Title: Christmas Secrets by the Sea
Author: Jane Lovering
Prelude Books (an imprint of Farrago
Publication Date: 13 December 2018
Genre: Romantic comedy
About Christmas Secrets by the Sea
Sometimes you don’t get the Christmas presents you imagined…
Tansy Merriweather is down on her luck. She’s lost her business and her relationship, and instead of a glamorous London apartment, her home is now a campervan on a Dorset beach. And as if things couldn’t get any worse, a scruffy dog called Brian with a taste for sardines has adopted her as his owner.
When Tansy’s new-found friends at the cafe in the bay help her find a job as a location scout for a new TV show, things start looking up. However, she soon discovers that the show’s glamorous star, Davin O’Riordan, is as grouchy as he is handsome – and just as Brian starts forging a touching romance with Davin’s elegant whippet Seelie, Tansy begins to wonder exactly what Davin’s fans see in him.
As Christmas approaches, Tansy and Davin discover each other’s secrets, and a new bond begins to grow between them. But how will they cope with the storms headed their way – and can they save the cafe from closing?
In Christmas Secrets by the Sea we meet Tansy Merriweather. Tansy is living in a fairly rickety old campervan on the Dorset coast, in the small village of Steepleton. She has had a tough time over the past 12 months and is taking some quiet time to decide where life is going to take her next.
Penniless, foodless and homeless (and finding herself unwittingly adopted by a shockingly ugly stray dog), Tansy finds herself heading into the community café, a move which puts her life on a course that she hadn’t expected. Tansy finds herself employed by an old friend and tasked with driving around the Dorset coast to find potential shoot locations for a TV show. It’s a bit of money in her pocket and a car to drive. However, Tansy quickly finds herself caught up in the dramas and antics on the film set, including babysitting a temperamental actors and a teenage boy! As Christmas approaches, the bad weather sets in, producing a great atmospheric setting for the end of the story.
The story plods along at a relaxed pace for the first half of the book, whilst the story gradually unfolds, allowing the reader to learn more about the character’s backgrounds and secrets. Once those secrets are known, the story picks up pace, resulting in a captivating tale.
The book has some great characters, including the main protagonists, likeable Tansy and obnoxious but gorgeous TV star Davin. The supporting characters, including café worker and single mum Karen and her teenage son Rory, actress Larch, director Keenan and sound engineer Neil, are all well-written, real and very likeable. The book certainly reminds you that people are usually not what they seem. The real stars of the show, however, are the dogs – sleek and chic Seelie and scruffy mutt Brian – who add a lovely element of humour into the story.
Whilst the book could be classified as a humorous romance, the ‘romance’ element is fairly subtle. The tale is more about the developing friendship between Tansy and Davin than about lust or sex. It is refreshing to read a romance that is not too romantic (if that makes any sense?!). The element of humour within the story help prevents it from becoming too sickly sweet. One thing I did particularly like, is that upon disclosing Davin’s big secret/failing, there is no attempt to change him or ‘improve’ him as a character. The author accepts the character for who he is and does not try to perfect him. There is something particularly appealing about a flawed hero.
Christmas Secrets by the Sea is a whimsical and entertaining tale, full of both humour and emotion. It is certainly a story that will tug at the heartstrings. It is not an overtly Christmas-y novel (despite the title), yet it still makes for a great festive read.
About the Author
|Photograph credit: Vienna Johnson
Jane Lovering was, presumably, born, although everyone concerned denies all knowledge. However there is evidence that her early years were spent in Devon (she can still talk like a pirate under the right conditions) and of her subsequent removal to Yorkshire under a sack and sedation.
She now lives in North Yorkshire, where she writes romantic comedies, one or two of which have won awards. Owing to a terrible outbreak of insanity she is now the minder of three cats and two terriers, one of which is a Patterdale and therefore as insane as Jane. Though smaller, and cuter, obviously.
Jane’s likes include marshmallows, the smell of cucumbers and the understairs cupboard, words beginning with B, and Doctor Who. She writes with her laptop balanced on her knees whilst lying on her bed, and her children were brought up to believe that real food has a high carbon content. And a kind of amorphous shape. Not unlike Jane herself, come to think of it.
She had some hobbies once, but she can’t remember what they were. Ask her to show you how many marshmallows she can fit in her mouth at once, though, that might give you a clue.
Jane Lovering, who won the RoNA Rose (Love Story of the Year) Award 2017 and is shortlisted for the RoNA Romantic Comedy Award 2018
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