Synopsis: Escape to the cosy little village of Appledore for hot chocolate with extra marshmallows and a second chance at love. Will this Christmas prove that miracles really can happen?
A year after she separated from her husband, Gianni, on Christmas day, Chloe’s heart is finally on the mend as she unpacks the decorations for her first ever festive holiday alone. That is, until the phone rings…
It’s the manager of Gianni’s new seaside restaurant in Appledore, begging for Chloe’s help. Equally famous for his gold-leaf Christmas puddings and his explosive temper, Gianni has been really stirring up a sensation with the locals – and not in a good way! It’s the last thing she wants to do, but Chloe knows she is the only one that can help.
As pans fly and the temperature in the kitchen rises, Chloe’s calming influence and magic touch might just get critics back on side in time to save the restaurant from sinking like a sad soufflé. But as Chloe’s eyes meet Gianni’s as they tussle over a plate of turkey tartlets, could there also be a chance for new romance on the menu?
Kat's Rating: 5/5
Kat's Review: I am as many of you know a huge Sue Watson fan, but that's not to say I adore every one of her books...but this one I ABSOLUTELY do! This book is Christmas wrapped up in a toe tinglingly festive read, that needs to be accompanied preferably with an open fire and a mug of hot chocolate. Sue has written a few books set in Appledore, and although they are all standalone books they all feature some recurring characters. Appledore is a quaint little place near the sea and it's where Chloe's estranged husband Gianni has gone to open his latest restaurant.
Chloe and Gianni are separated and as the story begins we take a walk down memory ane with Chloe and she describes their past and how they have reached the place they are both at now. With Gianni retreating to Appledore to open a restaurant after turning his back on the glitz and almost celebrity status he had in London, his fiery italian temper has got him in to hot water. With signs of his restaurant dying before it's even begun Gianni's Manager asks for Chloe's help. Chloe who has spent a year building her career in events decides that rather than spend Christmas alone she will help Gianni try and salvage his restaurant (and reputation) and maybe they will become friends..
I instantly loved both these lead characters and they are extremely funny. Gianni with his ridiculous interpretation of the English language leads to some funny moments when he is explaining his thoughts on the beach! I can't say that this is the most original storyline but it's positively packed to the brim with Christmas spirit and a good old-fashioned romance. What made the story so enjoyable for me was the characters and the place itself. Having read all the other books set in Appledore I was thrilled to see the return (albeit fleetingly) of some familiar places such as Roberta, Dani and Sue.
We see Chloe and Gianni battle both on a personal front as well as a business one. Although the majority of the storyline is constantly peppered with humour there are more serious issues meaning both characters have their own chinks in their armour and makes them all the more likeable The character Marco (who again featured in previous books) was a perfect fit into this story too! I read this in one sitting and loved every single page. If you are looking for a festive read that will make you smile then this here is the answer. One word of warning though, don't read it if yu are hungry as you may find yourself reaching for food! This would be the perfect stocking filler and is highly recommended!