Suzanne Snow is one of the friendliest authors I know online and her Facebook group – Snowed In – is one of my favourite groups. I especially enjoy the Facebook Live interviews she does with fellow authors. I own three of her books, but hadn’t got round to reading them – then I got Snowfall Over Halesmere House and read it in a couple of days!
For starters, the book looks amazing! The cover is beautiful – a house, Christmas trees, a cute dog and lots of glitter! Yes, I know!!! Stunning! But what’s the story like? Well, they say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but you can with this one because the story is also beautiful, festive, glittery, based in a big house – and with a dog called Primrose in it!
The star of the novel is Ella Grant and we meet her in November, when she has just arrived at the impressive Halesmere House in Cumbria to begin her new job there. Her task is to relaunch the house as a holiday home from January. Straight away, she meets Noelle Bourdon (the French owner of the house) and her grandchildren Lily (6) and Arlo (4), who Ella will be helping look after. She then meets Max Bentley, Noelle’s son, who seems rather obnoxious. After that meeting, Ella isn’t even sure there’s a job for her anymore!
I was interested in the story straight away. Ella is a character I wanted to get to know and I was looking forward to finding out more about her throughout the book. All the characters just jump out of the page, they’re so authentic. Lily and Arlo are adorable, it’s often hard to get kids right in fiction, but these are perfectly done. Lily is often hilarious, with the things she says! I also loved Primrose the naughty, but adorable, dog! The relationships between Max and his mother, and Max and his children, are also interesting and he is trying so hard at being a single dad and juggling his work with his family commitments.
As with all good romance books, there are plenty of other topics covered. Both Ella and Max are dealing with grief and trying to move on with their lives following a tragedy. There are some brilliantly funny moments (especially with the children) and many serious moments too. Suzanne Snow has a great writing style that immediately draws you into the story and wanting to keep reading, to find out what the pages have in store for the cast of characters within them. Odd job man Stan was another of my favourites.
I liked the community setting of the book. Although a lot of the story is based at Halesmere House itself, we find out about the village, its community shop, pub, pretty cottages and those that live and work there. It’s a really idyllic setting and the Lake District is a beautiful part of the country. I loved getting to know the other characters there including Rowan and Marta. I do enjoy these kinds of books where the reader feels they are living there too and making friends with all the characters.
I enjoy a good Christmas book and reading this novel in November was great, as it really got me excited about the approaching festive season. I loved the way that Halesmere House was decorated for Christmas and all the events going on, like the Artisan Christmas Open Day.
I find in some romance novels that the developing relationship can seem slightly formulaic, as if the author thinks “Ooh this is going too well, I need to put in an obstacle here” and I understand why this is done, but I occasionally find it annoying. Suzanne Snow, however, lets the romance develop in a way that feels very natural. We know the obstacles are there, but they’re present from the start, not thrown in partway through. I loved how the characters form a friendship which develops slowly, as they realise how much they have in common. This is very believable and beautifully done.
As you can probably tell from my review, I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it.
Welcome to Halesmere House, where romance might be just around the corner…
Ella is a successful chef who is looking for a temporary change of pace so she can figure out her next career steps. She’s been living in the past for so many years, it’s time she started living for herself. Luckily, Halesmere House in the Lake District is in need of a manager to kick-start its artists’ residence and Ella can’t wait to start.
There she meets single dad Max, the son of her eccentric new boss. He’s rattled by her presence and is convinced that Ella’s passing involvement in Halesmere will only prove painful to his children, who are already growing attached to the fun and lovely manager.
It isn’t long before Ella realises she’s falling in love with more than Halesmere and its community. But if she stays, is she really choosing a career for herself, or yet again for someone else?
A tender and uplifting Christmas romance for fans of Heidi Swain, Karen Swan and Sue Moorcroft.