Today’s Cozy Read is Christmas at Lavender Cottage, a romantic novella by Susan A. Jennings, an Ottawa, Canada author. Known for her historical fiction, Susan is a member of the Ladies Historical Writing Group and The Ottawa Story Spinners. This novella is part of her Lavender Cottage Series.
Kate Saunders is making a brand new start. After a devastating unexpected divorce, she’s moved to the small canal village of Springsville, purchased a Victorian style B&B, made new friends, seen her daughter marry a wonderful man, and, surprisingly, found a spark of romance. Piers Bannister, a doctor still in mourning from the passing of his wife, who lives on a narrow boat and has begun to show signs of being ready to have a fresh start himself and has allowed himself to be coaxed to Kate’s Christmas gathering this year. The last-minute booking by Olivia Moreland threatens to through a severe damper on the coming festivities. Olivia’s prickly attitude seems to be covering up some kind of sadness only slightly moderated by the renewal of an old friendship with Cyril Winthrop, the secretive and curmudgeonly local antiques dealer.
As Christmas Day draws nearer, Olivia claims to have had a valuable necklace stolen and accuses the maid, Lydia, of taking it. Everything is thrown into turmoil as Kate and friends and family try to track down the necklace, help Lydia’s family have a nice Christmas, and seek to solve the mystery and problems surrounding Olivia.
The characters in this story are both believable and interesting. I especially liked Adam, who sits rocking on the porch talking to his wife who invisibly sits in the matching rocker rocking away as well and liked learning about narrow boats, apparently a common feature on British waterways. Kate’s friend Judy, who is a nice contrast for Kate and takes no guff from Olivia, and the various townsfolk who have their foibles but are friendly and sincere. I liked the way the story resolved and hope to try at least one of the recipes at the back of the book. A good solid cozy read. * * * *
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