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If you’ve been following my book posts then you’ll know I’m a big fan of Holly Martin, having read The Summer Of Chasing Dreams and The Little Village Of Happiness already. This time I’m reviewing The Gift Of Happiness, the sequel to the latter – but will it be the best one yet?
Author: Holly Martin
Published: November 2019
“Christmas has arrived in the little village of Happiness, promising snowflakes, hot chocolate and plenty of seasonal romance. So snuggle up and fall in love with the gorgeously cosy new story from the bestselling author of Christmas at Lilac Cottage…
Christmas has always been such an important part of Ruby Marlowe’s life and at a time of year that always holds so many memories, Ruby likes to throw herself into the magic of the season head first. So when she is offered the opportunity to open a year-round Christmas shop in the little village of Happiness it seems like a dream come true.
Accepting the offer has absolutely nothing to do with sexy Jacob Harrington, the sculptor she had a fling with in the village during the summer.
After all, Jacob is known to love the ladies and has never had a commitment. Ruby, on the other hand, made the ultimate vow of love and suffered heart-wrenching loss in return. She vows she will never be committed to a man again.
But when fate throws Ruby and Jacob together in this town in the most magical of seasons, will more than snowflakes fall? As the Christmas celebrations get underway and Ruby tries to spread her own Christmas magic over the little village, can love sparkle and come back to life.
A glorious, feel-good romance that’s like a warm hug on a cold winter’s day. An unputdownable festive treat for lovers of Sarah Morgan, Miranda Dickinson and Lucy Diamond.”
(Taken from Goodreads)
I’m really starting to warm to the Christmas romance genre – if you suggested reading something similar a couple of years ago I would have turned up my nose, but I’m enjoying the cosiness and comfort found within the stories now. The Gift Of Happiness has everything it needs to fit nicely within the genre, and the author has the perfect writing style for it.
This time around we’re focusing on Ruby and Jacob as they struggle to define their relationship, rather than Willow and Andrew and their blossoming romance throughout The Little Village Of Happiness. Like with the first book character development is strong, and the now tight-knit community of Happiness make for a wonderful range of minor characters. We carry on learning about them, with some of the less-mentioned characters making more of an appearance this time, plus some new characters thrown into the mix as well.
The storyline is also very good, with a strong plot and several other great sub-plots throughout the book. I’ve always enjoyed the pacing of Martin’s writing, and she’s great at turning romance books into enjoyable and emotive stories with depth, rather than the more shallow novels you sometimes find within the genre.
Despite this I didn’t quite enjoy The Gift Of Happiness as much as the first one in the series, and I think it’s just that I didn’t connect with Ruby and Jacob’s characters as much as I did Willow and Andrew. Willow is a spontaneous creative with a real romantic side, similar to how I can be, whereas Ruby’s story explores very different themes such as grief and fear of commitment – themes that haven’t impacted my life quite as much. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t a good book, because it’s still high up on my list of positive reads anymore, but rather that I didn’t get that same buzz of excitement and wonder as I did with The Little Village Of Happiness.
I honestly would recommend The Gift Of Happiness to all lovers of romance books, and it’s a really great choice if you’re looking to get into the festive spirit. Definitely read the first book beforehand though, as that makes the characters and setting so much more magical in the second!
If you’d like to purchase a copy of The Gift Of Happiness by Holly Martin then you can do so here:
Holly lives in a little white cottage by the sea. She studied media at university which led to a very glitzy career as a hotel receptionist followed by a even more glamorous two years working in a bank. The moment that one of her colleagues received the much coveted carriage clock for fifteen years’ service was the moment when she knew she had to escape. She quit her job and returned to university to train to be a teacher. Three years later, she emerged wide eyed and terrified that she now had responsibility for the development of thirty young minds. She taught for four years and then escaped the classroom to teach history workshops, dressing up as a Viking one day and an Egyptian High Priestess the next. But the long journeys around the UK and many hours sat on the M25 gave her a lot of time to plan out her stories and she now writes full time, doing what she loves.
Holly has been writing for 8 years. She was shortlisted for the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Her short story won the Sunlounger competition and was published in the Sunlounger anthology. She won the Carina Valentine’s competition at the Festival of Romance 2013 with her novel The Guestbook. She was shortlisted for Best Romantic Read, Best eBook and Innovation in Romantic Fiction at the Festival of Romance 2014. She is the bestselling author of 18 books.
(Taken from Amazon)
Does this sound like your perfect Christmas cosy romance? Let me know what you think in the comments, and don’t forget to like and pin!
You can read some of my other romance-themed book reviews here:
One? – Jennifer L. Cahill
Christmas At Little Beach Street Bakery – Jenny Colgan
Choosing Me: Love Letters From A Poet – Bill Weber