Hannah Swan is looking forward to Christmas for the first time in years. Her new job as an eco-consultant is taking her – and her geeky colleague, Noah – to the beautiful Cornish village of Porthgolow for the first time.
They are helping the Crystal Waters Hotel to ramp up its green credentials, though after a bumpy journey, Hannah can’t shake off the feeling that Porthgolow is strangely familiar. Never able to resist a mystery, her interest is piqued when the hotel’s staff and customers report odd noises and sightings, believing the hotel to be haunted.
When bad weather cuts off Porthgolow, Hannah and Noah are looking at a Cornish Christmas. It gives them plenty of time to work out what is really going on, but will their yuletide escape send shivers up their spines? Or will it be as warm and toasty as a glass of mulled wine?
I’m delighted to to taking part today in the blog tour for the latest book by one of my favourite authors, The Cornish Cream Tea Christmas by Cressida McLaughlin. My thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part and to the publisher, HarperCollins, for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
As a massive fan of Cressida’s books, and the Cornish Cream Tea series in particular, I was really excited to return to Porthgolow at Christmas and see what all my favourite characters were up to, and meet some new ones. The life of coastal towns in the winter when tourists are thin on the ground and the town is handed back to the locals is an entirely different proposition to the previous books which have been set during the busy months of the year, and I was fascinated to get a peep at what might, or might not, be going on.
The book is set largely in the spa hotel, where new character Hannah has come down from Edinburgh to stay for a week and help owner Daniel improve the hotel’s eco credentials. She is assisted by local freelancer, Noah, whom she has never met before, so both we and Hannah are getting to know him at the same time. Hannah was a character that I warmed to from the very beginning, which meant I felt invested in the book from the first page and I fairly flew through the story. This is the overriding genius of Cressida’s writing, she always manages to create believable characters that you care about and draw you into the story until you are fully involved and desperate to know what happens to them. I loved the way she managed to integrate them so seamlessly into the tight knit community she has already built in my head.
The Cornish setting is equally as beautiful and tempting in the winter – perhaps even more so – with empty beaches, cosy pubs and Christmas sparkle dangling from every spare twig. You can practically smell the pine coming off the page as she brings the setting to life. And the food, oh the food. The main character, Hannah, is a foodie, so there is ample opportunity to shoehorn in descriptions of delicious dishes and delicacies – in the hotel, the pub, the weekly food market and, of course, on the Cornish Cream Tea Bus itself. You will come away from the book either starving or feeling like you have eaten a twelve course meal, it’s a toss up.
There is plenty of action to keep the plot moving along with violent storms, a dramatic coastal rescue and a ghostly mystery running alongside the romance, so there are no slow patches in the story. Despite being 370 pages, the book raced past in no time and I was sad to get to the end, but satisfied with the conclusion. As with all Cress’s books, I was left with a warm, contented glow, underscored with a wistful longing for her next book. Not much more that a fan of romantic Christmas stories could wish for. Just remind me never to visit Portgolow in real life, it is the Cornish equivalent of the Hotel California. ‘You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!’
The Cornish Cream Tea Christmas is out now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.
Please do follow the rest of the tour as detailed below:
About the Author
Cressy was born in South East London surrounded by books and with a cat named after Lawrence of Arabia. She studied English at the University of East Anglia and now lives in Norwich with her husband David. When she isn’t writing, Cressy spends her spare time reading, returning to London or exploring the beautiful Norfolk coastline.
Connect with Cressy:
Facebook: Cressida McLaughlin Author