Delighted to be taking part in the blog blitz today for Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat by Angela Britnell. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part and to Choc Lit for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
What if you had nowhere to call home for Christmas?
When Fee Winter books a winter break at the remote Black Cherry Retreat in the small town of Pine Ridge, Tennessee, it’s with the idea that the peace and quiet will help her recuperate from her hectic life as a photographer.
But what she didn’t bank on was meeting Tom Chambers and his huge, interfering yet lovable family. With them, could Fee finally experience the warmth and support that’s been missing from her own life – and maybe even find a place to call home in time for Christmas?
I knew this was going to be a Christmas book with a difference when I picked it up, as it is not set in the UK, but in a remote town in Eastern Tennessee, not a standard setting for a Christmas novel. However, this book is actually not particularly a Christmas-centric story at all, given that it starts around Halloween and focuses on this, and Thanksgiving, rather than just Christmas. However, this does not stop it being a good book in any way.
We meet Fee just as she is arriving at the remote Black Cherry Retreat as Fall has taken hold in the mountains of Tennessee. Fee is running away from horrors in her past an is looking for solitude and isolation to try and heal herself. However, she is immediately drawn to Tom Chambers, a retired police officer who owns Black Cherry Retreat and who has reasons of his own for withdrawing to his remote cabin. The story then focuses on the development of the relationship between this two reluctant characters.
I really loved the setting of this book. It was somewhere very different and the author does a fantastic job of bringing the setting to vivid life with her descriptions. I defy anyone reading this book not to wish they could spend a month or two there with nothing for company but some books, a deer or two and a hunky Tennessean man! I really enjoyed the descriptions of the little town of Pine Ridge and the close knit community there, most of whom Tom is related to.
Which brings us neatly to the characters who are all delightful. I was very drawn to both Fee and Tom and fascinated by their burgeoning relationship, hampered as it was by their pasts. Fee, in particular, seems to be a mass of contradictions and the author has done very well to develop a really interesting character in Fee. The subsidiary characters are a lovely bunch, particularly little Lulu, and added great charm to the story.
Although this book does not focus particularly heavily on Christmas as a theme, despite the title, it includes great descriptions of various holiday events which gives it a lovely, warm, festive feeling and I am sure anyone looking for a seasonal read will not be disappointed. It also includes a little mystery element, which was a nice sub-plot, and gave the book extra interest for me. All in all, a rewarding read. I could actually envisage this book making a great Hallmark movie, albeit one with a slightly deeper twist than some of the very twee, fluffy ones you see, so if that is the kind of thing you like, this will be right up your street.
Christmas at Black Cherry Retreat is out now and is available here.
Please check out the reviews by the rest of the amazing bloggers taking part in the blitz. You can find their details on the poster below:
About the Author
Angela grew up in Cornwall, England and returns frequently from her new home in Nashville, Tennessee. A lifelong love of reading turned into a passion for writing contemporary romance and her novels are usually set in the many places she’s visited or lived on her extensive travels. After more than three decades of marriage to her American husband she’s a huge fan of transatlantic romance and always makes sure her characters get their own happy-ever-after. Over the last twelve years she’s been multi-published and sold over 25 novels. She also writes short stories for women’s magazines. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, the Romance Writers of America and the Music City Romance Writers.
Connect with Angela:
Facebook: Angela Britnell