Friday, February 17, 2017

With Love For Romantic Books - Home for Winter and Christmas at the Vicarage by Rebecca Boxall - Book Reviews, Interview & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

Rosamunde grew up in a vicarage. Bernie, her father, is the vicar of Potter's Cove. Rosamunde left her friends and family behind because of a broken heart and after fifteen years it's time to finally come home. It's close to Christmas and Rosamunde is at the heart of the village's preparations. Seeing her father and friends again brings back a lot of old memories, both happy and sad. Is Rosamunde strong enough to live with them this time and is there a future for her in the village that makes so many things she'd rather not think about come to the surface? Will her Christmas be a good one?

Christmas at the Vicarage is a beautiful story. It can be read as a holiday novel, but as a large part of the story is about everything Rosamunde went through before she came back at Potter's Cove, the book can easily be read as a general novel as well. Part of the story is set in the present, it starts in November and covers Rosamunde's return to Potter's Cove. The other part is a recollection of her turbulent past. I loved the combination of the two. Rosamunde is an interesting main character. She feels deeply and loves with all her heart. She's kind, caring and honest and she's very smart. Rebecca Boxall makes her come to life incredibly well by thoroughly describing her character traits and making her story both moving and intriguing at the same time.

Christmas at the Vicarage has a fantastic setting. Potter's Cove is a wonderful village and the vicarage is at the center of it. It's active and it's a place filled with charm and warmth. It's welcoming and homely, which is a great basis for a romantic story. There's sadness in Rosamunde's life, but there's also much positivity. She's a fighter and even though she went through a lot she's still hopeful about the future. I shed quite a few tears while I was reading this moving story, but there were also plenty of moments that made me smile. I love it when I feel so many different things when I'm reading a story.

Rebecca Boxall is a skilled narrator. She combines the exact right atmosphere with a fast-paced and fascinating story. The main characters have distinct personalities that are being described with a lovely sense of humor. It's obvious that Rebecca Boxall really likes them and that made the story both charming and extra special for me. The ending is fitting and endearing, which made the fabulous experience complete. I highly recommend Christmas at the Vicarage, it's an amazing book.

Advice

Christmas at the Vicarage is a terrific compelling story, it's perfect for readers who love romantic stories with an interesting heroine set in a small town.
 
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Review by Tanya

Serena and Will are partners, they are happy together even though as a couple they have experienced tough times. They moved from London to Cattlebridge, so Will can take on the role as the vicar in the small village in East Sussex. The idea is that this will be a fresh start for them. Serena has an identical twin sister, Luna. Serena and Luna, however, are extremely different. Serena is gentle and thoughtful and Luna is a leader and forthright and sets out to get exactly what she wants. As Serena and Will settle into village life they befriend Ashna, Pete, Alice and Max, who soon become an important part of their lives. The role of a new vicar in the village is hard as there is a lot to live up to and things do not always run smoothly. Will Serena and Will eventually have the nice and peaceful time in Cattlebridge that they deserve so much?

Home for Winter is a wonderful story. I immediately warmed to the characters of Serena and Will as they are caring and gentle people who always think of others. I suppose that is the role of a vicar, but alongside this Will is a lighthearted man who is able to enjoy life. I really enjoyed one particular scene with a piano and having slightly too many drinks, which made me laugh out loud. The close friends that the couple makes with Ashna, Pete, Max and Alice give another dimension to the book, which makes me think of the many types of relationships that there are and how people can overcome difficulties in their lives. It was great to see how their stories are resolved and I kept hoping they'd all be on the right path by the end of the book.

Home for Winter is told in alternate chapters of current life in the village and the past life of Serena and Luna. Rebecca Boxall describes the events that lead to why Serena refuses to get married in a detailed and captivating way. Plenty of heartbreak in the past is underlying her current thoughts and feelings. It gripped me as I wanted to find out what was happening and what all of the effects of past events would be. I didn’t expect the story to take the route that it did, which kept me eager for the next page.

Rebecca Boxall's descriptions of the house and the village are fabulous and I could easily imagine the vicarage with its numerous rooms, including the questionable nursery with its possible ghost. The characters in the village are colourful and interesting. I could understand some of them very well while I'd stay away from others and I was curious to find out how the main characters would respond to their behaviour. Home for Winter will have you gripped from page one, as the characters come to life straight away. It is a great winter story set in an interesting small town and I enjoyed it very much.

Advice

If you like stories set in small towns Home for Winter is an excellent choice.
 
About Rebecca Boxall

 
I was born in East Sussex in 1977 and grew up in a Vicarage as part of a large, spirited family including my late father, who was a very eccentric vicar (Rev John Lambourne). I now live by the sea in Jersey with my husband, two children - Ruby and Iris - and two cats. I studied English at Warwick University many years ago, later training as a lawyer, and completed a creative writing course with The Writer's Bureau. I loved writing Christmas at the Vicarage and I'm so excited about the recent release of my second book, Home for Winter.

Potter's Cove, the fictional village in Christmas at the Vicarage, is based on a seaside village in South Devon called Hope Cove where I enjoyed family holidays as a child. The sea and all things nautical hold a great appeal to me, as they do for many.

My favourite things to do are walking on the cliffs, mucking about in the sea with my family and, come December, getting festive and cosy!
 
There are a lot of gritty books out there at the moment but my novels - Christmas at the Vicarage and Home for Winter are (I hope) the complete opposite. Imagine you're curled up by a roaring log fire on a winter's night, with cosy slippers on your feet and a glass of red wine in your hand, a cat purring away beside you and perhaps a few Christmas carols playing gently in the background... That's the kind of feeling I want you to get from reading my books. Sit back, relax, enjoy...

Like all writers, I'm always keen to receive feedback so if you've read my books and would like to tell me what you thought of them please do leave a message in the Guestbook area of this website or, even better, a review on Amazon. Thank you!

Links
 
For more information please like Rebecca's Facebook page - www.facebook.com/christmasatthevicarage or go to her website - www.rebeccaboxall.co.uk.

You can also find her on:


Interview

1) We'd love to know three interesting facts about you

· I grew up in a vicarage and everyone always imagines it must have been really boring but it honestly wasn’t. My father was a really eccentric vicar and he and my mum always filled the house with fun, interesting people. Perfect material for my novels, which are both set in a vicarage.

· Writing for me was always a hobby until I was lucky enough to be approached by a publisher who’d come across the self-published version of Christmas at the Vicarage on Amazon. I still can’t believe writing is my job.

· Walking on the cliffs always gets my ideas flowing – if I’m stuck I head out into the fresh air and immediately my mind starts to whirr again. 
 
2) What's the best thing about winter stories?

I love getting into the mood of Christmas and winter by reading cosy seasonal stories. It’s so nice to pull the curtains on the dark, cold evenings and snuggle up by the fire with a book for a while.

3) In Home for Winter You write about twin sisters with a complicated relationship, what
inspired you to choose these main characters?


Twins have always fascinated me – particularly identical ones. I have twin nieces and the sisters in Home for Winter aren’t based on them (certainly not Luna!) but I’ve always wondered what it must be like. To be identical looking, yet have different characters, and to find yourself constantly faced with people – even relations – who can’t tell you apart.

 4) What's the most romantic thing you can think of?

Being brought a cup of tea first thing in the morning - or any time of day for that matter!

 5) What do you like most about romantic books?

I like their warmth and the escapist element to them.

6) Where do you read and where do you write?

I read anywhere and everywhere but it’s not so easy when my kids are about as they’re quite young! I mainly read just before I go to sleep… I can write more or less anywhere – even in the sitting room while my husband has a loud boxing match on the TV – though I do need peace for editing.

7) If you could have one magical winter day doing exactly what you love, costs all covered, what would you do? 

I think I’d spend my magical winter day with my family lazing by a roaring fire in a luxurious log cabin at a Canadian ski resort, with fabulous food and drink on tap and with my cats in attendance too! A day wouldn’t be long enough though…

8) What's your favourite season and why and does this influence your writing?

 I love every season – especially the start of each one – but winter is the season that inspires my writing and I’m a huge fan of Christmas. I get totally over-excited. January is always a great time to write, too, as there’s nothing else going on.

9) Which 3 key ingredients should any winter story have?

· Cosiness – log fires, twinkling Christmas trees, mulled wine, festive parties and – of course – snow!

· Family – if there’s family, there’s drama.

· Romance – there’s no better season for a love story. 
 
10) What are your plans for the future?

I’m working on my third book at the moment, a story about love, grudges and betrayal set in December 1941 - the second Christmas the island of Jersey was occupied by the Germans during the Second World War. It’s such a fascinating subject and I’m really enjoying learning so much as I’m writing.
 
Giveaway

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One very lucky reader of With Love For Books will win signed copies of Christmas at the Vicarage and Home for Winter by Rebecca Boxall.
 
 
The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. Please add withloveforbooks@gmail.com to your list of approved email addresses. All of our giveaways are international.
 

32 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed the post & interview. I love stories based in small towns or villages. They just have a coziness to them and I look forward to reading Rebecca's two books.
    Carol L
    Lucky4750 (at) aol (dot) com

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  2. The book reviews sound intriguing. Thanks for sharing. Love the covers and interview too.

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  3. What a wonderful book! Lovely cover too. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. I have read both of these, they were most enjoyable, even loved the way they go back and forth I kept up with it entirely. I cannot wait for you to write some more, I will most certainly read

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    1. I totally agree with you, I can't wait to read Rebecca's next book.

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  5. Thanks for the review and giveaway!

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  6. My mum reads a lot, would love to win these books for her

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  7. These sound like a great read for my wife.

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  8. Wow, this sounds lovely, really do like Christmas-themed novels. :) Love the cover too.

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  9. I think this sounds so good and would love to read and review on goodreads and amazon. ptclayton2@aol.com

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  10. Thanks for the review and giveaway . These books sound great .

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  11. I don't read many book with winter as a theme as I hate winter lol I'd like to read these books though since the settings aren't totally out in the winter :)

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  12. I love books with a winter/Christmas theme. I really like the covers and both books sound great.

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  13. Hello Rebecca, your books sound lovely. I'm looking forward to reading them.

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  14. I love both of these book covers, they are really beautiful. The excerpts are lovely & I am looking forward to reading both of these books! Thank you for the reviews :)

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  15. I enjoyed the interview, thank you.

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  16. I would love to read these books. Thanks for the chance and loved the interview too.

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  17. The covers are gorgeous!

    mia2009(at)comcast(dot)net

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  18. I love those 3 key ingredients :) And I'd love to read your books. The covers are so beautiful.

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  19. Oh I love the seasonal stories too! They always get me in the mood for the holidays and seasons! I love the ones around Christmas and winter! I cannot wait to read both of these!

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  20. would love to read these

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  21. Looks a great read, thanks! (@PeanutHog)

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  22. would love to read these,thanks for the giveaway :)

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  23. Could do with a good read for my hols

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  24. I could do with some good reads, thanks for the chance to win these x

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  25. Pauline BurroughsMarch 3, 2017 at 9:41 AM

    The review sounds great, would love to read this

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  26. These sound like lovely books. I adore the covers!

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