One Last Dream for December by Lottie Cardew

This is the second in the Pebblestow series, but can easily be read as a standalone.

Esmeralda ‘Esme’ Blythe is 33 and has just moved in to her new home, above Percival’s, a toy shop in the Shropshire village of Pebblestow. Her Uncle, Samuel Spencer, lives in the village too. She is rather impressed by her first visitors – the gorgeous 37-year-old Seth (especially gorgeous later on in the fluffy onesie!) and his beautiful daughter Tamika (4) who turn up at the shop, coming in to escape the rain.

Mr Percival’s shop assistant Blodwyn Evans is beautifully described on her first appearance. I could easily see just what she looked like and sounded like. Lottie Cardew is very good at getting just the right amount of character description into the pages.

The character of Esme herself is one we get to learn more about over the entire book. There’s a bit of a mystery to her and clues are drip-fed into the chapters, as we work out her personality and discover things about her past. Her lack of self-esteem and how she questions whether she deserves a loving relationship only make the reader love her more and really hope she gets a happy ending.

I love the setting of a toy shop, which again is beautifully described. I’m a big fan of dolls’ houses and particularly enjoyed reading about the one in the shop window for the Christmas display. There’s something magical about dolls’ houses, and old-fashioned toys, which fits in with the story, which feels quite magical at times.

The chapters are a perfect size – not too long, not too short. It was easy to keep reading, as you want to find out what happens.

This is the first book I’ve read that includes neurodiversity. As a parent of a daughter with Aspergers and a son on the Autistic spectrum, it was interesting to see both an adult character (Esme) and a child character (Tamika) with similar traits.

The only criticism I have is that the book is slightly slow-paced some of the time and I felt I wanted things to move a bit faster. But great characters, a lovely message and something a bit different to your average romcom.


One Last Dream for December

Sometimes, the dream we think we don’t deserve is the one that’s trying to come true…

Esme Blythe has led a nomadic existence for the last ten years, never thinking she fits anywhere, and never feeling she’s earned the right to. But when she moves in above Percival’s, the charming old toy shop in Market Square, Pebblestow, it seems the village is about to weave its signature fairy-tale magic.

Surrounded by wooden toy soldiers, rocking horses, and vintage doll’s houses, not to mention the locals who seem determined to be part of her life – from her endearing grumpy uncle, to warm-hearted co-worker Blodwyn, and smouldering single dad Seth – Esme has to face up to everything she’s been missing, or turn her back on an incredible opportunity.

New friends, formidable foes, and the thrill of a budding romance, conspire to make this the most bittersweet December ever. But when she finally learns the truth about the toy shop’s owner, her elusive benefactor, the mysterious Mr Percival, is it already too late for Esme to change her mind… and heal her heart?

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Author Bio –  Lottie Cardew writes uplifting, contemporary romcoms set around the picturesque village of Pebblestow, and is an advocate for diversity in fiction.

Regarded as the bossy one at Novelistas Ink, Lottie often subdues the other members if they misbehave (they don’t really) including the popular authors Trisha Ashley and Sophie Claire. She is a longstanding member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, scooping their New Writer’s Award in her twenties under a different pen-name. More recently, Lottie also joined the Society of Authors where as an active participant in the ADCI group (Authors with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses) she interviewed bestselling author Holly Smale in 2021 for the first ever Disability Issue of The Bookseller.

Lottie is diagnosed autistic with suspected ADHD. Her home in North Wales is overrun by husband, not-very-small children, and a ball of fluff masquerading as a Pomeranian, so Lottie frequently takes refuge at her desk.

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Published by karenlouisehollis

53, lives in Lincoln, England. Published writer, book blogger and reviewer, mum, grandma, cat owner, vegetarian. Loves reading and sewing. My novel is out - WELCOME TO WHITLOCK CLOSE.

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