Friday, October 21, 2016

Book Review & Interview - The Cosy Christmas Teashop by Caroline Roberts

Book review

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Review by Suze

Ellie's Teashop in the Castle is a big success. She's glad she took the chance five years ago and set it up. Now she has a flourishing business and a wonderful husband. Ellie's is a lot more experienced and she has the confidence to try new things. She's even started planning weddings and enjoys it immensely. Except maybe when she's dealing with bridezilla. Will Ellie be able to make this horrible bride's wishes come true?
 
Ellie and Joe were perfectly happy, but a setback has disrupted their daily routine. While Christmas is near they aren't automatically happy, they need to find their joy back again. There are many surprises in life, some are bad, but there are also good ones. Will their Christmas be cold and lonely or will it be warm and merry celebrated with a lot of amazing people?
 
Ellie is a strong and capable person. She's a talented baker and when she's in her teashop there's always a welcoming atmosphere. I love Ellie's character, she's as sweet as the cakes and deserts she can make so well. Joe is a gentle and attentive man. He's always there for Ellie and he's easy to like. It was so much fun to read about these wonderful people again and I'm glad there's a second novel about Ellie's Teashop in the Castle.
 
The Cosy Christmas Teashop is a heartwarming story. I loved the festive atmosphere and the book has such a special and upbeat ending. It put a big smile on my face. Caroline Roberts writes about the highs and lows of life in a great matter-of-fact way. Sometimes I had tears in my eyes when I was reading her sad scenes. She writes them with empathy and honesty. The impact of the continuously present contrast between grief and happiness makes the ending even more cheerful and fabulous, which is something I liked a lot.
 
Catherine Roberts is very good at writing about food. Her vivid descriptions of Ellie's cooking made my mouth water. I loved the way she uses food not only as something that's delicious, but also as a way to express emotions. There's comfort food, food that's for relaxed nights on the sofa, food for when someone's tired, food to give someone strength, food to make someone smile, etcetera and all of the matches are spot-on. At the end of the story there's a fantastic masterpiece, which is incredibly creative and entertaining. I really enjoyed reading this cute and tasty book, The Cosy Christmas Teashop is a delicious festive story.

Interview

1) Could you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Hello Suze, thanks for having me here!
 

I live in a small village in the beautiful Northumberland countryside with my husband, and I have two children. As I walk my dog in the moorland hills, or along a sandy, often wind-swept, beach I can just imagine the storylines for my novels unfolding. It’s often like a movie in my head, and I have to whizz back home to jot it all down. I enjoy writing about relationships; stories of love, sometimes loss, friends and family. A slice of cake, glass of bubbly, and a cup of tea, would make my day – preferably served with friends!

2) Your books about the Cosy Teashop are set in a castle, what’s your inspiration behind this wonderful place?

There’s an amazing castle called Chillingham near to my home. It’s a beautiful, old stone castle set in the most gorgeous countryside. My friend, Julie, ran the castle tea rooms there for seven years, so I know it well and even went “undercover” as a waitress there for a day whilst writing the book, to really get a feel of what that would be like for Ellie.

3) The Cosy Christmas Teashop is about a winter wedding. What’s so special about Christmas weddings?

There’s something magical about a Winter/Christmas wedding. I imagined Claverham Castle would look so scenic, like a winter wonderland, especially when the snows fell. Inside, I could picture the Great Hall would be fabulous and cosy all set for a winter wedding with holly, ivy, white roses, candles, tinsel and baubles.

I’ve actually just been to a wedding fayre today, as my daughter is getting married next year! So I’ve been picking up loads of ideas over the past few months, which really helped when writing all the wedding scenes in The Cosy Christmas Teashop.
 

4) Which Christmas cake and/or dish do you like best?

My festive treat is a buttery-crumbly mince pie with a dollop of Cornish clotted cream on top. Very nice with a glass of sherry or mulled wine!

5) What does a regular writing day look like for you?

I work part-time helping to run our Northumberland holiday park too. When I have a clear day, I’ll try to start writing by 9am. I’ll do a couple of hours either writing longhand (my first drafts) or on the laptop, then I’ll have a look at my twitter and Facebook author pages and do a couple of jobs in the house just to clear my head, then get back to the writing until lunchtime. In the afternoon, I’ll write for another couple of hours, and then go out and walk the dog at some point (that’s really good for mulling on ideas). But some days I’m just snatching an hour or so where I can, or writing for a half hour early morning before work. It varies, and depends how near I am to deadline!

6) What brings you in the Christmas spirit when you’re writing about this special holiday?

I was writing The Cosy Christmas Teashop in the middle of summer! It helped having a look at some of my Christmas photos from years past and festive images online. I also did some research on Christmas wedding flowers, and was humming Christmas carols and songs to myself.

7) What’s your best Christmas memory?

That excitement as a child, getting up in the morning to find the stockings (which were in fact pillow cases in our house) filled, and that sense of Christmas magic. I also love a real Christmas tree, so pretty and twinkly when all lit up, and that smell of real pine.
 

8) What’s your favorite Christmas tradition?

Christmas Stockings – I still have them for my grown-up children even now!

And on the day, a glass of champagne at ten am with croissants, or chocolate if you fancy, anything goes, it’s Christmas! For me, Christmas is all about family and friends and having a lovely, sociable time with some gorgeous food and drink.

9) Can you sum up Ellie and Joe’s characters in six words each?

Ellie: warm, friendly, brave, creative, kind, inspirational.

Joe: caring, funny, sexy, ambitious, strong, sensitive.

10) You like to write about how beautiful love can be. What's the most romantic thing that ever happened to you?

When we were engaged, my husband and I were 450 miles apart for three years as I was Durham University and he was working long hours, six days a week, down in Dorset in the South of England. One day, he drove 450 miles each way on his day off just to see me. That was pretty romantic.

11) You believe in following your dreams. What's your next big dream to pursue?

Ellie’s tenacity and determination to achieve her dreams was a strong theme in the first book. That perseverance to follow your dreams and be true to yourself, continues in The Cosy Christmas Teashop. It also reflects what has happened in my own life with my dreams of becoming a published author. I wanted to be a writer from a young age, but it took me many years and a bit of a rollercoaster ride to get there. I’m so glad I kept going!

Next, is to keep writing the best books I can and to have readers really enjoy my novels. I’m hoping to have two more books published in 2017, I’m just waiting for confirmation on a new book deal! So watch this space.

And of course, I’m so lucky to have a lovely life already, so my dream is for my family to stay happy and healthy!

12) What are your plans for the near future?

I’m busy writing a further “Cosy” style book. And, I have already written what will be hopefully my next novel; a poignant and beautiful love story set on stunning Bamburgh beach in Northumberland.

Thank you, Suze!

And, if you’d like to find out more about Caroline, visit her on Twitter, Facebook and her blog – she’d love to hear from you!

About Caroline Roberts


I love writing heartwarming, emotional women's fiction - stories that explore our relationships, love, loss, betrayal and more... I live in beautiful rural Northumberland with my family and I enjoy taking long beach walks with my dog, Meg. Friends, family, cava, laughter, and tasty food, make for my ideal night in or out!

Find out more at


Blurb

From sleigh bells to wedding bells . . .

After a rocky start, Ellie Hall baked her way into everyone’s hearts at Claverham Castle – even the miserly Lord Henry was won over – and the run-down teashop regained its old sparkle.

Now Ellie has upgraded cupcakes for fairytale masterpieces as the proud caterer for an ever-growing list of weddings at the castle. The teashop team love baking to the tune of happy ever afters, but can they pull together when a certain bridezilla pushes them all to boiling point?

Christmas is just around the corner, and a last minute booking threatens to snow the team under. Ellie and her hunky hubby Joe have their own Christmas dreams to chase, but they’re determined to pull through and give this special couple the winter wonderland wedding they deserve.

Will Christmas at the Cosy Teashop be a showstopper to remember?
 
Tour schedule

11 comments:

  1. Sounds like a heartwarming story. I love it when an author says she's busy with writing another book.

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  2. I love the photo of you and your dog. Your book sounds really good and the cover is beautiful.

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  3. Thanks for having me here Anniek and Suze!
    And thanks for the lovely comments on the post so far Irma and Sue x

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  4. This sounds like a very descriptive and emotional book. Thank you for the review!

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  5. What a fantastic review. I know this will be one of my Christmas reads. Fabulous cover.

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  6. What a fantastic review. I know this will be one of my Christmas reads. Fabulous cover.

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  7. Oh, Northumberland's such a spectacular part of the world. A bit like the west of Ireland!

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  8. Descriptive food writing always appeals to me!

    --Trix

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  9. Well, that's exciting to know that Caroline Roberts has 2 books planned for 2017. Cool!

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  10. I really want to visit the Teashop in the Castle.

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  11. It sounds like a very sweet story.

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