Christmas In The Scottish Highlands – Donna Ashcroft

Published By: Bookouture
Pages: 214
Released On: 11/10/2021

Thirty-year-old Belle Albany is feeling lonely this Christmas. Another whole year has passed and her life is…exactly the same as it was last December. She longs for true love and a little bit of winter magic – but she’s almost given up on finding it in the sleepy Scottish community where she lives.

When Belle crashes into elderly Edina on her cherry red bicycle, it’s not the meet-cute she had been hoping for. But she immediately recognises the lost look in Edina’s watery-blue eyes and resolves to organise a Christmas to remember for them both. Although Belle hasn’t counted on Edina’s home being a crumbling Scottish castle and she certainly hadn’t been expecting Edina’s handsome long-lost grandson Jack Hamilton-Kirk to turn up on the doorstep in the middle of a snowstorm. Jack is arrogant, rude and bossy and Bella is convinced he’s about to ruin the seasonal cheer she has worked hard to create. He is basically the Grinch in human form, so why does her heart race every time they’re in the same room?

As they hunt down costumes for the annual nativity show and save a donkey from a snowy disaster, Belle can’t ignore their growing attraction. But will a secret from Jack’s past come between them? Or will this finally be the year Belle falls in love?

*****

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

This book had everything I want in a book – hell, it even has it in the title. Christmas + Scotland. What more do you need? As you’ve probably figured out by now, I adore Christmas and really do wish it was Christmas everyday. I’m the person who starts their shopping in June, it’s my happy time. And Scotland I absolutely adore! I have never been to Scotland in the winter though and I feel I’m missing out on something. I have been for New Year, but I didn’t get the full snowy experience, so I must schedule that in.

There is nothing that isn’t calming and warming and loveable about this book. Okay, yes, there is one subplot that is less than perfect (no spoilers here), but even that feels comforting in the big hug that is this novel.

Belle is a 30 year old primary school teacher who says yes to helping just about everyone, even if that means forgetting herself in the meantime. I can identify with that; I’m always the one volunteering to bake for the bake sale, or take people for appointments, or to help with this and that or the other, especially during the festivities. After a slight accident, she meets the elderly Edina who lives alone in a castle on the outskirts of….oh yeah…Christmas Village! I mean, come on now! Through the month of December, she gets to know more of her little community, whilst planning the school nativity show, as well as sticking many fingers in many pies. And then Edina’s long-lost grandson Jack enters the picture, and throws Belle’s life into disarray.

As I’ve said before, these happily-ever-after festive books are quite simple in their plot, and I think anyone who reads them can normally figure out the ending before they get there. But I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is not a bad thing. It allows you to fully immerse yourself in the fairytale Scottish landscape, and the magic to that the festivities can often bring. This, along with a hot cup of tea and a Christmas music CD (yes kids, I still use CDs), and you’re all set to ward of a cold winter’s evening.

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