by Kate Hewitt
Welcome to Thornwaite, a quaint village tucked up in England’s beautiful but rainy Lake District… where homecomings happen and surprises are in store for the four Holley sisters…
Anna Holley, the third of four sisters, has always felt a little bit forgotten. A family tragedy when she was a child had her retreating deep into shyness, and social anxiety kept her on the fringes of the cozy chaos of the busy vicarage.
After several years away from home, Anna returns for Christmas… and an important announcement from her father. As much as she once loved the village, coming back is hard and puts Anna’s social capabilities to the test.
Avoiding her sisters’ bossy questions, she heads out to the local pub one night, and meets a handsome stranger nursing a pint. Somehow, unburdened by expectations, Simon seems like the perfect person to spill all her secrets to—including a hopeless, long-held crush on her sister’s boyfriend. Confident she’ll never see him again, Anna returns home… only to discover the next day that Simon is actually her father’s new curate!
Anna is beyond mortified, but Simon won’t let her retreat into her usual shyness—and for once Anna is forced to confront the past, and all the fears and feelings she’d tried so long to hide. But with his own heartache that needs to heal, can Simon help Anna to make this the most magical Christmas either of them have known?
I thoroughly enjoyed A Vicarage Christmas. I appreciated the author’s writing style, with all those delightful descriptions about places and feelings. While reading, you can pleasantly enjoy the lovely Christmas’ atmosphere of this little village with the Holleys.
Anna and Simon, the new vicar, meet themselves by coincidence, but instantly their burdens and suffering connect them in a new and strong feeling. Simon can see beyond Anna’s fragilities and her stuttering in uncomfortable situations. So, they start to spend time together enjoying each other’s company. But unfortunately, both have fears, and they need to be honest with each other in order to face all the difficulties of a possible long-distance relationship. Will their connection be strong enough, and will their fears be overshadowed by their mutual feelings, so that they could finally enjoy this new opportunity to be happy?
What I find interesting about this novel, other than the pure love story between Anna and Simon, is the deep observation of the miscommunication and its consequences in family relationships.
Anna loves her family and being at home, but she also feels so distant and inappropriate in this joyful and often chaotic context.
She was battling a weird mix of dread and deep happiness, the two emotions so closely twined it was hard to separate one from the other. But this was always how she’d felt about home. About family.
Even if Anna’s family shared so many happy moments, and also awful ones, and family represents the most important point of reference, the Holleys are incredibly clumsy to open their hearts and share their fears. Anna feels herself so broken inside, and although this feeling always affects her relationships and the way she interacts with others, she has never dared to face this problem, until Simon arrived.
“We’re all broken, Anna. That’s the nature of being human. I’m as broken as you are, if not more”.
“How?” she demanded. “You seem pretty together, to me.”
“We all try to hide it, don’t we?” he shot back.
“We’re not out there, yelling from the rooftops how messed up we are inside, how sad and scared.”
I really liked A Vicarage Christmas and I highly recommend it. Thanks, Kate, for this heartwarming book!
I was provided an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Publication Date: October 12, 2017
Series: The Holley Sisters of Thornthwaite, Book 1
Print Length: 121 pages
Publisher: Tule Publishing (October 12, 2017)
About the author
Kate Hewitt is the USA Today bestselling author of over 60 books of women’s fiction and romance. She is the author of the Hartley-by-the-Sea series, set in England’s Lake District and published by Penguin. She is also, under the name Katharine Swartz, the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell.
She also writes for Harlequin Presents.
She likes to read romance, mystery, the occasional straight historical and angsty women’s fiction; she particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoids high-concept plots.
Having lived in both New York City and a tiny village on the windswept northwest coast of England, she now resides in a market town in Wales with her husband, five children, and an overly affectionate Golden Retriever.
For more about Kate, check her website HERE!
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