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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Secret of Orchard Cottage, The Great Village Show & The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alex Brown

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 Review by Suze

April is a young and sad widow. She misses her former life and her grief works debilitating. When she realizes she hasn't seen her great aunt Edith in a very long time she decides to travel to Tindledale to visit her. April loves the village and has many fond memories of the place. When she arrives at Orchard Cottage she can't find Edith and the house and garden have fallen into a state of neglect. April's aunt isn't able to keep things up any longer, she's getting old and is often confused. She thinks April is her sister Winnie. April soon understands that she can't leave after her short visit. She has to stay with her great aunt for a while, so she can restore order in and around the cottage.

Orchard Cottage is supposed to be a place that will heal its inhabitants. The beautiful surroundings are helping April to deal with her loss. She slowly finds herself again in Tindledale. She makes friends, has fun recreating Edith's favorite recipes and she's busy making arrangements for repairs in and around the house. Matt is a great help and they instantly get along. In return April is there for his daughter when she needs someone the most. Slowly Tindledale and Orchard Cottage are beginning to feel like home, but April isn't there to stay or is she?

The Secret of Orchard Cottage is another uplifting story by Alex Brown. Orchard Cottage is a stunning place and I immediately loved the house. Edith is an endearing old lady and I enjoyed reading about her past and her present. Her sister Winnie is an interesting person and it's a mystery what happened to her after she left home in the war. I couldn't wait to find out more about this brave girl. I liked the combination of the past and the present. Most of the book is about April and her stay in Tindledale and Winnie's story is a beautiful extra.

April is grieving, but she's incredibly strong and capable. She has a great relationship with everyone who comes into her life and I loved the matter-of-fact way she deals with things. She's a kindhearted woman with a difficult past who deserves a lot of happiness. I loved Alex Brown's idea to make the cottage a place to heal and to feel treasured and safe. It's a cheerful and loving place to live. Having tea and eating cake is a very important part of the daily routine. I enjoyed reading about the different cakes and all the food that was made from the fruit in the orchard. Tindledale is a magical and dreamy place to live and it's one of my all time favorite fictional places. I highly recommend this brilliant romantic book.
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Review by Suze
Meg is the head of the Tindledale village school. Her son has left home and even though she misses him dearly she's glad he's doing well. Fortunately there's plenty for her to fill her days with. She plays a large part in the organization of the Village Show and wants it to be a success. Meg needs people to see how great Tindledale is and how wonderful it is to live there, because they have to bring their children to fill up her school. There are rumors of a favorite chef opening a restaurant in the village. His name is Dan and Meg's first encounter with him isn't pleasant. Tindledale could use his help and expertise though.
While organizing the show Meg makes a new friend. She instantly likes Jessie who is a glamorous looking lady with a rich husband. They're living in a beautiful house and they have three adorable children. It might seem like she has it all, but appearances can be deceiving sometimes. While Meg is trying to juggle promoting her school, working on the show and helping her new friend there isn't much room for distractions. Only when Dan is involved Meg doesn't react the way she usually would...
Tindledale is such an enchanting village. Alexandra Brown's descriptions of the food and drinks are fantastic. They made my mouth water. The main characters often eat and drink together and I loved how cozy that makes the story. Meg is a wonderful woman. She's still young, but her son is already grown up. She needs to find new ways to spend her time and I loved how she throws herself into village life to make things better. Dan is a creative person and he is quite hot-tempered. He's a kind guy underneath though and it was fun to see both sides of his personality. Meg isn't someone who lets people walk over her, which results in some great dynamic scenes. Their chemistry is fabulous.
Alexandra Brown's writing makes you enter a different world. Tindledale is a village filled with people who care, which is exactly what Jessie needs. I loved the easy friendship and the support that everyone in the village is more than willing to give. It warmed my heart. It's such a good message and it makes the story cheerful and charming. I really like Tindledale and I'm a big fan of Alexandra Brown's stories about this special place.
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Review by Suze
Several months after being left at the altar for someone very close to her Sybil is still heartbroken. Knitting used to be such a joy, but now it's also a distraction and a way to cope. Sybil loves to knit, no matter how small or large the project, she's enjoying each minute and every stitch. She knows what she's doing and she manages to create the most beautiful things.
When something horrible might have happened at work Sybil decides not to wait for the outcome and postpones facing the consequences. Instead she takes the train to Tindledale to stay with her best friend. As soon as she arrives there she's entering a different world. Tindledale is the opposite of what she's used to in London. She loves the beautiful village and the people with their kind hearts. Tindledale also has Sybil's dream shop, Hettie's House of Haberdashery. Soon Sybil and Hetty are friends and they don't only start to knit together, they're also helping each other out. Will staying in Tindledale eventually heal Sybil's heart?

The Great Christmas Knit Off is a warm Christmas story, which is exactly the way I like it. Alexandra Brown has written a marvellous novel about the friendship between two women who are far apart in age, but very close in spirit. I can't describe how much I loved this story. It has everything a Christmas novel needs; snow, warm handmade Christmas jumpers, delicious food, great company and a magical festive atmosphere.
I love Alexandra Brown's vivid writing and wish I could pack my bags to go to Tindledale straight away. The village sounds like a place from a fairytale. The inhabitants are eccentric and fabulous, they're friendly and they're looking out for each other. All of these things are the exact right ingredients for a very successful Christmas novel and the Great Christmas Knit Off is one of my all-time favorites.  


  1. I'm going to look for Alexandra Brown's books from now on. I think my sister would enjoy these as well!

  2. It sounds like the villages are also another character in these stories. I love that.