonderful story!
With an unknown father and half-sister appear, far different from her childhood musings, Josh’s mother taking ill, his sister Lucy and her five year old daughter requesting a secret, and cousin Toby arriving to be as overbearing and distasteful as ever, things are getting rocky. Alice’s health is slowly deteriorating, her half-sister Storm is just that with her 16 year old angst and anger erupting at every opportunity, the choir, prone to be pitchy at the best of times is feeling the pressure of an upcoming competition, and who really needs a pudgy, aging wanna-be rock star with a penchant for cluelessness as a father – albeit a father who isn’t easy to hide away? And the secrets: secret requests from Josh’s sister Lucy, Josh’s inability to even hold hands in public, shopkeeper Jennifer’s secrets that are hinted to but shut away when Storm presents more than a bit of trouble, and Annie’s worries about her place in Salt Bay, and the constant worry that she’s only made a temporary retreat from a life that was, until recently, more footloose and connection free.
Salt Bay is a little community that was weighted down with its sorrows and secrets, and Annie’s arrival rather shook that up, bringing music back after the tragic loss of so many to a storm. But there are secrets that are still buried, and the changes, particularly with her reaction to, at nearly 30, finally meeting her father for the first time. Eeles has imbued the stories of the town with emotion: sorrow, loss, family and belonging, and brought each to these characters: giving them moments to heal and reframe what each moment means. From Barry’s talks with Alice that result in a song that celebrates the lives of those lost to the storm, to Storm’s finding a place where she is needed and wanted, for Josh’s support of his family nearly bringing an end to his relationship with Annie, and for Annie finally taking a breath and a moment to see, and truly question, people’s motivations and then making decisions that are in the best interest of someone other than herself, despite her own personal stakes. So much is happening in the story, but the overwhelming effect is to heal the fractures in lives, in large and small ways, building those little bridges that make growth possible. Annie’s growth through these two stories has been remarkable, as she’s learned more about herself and what she truly wants, overcome those fears and even brought some healing to others in this time, and I can’t wait to see the Salt Bay Choir, with Annie and Josh, conducting them to face off with Gareth Malone.
I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
I suspect a lot of readers will adore the small Cornish village by the sea setting and see that as quirky, well I live in a place very similar and the feeling of belonging and never wanting to leave is so true. Everyone knows each others business before they do so I could relate to this story!
Poor Annie just as she thinks her life is getting settled the father she has never met arrives, with a half-sister in tow. How many long lost relatives can a person have!? Of course these two don’t come quietly there is plenty of friction and drama which only succeeds in jeopardising Annie’s relationship with boyfriend Josh and great aunt Alice.
Dad Barry is an ageing rocker and Storm is a sulky, petulant teenager so between them they aren’t a particularly good fit for Salt Bay. Can Annie keep the peace or is she destined to fall apart at the seams?
The whole setting of this book is charming, from the choir to the locals it just grabs hold of your heart and fills it with warmth. It could be read as a stand alone but to get the back story I would suggest reading them in order. This is perfect for a cosy read during the cooler months to get into the winter spirit.
Thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily.