A time for spilling secrets…
Having refurbished her inherited house and upcycled her whole life in the process, Freya – now happily married to Patrick, and with a small child – has to transform her tiny stone barn into a romantic hideaway for a mystery guest who is also looking for change. With Christmas only a week away, things don’t go according to plan…
In the past, old uncertainties are resolved when a woman seeks the truth of a legend on Christmas Eve and confesses to a deception; a Tudor wife listens to a story that must never be repeated and is given a precious relic that must never be displayed; and in the early nineteenth century, an old woman tells a younger one the story of the hares at Ladywell.
Past and present are only a whisper apart when Freya learns of an astonishing discovery that will make Ladywell famous, but meanwhile her house is full of unexpected visitors, she has a turkey to cook – and a very special secret of her own that must be told.
When I sat down to read Christmas At Ladywell I was in need of an enjoyable, cosy historical mystery and that is exactly what the author gave me.
We have two storylines, one starting in the Tudor period and going on through history and the other in the present, where Freya is settling into her new home and doing up a small barn, in which a mystery guest will be seeking a romantic get away.
What I liked was that this story was very much about strong women, who pass a legend and an important artefact connected to Ladywell through history. It joins them and Freya together, even if she is not aware of the rich tapestry she and the house are a part of.
I also enjoyed that in Christmas At Ladywell we are allowed to enjoy a cosy read in a small and intimate community. Everyone within the story is likeable and its nice to be able to indulge in that for me and it’s what made the few hours it took to reading enjoyable. I just loved Freya, her friends and how she embraces the character and richness of the house she is living in, it felt Christmassy and family oriented and I can’t remember when a book last made me feel so at ease.
The excitement came from when Freya learns of a discovery that connects the house and her to a past full of myths and superstition. We also get to see her start to make a connection to that when she can sense aroma’s from the past in the present, like the ghosts of these women are trying to reach out to her. It is light hearted in many ways, but also there is the suggestion of drama permeating its way into the present from the past, giving the story a riddle that needs to be solved.
I would have liked to see more of the story of why the past and present seemed to be set to collide, but I assume that will come in another instalment.
It was an enjoyable read.
You can purchase Christmas At Ladywell from Amazon
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About the author
Nicola Slade is an award-winning, bestselling author of historical and contemporary mysteries and romantic fiction, all set in and around Winchester and Romsey in Hampshire – which is where she lives. The House at Ladywell – a contemporary romantic novel with historical echoes – won the Chatelaine Grand Prize for Romantic Fiction at the CIBA awards in April 2019.
She is the author of the mid-Victorian Charlotte Richmond mysteries and the contemporary Harriet Quigley mysteries and The Convalescent Corpse, published November 2018, is the first in a new series, The Fyttleton Mysteries, set in 1918.
* I would like to thank the author and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.