It’s been a tough time for my family recently and I found that books were, as usual, a good way to escape from reality for a while. I really needed a dose of feel-good, heart-warming fiction and this latest in the Hartsford Mysteries by Kirsty Ferry really delivered. It is also, officially, my first Christmas book of the year!
I read Watch for Me by Candlelight earlier this year (you can read my review here) and loved the setting of Hartsford Hall. It was lovely to meet up with some familiar characters from the previous book and find out how they were getting on. As with the previous book I read, this story takes place in the past and the present. In Christmas Present, Tom comes to stay with his sister Kate who runs the local history museum. Emmy is a last minute stand-in providing the mulled wine stall at the village Frost Fayre. There is an immediate attraction between them which seems to be more of a case of recognising each other but how, when they have never met? In Christmas Past, the romance is between Charles and Millie and again, we meet up with characters from the previous books in the series.
The Frost Fayre being organised for the village of Hartsford sounded magical, a lovely way to bring a village together. And when the snow started to fall and it became clear that the village was being cut off, well I couldn’t think of a more perfect sounding place to be stuck for a few days.
I really enjoyed both strands of the story and love the way Kirsty Ferry blurs the past into the present and vice versa. Characters from one time-frame get a tantalising glimpse of the other and then the reader moves smoothly into that time frame. It was such a romantic story, with the idea that soul mates find each other time and again and that we are drawn back to significant places and people. This novella intertwines past and present with snowy weather, a festive atmosphere and romance – a perfect short read as we head towards ‘the most wonderful time of the year’!
My thanks to Liz at ChocLit for my copy of this book. It is available now as an e-book and is currently only 99p for the Kindle version. You can order a copy online here: Watch for Me at Christmas
From the back of the book
When midwinter magic brings you home for Christmas …
When Emmy Berry arrives at Hartsford Hall to work at the Frost Fayre she immediately feels at home. Which is odd because she’s never set foot in the place in her life. Then a freak blizzard leaves her stranded and things get even weirder when she bumps into Tom Howard. Tom and Emmy have never met before but neither can ignore the sense that they know each other.
With Christmas fast approaching and the weather showing no sign of improving it soon becomes apparent that Hartsford Hall has a little bit of midwinter magic in store for them both …
About the author
Kirsty is from the North East of England and won the English Heritage/Belsay Hall National Creative Writing competition in 2009 with the ghostly tale ‘Enchantment’.
Her timeslip novel, ‘Some Veil Did Fall’, a paranormal romance set in Whitby, was published by Choc Lit in Autumn 2014. This was followed by another Choc Lit timeslip, ‘The Girl in the Painting’ in February 2016. ‘The Girl in the Photograph’, published in March 2017, completes the Rossetti Mysteries series. The experience of signing ‘Some Veil Did Fall’ in a quirky bookshop in the midst of Goth Weekend in Whitby, dressed as a recently undead person was one of the highlights of her writing career so far!
Kirsty’s first timeslip novel ‘The Memory of Snow’, commended in the Northern Writers’ Awards, is set on Hadrian’s Wall, with the vampire tale ‘Refuge’ set on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. She has also put together a collection of short stories, a non-fiction collection of articles and writes Gothic Fiction under the pen name Cathryn Ramsay.
Kirsty has had articles and short stories published in Your Cat, Peoples Friend, Ghost Voices, The Weekly News and It’s Fate, and her short stories appear in several anthologies. She was a judge in the Paws ‘n’ Claws ‘Wild and Free’ Children’s Story competition in 2011, 2013 and 2014, and graduated from Northumbria University in December 2016, having achieved a Masters with Distinction in Creative Writing.
You can find out more about Kirsty and her work at http://www.rosethornpress.co.uk, catch her on her Facebook AuthorPage, follow her on Twitter @kirsty_ferry or pop by her blog at http://www.rosethornramblings.wordpress.com.