You know, it really wouldn’t feel like the run up to the festive season without a new Heidi Swain book and I’m delighted to participate in the blog tour for Heidi’s latest book, Underneath the Christmas Tree. My thanks to Harriett Collins for inviting me to participate. I’m delighted to share my review today.
Other posts about and involving Heidi here on Linda’s Book Bag include:
My review of A Taste of Home here.
My review of The Winter Garden here.
My review of The Secret Seaside Escape here.
My review of Poppy’s Recipe for Life here.
My review of Mince Pies and Mistletoe at the Christmas Market here.
A ‘staying in’ post with Heidi to chat all about Sunshine and Sweet Peas In Nightingale Square here.
A guest post from Heidi to celebrate Snowflakes and Cinnamon Swirls at the Winter Wonderland, explaining exactly what Christmas means to her here.
Published by Simon and Schuster on 28th October, Underneath the Christmas Tree is available for purchase through these links.
Underneath the Christmas Tree
Wynter’s Trees is the home of Christmas. For the people of Wynmouth it’s where they get their family Christmas tree, and where Christmas truly comes to life.
But for Liza Wynter, it’s a millstone around her neck. It was her father’s pride and joy but now he’s gone, she can’t have anything to do with it. Until her father’s business partner decides to retire and she must go back to handle the transition to his son Ned.
When Liza arrives, she discovers a much-loved business that’s flourishing under Ned’s stewardship. And she’s happy to stay and help for the Christmas season, but then she has other plans. But will the place where she grew up make her change her mind? And can it weave its Christmas cheer around her heart…?
My Review of Underneath the Christmas Tree
Liza has unfinished business at Wynter’s Trees.
What a gorgeous story. I was entirely captivated by Underneath the Christmas Tree with its wonderful Wynmouth community spirit, its sense of friendship and its exemplification of what can be achieved through team work, loyalty and giving people a chance. Heidi Swain’s writing embodies the true meaning of Christmas.
There’s a lovely story that sweeps along making the reader feel Christmassy and uplifted, so that Underneath the Christmas Tree is a perfect book to raise even the glummest mood. Although it’s obvious (and no spoiler) that there will be a happy ending, that is what is so engaging, because the journey to that moment is so realistic, especially because of Liza’s own self-delusion and inability to recognise her own true worth. I felt she was the embodiment of so many women and I loved her for it. I wanted her to be happy from the moment I met her. The way Liza compares herself with Maya is utterly relatable. Maya too is a fabulous character as through her Heidi Swain inverts the cold beauty image of so many books and gives Maya a warm and engaging personality that feels natural and realistic. Underneath the Christmas Tree did bring a tear to my eye a couple of times because I was so invested in the characters, but it left me with a smile on my face and an overwhelming feeling of happiness and contentment.
Similarly, what I found so engaging about Ned was his ordinariness, his good nature and his hard working ethos. Heidi Swain proved that there doesn’t need to be great riches, and a brooding, complicated hero for a wonderfully romantic read. Ned is real. He can be sulky and quick tempered but he’s also honest and determined, making him a man who is vivid and attractive.
I also thoroughly appreciated the more minor characters. Through them Heidi Swain weaves subplots with major themes. I can’t spoil the story by revealing them, but concepts of relationships, family, loyalty, protection, community swirl through the pages of Underneath the Christmas Tree. One of the aspects I loved the most was how Liam illustrates that sometimes, all we need to do is look beyond the obvious and give others a chance.
Charming, enchanting and thoroughly lovely, Underneath the Christmas Tree isn’t about Christmas. It IS the spirit of Christmas in book form. I adored it.
About Heidi Swain
Heidi lives in beautiful south Norfolk with her family and a mischievous cat called Storm. She is passionate about gardening, the countryside, collecting vintage paraphernalia and reading. Her TBR pile is always out of control!
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