The Village Inn Of Secret Dreams – Alison Sherlock

Published By: Boldwood
Released On: 30/09/2021

After escaping her parents’ unhappy marriage to sleepy Cranbridge a long time ago, Belle Clark dreams of staying at The Black Swan Inn forever. But with the rundown Inn threatened with closure, Belle may be forced to leave, unless a buyer can be found quickly.

So, when her oldest friend Pete Kennedy returns from working abroad with a plan to save the Inn, Bell should be overjoyed. The trouble is, Pete has some rather radical ideas for the renovation which Belle disagrees with. But when a snow storm hits, Belle and Pete are forced to put aside their differences and work together to help the village.

Can Belle realise her dreams to stay in Cranbridge and can Pete ever stop running from his past? As they try to save The Black Swan Inn, secrets are revealed and just maybe they’ll finally find out how they really feel about each other.


Thanks to Boldwood for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.

I’ve definitely been on a Christmas book run recently – which is certainly not a bad thing – and this is one hell of a Christmas book. It’s full of warmth and joy and love and cosyness.

It shows the hardships and the triumphs that come with families, especially families at Christmas, and especially families in such a tight knit village community.

Each character is their own person, each identifiable as someone I know. Belle and Pete are lovely main characters who just seem so genuine and they bounce off each other perfectly. The village inn itself is a beautiful character all of its own. It is why I’ve always dreamed of moving out of a busy town and into a small village – local pub, Christmas fetes, community spirit – especially as the snow settles on a winters evening.

Alison hits just the right notes with how to portray the harder topics – grief, loss, the risk of losing your home, relationship troubles, alcoholism and drug use, and winter poverty. They’re not just thrown in for entertainment purposes, there’s real heart there.

It is really such a perfect book and I think it’ll be one I return to whenever I need warming up.

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