This is my final Christmas read for this year, and is quite possibly the best of my Christmas reads in 2017. My first time reading the work of Lily Graham was very rewarding.
A lovely couple feature in this novel. Ivy Everton, an artist, and her husband, Stuart Everton. They have recently moved from the hustle and bustle of London, to a charming Cornish ‘Sea Cottage’ ‘free-holding’. Ivy is missing her mother terribly. Even after five years, she pines for those times she had with her dear Mum and now she needs her more than ever. After years of trying for a baby, and two miscarriages, the couple had all but given up, when to their immense delight they find they are expecting!
“Death is not something you get over. It’s the rip that exposes life in a before and after chasm and all you can do
is try to exist as best you can in the after.”
Now they are starting over due to her recent literary success. Ivy is a children’s book illustrator and co-author of a successful series of picture books featuring a talking English bulldog. (based on her own dear bulldog, Muppet) Stuart, once a successful marketing/advertising manager, now grows vegetables and makes and sells condiments from his kitchen. A prized-winning chef, Stuart does all the cooking, for Ivy would burn water.
“We’re so wired to expect the worst that when something good happens, it’s like our subconscious minds need to find something to torture us with, because if we dared to trust, well then there’s a chance we’d be disappointed.”
Ivy goes to her parent’s home and retrieves her mother’s precious Victorian writing desk – an integral part of her memories of her mother. She installs the treasured desk in her attic artist’s studio under a window with it’s ocean view.
The desk brings a touch of magic to Ivy’s life. Her mother was one of those people who believed in the inexplicable, in magic – which made Christmas the perfect time of year for Ivy to share in that magic…
“Sometimes things have to break before they can mend.”
In addition to the heart-warming plot, the writing was wonderful. “Shells dotted the beach, as if the ocean had gently pulled back its skirt to reveal a frothy garter studded with jewels.”
The characters were ones that you find a place for in your heart. Ivy and Stuart, Ivy’s Dad, Stuart’s sister, Ivy’s best-friend Catherine, all were wonderful. As was her late mother’s sewing group, “The Thursday Club”. Six women who rally around Ivy giving her some of her mother’s love vicariously.
The setting? Coastal Cornwall… what could be better?
With fantastical and enchanting elements, this book is not my usual preference. The combination in this case is the exception that proves the rule. I loved it. “A Cornish Christmas” is not the ‘romance’ that it is touted as. It is thoughtful and delightful women’s fiction that expounds on the good and the bad that life has to offer.
“Life is as beautiful as it is brutal and over in the length of a sigh.”
Sadly, this novel is also now over for me. If you haven’t yet read it, you are in for a treat.I purchased this book in Kindle format from Amazon.ca
Lily Graham grew up in dry, dusty, sun-filled Johannesburg, which gave her a longing for the sea that has never quite gone away. She now lives in the Suffolk countryside, happily just minutes from the sea, with her husband and her sweet, slobbering bulldog, Fudge. She brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction.