Christmas Reads Feature: A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt

A Vicarage Christmas by Kate Hewitt

A Vicarage Christmas 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?

The Week: 8th – 14th October

Sunny spring days in Canberra.

This week started out gorgeous, had some weird weather in the middle, and involved a trip to the city to pick up my passport for my next trip!

Plus, there was a gorgeous (and very sweet) royal wedding to watch on Friday night (our time). I’m not into the royals usually, but this one…

How is October already half over? It’s nearly time to start thinking about Christmas!

Most of my posts this week were about sexual assault, and how the topic is handled (or dismissed in some quarters) in romance publishing. I’m utterly disgusted by recent events in the United States, and by how these things have an effect on women the world over.

Romance authors, misogyny, and conservative conversations about men.

Russian Orthodoxy – GONE!

China…

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – Easy by Tammara Webber

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – Breaking the Silence by Katie Allen

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – Breakable by Tammara Webber

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr

Books to Counter Kavanaugh – Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr

No, I’m not American, but the sexual harassment scandal surrounding Brett Kavanaugh – and the subsequent misogynistic victim-blaming movement emerging out of it – is reverberating around the world.

So, I’ve moved all my scheduled posts for the week, and instead will be recommending some books that deal with the reality of what women are up against when it comes to sexual harassment and assault.

Whispering Rock by Robyn Carr

Whispering Rock (Virgin River #3) by Robyn Carr

A decorated U.S. Marine reservist, LAPD officer Mike Valenzuela was badly wounded in the line of duty, but has found hope and healing in Virgin River. When he agrees to become the town’s first cop, he does so knowing it’s time he settled down. Twice divorced and the lover of too many women, he secretly longs for the kind of commitment and happiness his marine buddies have found—a woman who can tie up his heart forever.

He finds that woman in Brie Sheridan, a Sacramento prosecutor who understands his drive to protect and serve. Virgin River becomes a safe haven for Brie after nearly losing her life at the hands of a crazed criminal. Though tough and courageous, she’s got some fears she can’t escape—but now she has someone who will show her just what it means to trust again. Mike will do anything to help Brie free herself from painful memories. Passionate, strong and gentle, he vows to give back to her what she’s so selflessly given him—her heart, and with it, a new beginning.

The Week: 1st – 7th October

^^ The Royal Australian Air Force Roulettes flying over Old and New Parliament Houses in Canberra on Saturday afternoon (I took the picture from the car, so it’s not perfect!). New Parliament House turned thirty this year, and the celebrations were held this weekend.

What a week. For me it began in Qatar on the Arabian Peninsula, trying to stay awake through a 9.5 hour layover in Doha (note to self: flights from Manchester to Canberra have no good connection times!).

I arrived home on Tuesday morning, after two days of travelling, to the most gorgeous day. However, it was a real shock to see just HOW dry it is in Canberra. There was dead, yellow grass before; now it’s basically just dirt. It’s a huge contrast to green, green Ireland, and northern England, where there was a drought this summer, but nothing like this.

I didn’t get a chance for jetlag because it’s spring here, our local birds have had babies, and the desperate, overworked mother magpie has figured out which one is my bedroom window, and knocks on it with her beak at dawn until I get out of bed and give her some food for her kids!

Our recently deposed Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, had his penthouse by the lake up for sale this weekend. We actually parked outside the entrance to the building when we went out for lunch, and it was SO tempting to go in and have a look at it!

Yay for daylight saving beginning, and boo to all the countries losing their minds and getting rid of it. How could you possibly hate having an extra hour of daylight in the evening in summer??

My week finished with my passport sitting at the Chinese embassy, waiting for a visa – it’s not long before I’m off again.

Home

Spring in the Garden Canberra Australia Sonya Heaney 2nd October 2018

Virgin River on Netflix

Virgin River by Robyn Carr

Yet Another Netflix Adaptation

Stealing Home (The Sweet Magnolia's Series #1) by Sherrly Woods

More Trademark Issues

Harlequin Manga

Yet Another Netflix Adaptation

Stealing Home (The Sweet Magnolia's Series #1) by Sherrly Woods

Following on from yesterday’s post about Netflix adapting Robyn Carr’s Virgin River for television, I should also mention that Sherryl Woods’ Sweet Magnolias series is also being adapted for the screen.

Here’s what the first book is about:

Maddie Townsend might live in a town called Serenity, but there’s been nothing calm or peaceful about her life since her marriage broke up. This stay-at-home mom has no job skills, an out-of-control sixteen-year-old son, a talkative fourteen-year-old who’s suddenly gone silent, a six-year-old daughter whose heart is broken, an ex-husband whose younger girlfriend is expecting their baby and two best friends who think she’s somehow qualified to help them open a fitness spa for women. But if Maddie is a tad on edge with all that on her plate, it’s nothing compared to the chaos that ensues when she discovers that her son’s baseball coach has feelings for her and the whole town disapproves. Maddie’s faced a lot of challenges lately with strength and resolve, but Cal Maddox may turn out to be more than she can handle. Then again, he could just be the one man in all of South Carolina who can help her find serenity.

Virgin River on Netflix

Robyn Carr Virgin River Series

Continuing Netflix’s obsession with raiding the romance genre for ideas for productions, now Robyn Carr’s super-popular Virgin River series is being adapted for the screen.

Set in small town America, in Humboldt County, California, the book series follows a large cast of couples and side characters – but then I guess most people reading this post have heard of it! It looks like the initial run might just be for the first book.

Will I watch this show? Maybe… I don’t usually enjoy seeing characters I’m this familiar with (nor locations I’ve had in my mind for years) being presented in a way I don’t recognise.

Book Feature: The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr

Note: I am featuring some of the review books I’ve had for a while, but run out of time to review. That’s not to say I’m not going to read them; it’s just that I’ve fallen behind, and think the authors deserve an appearance here!

The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr

The Summer That Made Us by Robyn Carr

Mothers and daughters, sisters and cousins–they lived for summers at the lake house until a tragic accident changed everything. The Summer That Made Us is an unforgettable story about a family learning to accept the past, to forgive and to love each other again.

That was then… For the Hempsteads, two sisters who married two brothers and had three daughters each, summers were idyllic. The women would escape the city the moment school was out to gather at the family house on Lake Waseka. The lake was a magical place, a haven where they were happy and carefree. All of their problems drifted away as the days passed in sun-dappled contentment. Until the summer that changed everything.

This is now… After an accidental drowning turned the lake house into a site of tragedy and grief, it was closed up. For good. Torn apart, none of the Hempstead women speak of what happened that summer, and relationships between them are uneasy at best to hurtful at worst. But in the face of new challenges, one woman is determined to draw her family together again, and the only way that can happen is to return to the lake and face the truth.

Robyn Carr has crafted a beautifully woven story about the complexities of family dynamics and the value of strong female relationships.

Romance Novels Celebrate Women

Romance Books Category Romance

Great article over at The Messenger, a newspaper from Kentucky, USA:

Romance Novels Celebrate Women

Yes, it’s ridiculous that these pieces need to keep being written, but I can’t see the need for them going away any time soon!

Here are some excerpts:

‘I volunteered to sort, label, and shelve our library’s collection in order to create a browsable romance aisle. Why? Because romance novels are one of the few, if not the only, form of media which enthusiastically celebrates women. No other entertainment industry places as high a value on female agency, empowerment, happiness, and personal fulfillment like romance publishing.

There can be no doubt, the romance publishing industry is a juggernaut of commercial and financial success. However, the stigma surrounding these books has only exploded over the years. We are laughed at for reading “formulaic” stories, despite the fact that every book follows a formula; without formula the concept of genre ceases to exist. Likewise, Happy Ending stories are dismissed for being “predictable,” despite the fact that every action story concludes with the good guy winning, and mystery novels never end unsolved.

Sometimes our stories are set in a futuristic dystopia, sometimes they’re on an 1800s frontier, or on a planet far far away, or in a Regency London ballroom, or in China during the Tang Dynasty, or on a 17th century pirate ship, or among a coven of demons. No other genre can boast of such vast variety.

So There. 🙂 🙂