Victoria Connelly - The Beauty of Broken Things
Another heartwarming book by this author. Orla has used all her remaining money to buy herself a run-down castle in East Anglia, where she can hide from the world. Her only outlet is to buy damaged but beautiful objects on the internet, and post them on social media. She believes she's safe from the outside world in her protected existence. But unexpectedly, Luke turns up on the doorstep. He has come to tell her news of a tragedy that affects them both. His vulnerability is as great as her own, and she must decide whether to stay hidden away or begin to face life again. But it's not easy to face your own demons, as both Luke and Orla discover.
Wendy Clarke - We Were Sisters
Described on the strap line as 'an absolutely gripping psychological thriller', this novel lives up to its description. A totally different atmosphere for me after the other novels I've been reading lately, and I wasn't sure that I was in the right mood for this when I started. But the book became compelling and I was startled by the unexpected twists and turns as it progressed. Young Brighton mum Kelly is struggling with a new baby son at the time her twin daughters are starting school. There seem to be so many things for her to worry about - and then she finds a locket in the baby's pram. She's certain it belonged to her long-dead foster sister, Freya. Flashbacks follow Kelly's love-hate childhood relationship with Freya, while in the present day she's uncertain whether she's imagining the threats to her and her family's safety. I was kept guessing throughout the book, and was glad that I did read to the end.
Lucy Coleman - Snowflakes over Holly Cove
I chose to read this novel in December because of the title, and it was advertised as a Christmas book. Actually, most of the story takes place before Christmas, so it didn't quite hit the festive spot. But everything does come to a conclusion at Christmas, so I was finally left with a seasonal feel. High-flying magazine journalist Tia is picking up the pieces after a meltdown following a family tragedy. Her boss, Camilla, sends Tia to take on an assignment in a remote cottage on the Gower Peninsula. She's to interview couples about their ideas of the perfect Christmas. Here she reviews her own life and worries that she's going to end up a younger version of her boss, consumed by her job and with no loving attachments. But the rugged Welsh coast holds secrets, and the people she meets are to have a profound effect on her life - especially a certain young man who's also hurting. An enjoyable read.