Book Review: Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross

Book editor Eve reluctantly spends Christmas at a grumpy author’s house in Kate Forster’s new festive novel.

The front cover of 'Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross' next to a selection of winter woollens, a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows and some natural Christmas decorations

A beautiful house, a moody author with a host of family problems and a Christmas-mad editor all combine to make a fantastic festive read in Kate Forster’s new novel, Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross.

Eve Pilkins is ordered by her boss to spend Christmas editing her client’s new novel, even if that means missing out on her family’s big celebrations. Edward Priest is a highly successful author but his latest books have been a bit lacklustre, and Eve is horrified to find out that he hasn’t got anything for her to edit. Rather than risking the wrath of her boss, she puts Edward through a Christmas writing boot camp as he rattles out a new novel over the festive break.

(OK, we’ll ignore the improbability of anyone being able to write that many words in such a short period of time)

Edward is gorgeous, brooding and artistic so of course Eve falls in love with him, but she battles against her emotions in an attempt to meet her professional obligations. Along the way she meets Flora, Edward’s sparky 7 year old daughter, and Hilditch, the grumpy but devoted housekeeper. She also has a nerve wracking late night encounter with someone in the shadowy attic.

OK, I know what you’re thinking – younger employee, older divorced house owner, someone lurking in the attic. Yes, I was worried that it might be a Jane Eyre scenario but Kate Forster not only avoids this, she actually jokes about it.

Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross is a fun read that tiptoes around the edges of a Christmas celebration without making it the full focus of the storyline. Now, I absolutely love Christmas novels that throw me headfirst into glitter and baubles, but this is a more subtle Christmas read. And even the romance isn’t over the top.

It’s a story about a young woman who finds a new purpose and confidence, thanks to the very unusual festive circumstances that she finds herself in. And as such, I really enjoyed this book.

Eve is bright and fun, and isn’t afraid to speak her mind or walk away when she feels she needs to. She might be one of my favourite Christmas novel characters in recent years and I hope that Kate Forster considers letting us explore Eve’s world again in future books. I also really loved Flora, who was such a fun character, full of energy.

The front cover of 'Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross' next to a selection of winter woollens, a mug of hot chocolate with marshmallows and some natural Christmas decorations

So if you’re looking for a Christmas read that is full of intrigue and romance, then Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross could be the book that you’re looking for.

The blurb:

No one loves Christmas more than editorial assistant Eve Pilkins.

But when her boss hits her with a huge deadline on Christmas Day, it looks like Eve’s favourite time of the year might be cancelled. Armed with as much enthusiasm as she can muster, she travels to the coldest part of England, tasked with ensuring brooding author Edward Priest finishes his latest novel on time.

The festive spirit at Cranberry Cross is as dark as the house itself; without a fairy light in sight, it looks like only a Christmas miracle can save this one. Will Eve be up to the task?

A festive read that’s packed full of intrigue and mystery – 8/10

Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross is available now in Kindle format and paperback.

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