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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Stella's Christmas Wish by Kate Blackadder - Book Review & Guest Post

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Review by Suze

Six days before Christmas Stella receives an urgent phone call. Alice, her grandmother, fell and hit her head. Stella rushes from London to her hometown Melrose in Scotland to be with her granny. While trying to spend as much time with her beloved grandmother in the hospital as she can Stella can't help being confronted with her past. There are things she'd rather forget, but those memories are strong. She's being forced to spend time with the last person she wants to see, her ex boyfriend Ross. She left him behind when she moved to London. Will their meetings be as painful as she fears?

Alice loves to take care of others. There's always someone who needs a roof over their head living in her home and Alice's generosity knows no bounds. Who will look after Alice's most recent guest? Stella's sister isn't in Scotland, she suddenly went abroad. Why did she go and what doesn't Stella know about her own family? Will she be able to unravel the family secrets even though she can't ask her grandmother? And will Alice be all right? Stella's plans for Christmas won't become reality this time, will the magic of Christmas pass her by this year?

Stella's Christmas Wish is a heartwarming Christmas story about family, true love and friendship. Stella is responsible, capable and practical. She's incredibly sweet and caring as well. She carries the weight of the world on her shoulders and doesn't know how to lift the burden. My heart ached for her as it's clear from the start something has made her very sad, but she's strong and will keep going no matter what, which is an admirable character trait. I love a good story about secrets and Kate Blackadder kept me on the edge of my seat. I read Stella's story in one sitting because I couldn't wait to find out what they were.

Kate Blackadder's writing has a lovely flow. Her vivid descriptions of Melrose made the town come to life really well. It was easy to picture Stella's friends and family. I love stories about close communities and Stella grew up among wonderful people. I enjoyed reading about every single one of them. Stella's Christmas Wish is a charming and sparkling Christmas story with a terrific moving and fabulously romantic ending.


If you love a good Christmas story and like reading books about secrets Stella's Christmas Wish would be a perfect choice.

About Kate Blackadder

Hello - my name is Kate Blackadder and I’m an author and avid reader.

I’m delighted to say that my first full-length novel, Stella’s Christmas Wish, is published by Black and White Publishing in November 2016. It’s set in the beautiful Scottish Borders and in Edinburgh.

I have had over fifty short stories published in magazines including Woman’s Weekly, The People’s Friend, The Weekly News and Writers' Forum, and Woman's Day and Fast Fiction in Australia. In 2008 I won the Muriel Spark Short Story Prize, judged by Maggie O'Farrell. Other stories have been in New Writing Scotland and long/short-listed for competitions such as the Jane Austen Short Story Award and the Scotsman/Orange Short Story Prize.

Two of my magazine serials are now available on Kindle (and in large-print library editions) – The Family at Farrshore and The Ferryboat. A third serial, A Time to Reap, set in a Highland farming community in 1963 will be out in large-print and Kindle in 2017.

A collection of stories previously published in magazines, Three's a Crowd and other family stories, is available in Kindle and in paperback. The paperback is also available from and other e-tailers.

I am delighted to be guest author at The People's Friend writing workshops in Dundee, Glasgow and York. I am a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and of the Society of Authors.

I always have several short stories on the go plus longer pieces. I used to write a lot of poetry but the muse has taken the huff since I took up with prose.

Writing to be published is a more recent passion but I can’t remember a time when I couldn’t read. My mum was a great reader, and, frankly, I think I learned in utero. When we visited relatives or friends I made a bee-line for their bookcases and then hid behind the sofa trying to read as much as I could before going-home time. I would still like to do that … My desert island book (and, yes, I’d like the King James Bible and the works of Shakespeare as well, please) would be … impossible to choose. Would I be allowed all the volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica? Once I’d mastered barbecuing fish and given my cave a makeover, my worry would be that I’d run out of reading material.

I read fiction mostly, social history too, and travel accounts, particularly if they’re about China. And I love to browse through my large collection of girls’ annuals which range in date from the 1890s to the 1970s.

So that’s a bit about me – like many of my writing projects I’m a work-in-progress.
I guess if you’re reading this you like writing and reading too, or writhing and reeling as Lewis Carroll memorably put it. Let’s writhe and reel together ...



Guest post

What Christmas Means to Me
By Kate Blackadder

Early December. Packets of Christmas cards, each with a different design – pretty, traditional or quirky – are spread out on the table. I send around eighty each year, to my large extended family and to friends and neighbours. Some just get a signature, others get a little scribbled note inside, and about ten get a long letter (typed, my handwriting is barely legible after a few lines – but each letter is a personal one, not a round robin).

I should have done what I promised myself I’d do last year, which was to type addresses so that they can be printed out neatly onto labels … and I should have started to do this days – weeks – ago … but I have been organised enough to have an alphabetical list on the computer and I put a tick beside each name after the envelope is sealed.

And what a pleasurable task it is, to take time matching the recipient to the card, while I listen to a CD of traditional Christmas carols, a mug of hot chocolate close at hand.

It’s a joy, as I write their name, to think of each person: a cousin perhaps, a niece, an old school friend, a couple met on holiday. To think of where they are, whether that’s the other side of Edinburgh (where I live) or the other side of the world. To remember how I know them, how long I’ve known them, what they mean to me.

It’s not that we’re not in touch at other times of the year but Christmas, for me, starts with all these folded pieces of colourful paper, popped into envelopes and sent off to be delivered through eighty letterboxes – it’s like having a virtual party to which all my favourite people are invited.

And it’s a joy, in return, to get a postal delivery and find, not the usual household bills or humdrum documents, but – ta da! – cards with little donkeys and reindeers and the Baby in the manger and Father Christmases and puddings and …

…. robins and toys and holly berries and snowmen and angels and three wise men and twinkling stars and carol singers and baubles and decorated trees and …

… sleighs and tinsel and cats and dogs wearing Santa hats and sparkle and glitter … all the symbols of Christmas from centuries ago to the present day (and even better if I find a long newsy letter tucked inside, maybe a photograph or two as well).

I love communicating with people on social media and by email – but it is very special to hold a piece of paper in your hand, something tangible that is a direct connection with the person sending it.

So one of my wishes is that sending cards will always be a big part of the Christmas tradition.

Now where did I put those stamps?


  1. What a wonderful guest post. And the book is too. I love holiday reads!

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  3. Such a wonderful post. I love getting to know authors.

  4. I would love to read this book. Thanks for the lovely post.

  5. I'm looking forward to reading this book.

  6. Sounds like a great holiday read. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Last week I posted off my Christmas cards and yes, you're spot on when you describe that feeling of receiving a card with more than just the 'from all of us to all of you' written on it!

  8. Sounds perfect for the holidays!


  9. Tis' the season, and how charming this tale sounds.

  10. I love reading books like this at Christmas :)

    1. I love reading other authors' Christmas books too!

  11. This isn't the kind of book I would usually read, but I fancy something different so I will be looking out for this in the shops

    1. Yolanda - it's ebook only (the publisher's decision), so not in the shops, I'm afraid.

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  13. I know some ladies that are like Alice.

  14. I want to know more about those family secrets.

  15. Looking for something.Christmase sounds perfect

  16. A beautiful guest post and I believe that everyone loves getting mail, especially Christmas cards. I do write a long letter to go with my cards and some of my family and friends merely get the letter as an email, mostly with a personal message. I must admit I do find it a waste if the card is only signed with a signature. I like to know what's happened in people's lives over the year. It's gotten so expensive to send mail (from Canada to Europe), that I'm relieved that a few can go per email. I used to send over a hundred cards at Christmas, now it's a mere 20 or so which does lighten the bill at the post office. :-)