A secret romance was just the start of the story…
Tucked into a crook of the Norfolk coast lies Nelson’s Bar – an idyllic village where time seems to stand still. Maddy Cracey has called this beautiful spot home all her life, as had her husband Adey – until an epic row sent him storming out into a blizzard, with no sign of him since that fateful night.
Six years on, and Maddy’s life in the village has settled into a gentle pattern with her young daughter and Great Aunt Ruthie. However, when handsome stranger Raff turns up with a handful of long-forgotten love letters, their quiet life is upended as family secrets from the past are unearthed.
As Raff and Maddy get to know each other, they grow closer and a love story of their own seems inevitable. But when Maddy receives a mysterious message, she can’t help but wonder whether her own past is as distant as she’d thought it was…
The festive new novel about love, family and the power of words from Sunday Times bestseller Sue Moorcroft, perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan and Phillipa Ashley.
Publisher: Avon/Harper Collins
Format: Ebook, Audio and Paperback (26 October 2023)
Source: Copy for review via Netgalley
My thanks to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for the tour invitation. I love Sue’s books and have reviewed more on this blog than I can list (you can find previous reviews via the search bar). Her summer and winter books are always a highlight and The Christmas Love Letters lived up to expectations.
Set in the English county of Norfolk, this is a heartwarming albeit heartwrenching story. A bundle of love letters of a long ago affair tells a remarkable story of love, loss and secrets.
Maddy Cracey lives with her great aunt Ruthie and young daughter Lyla. Maddy needs a place to live and octogenarian Ruthie, due to her failing eyesight, needs a carer so the living arrangements work perfectly. It’s not just one of convenience though. There is real love and affection between them with Maddy being especially protective of Ruthie.
Maddy hadn’t had the best of times. Her irresponsible husband Adey disappeared one night after a row and she’s had to ride out the village gossip and suspicion for nearly seven years whilst struggling financially and bringing up their daughter alone.
When Rafferty (Raff) appears on the scene with his father’s letters, Ruthie has to reveal a period of her life that she has never forgotten. Her pain of long ago events was plain and Maddy is concerned that this is all too much for her.
As mentioned, this story is set on the Norfolk coast and makes a return to a previous fictional location, Nelson’s Bar. A further setting is Docking – a village I am now familiar with as it has recently formed part of my Norfolk house hunting search. With the story set in the lead up to, and including Christmas, there is an evocative sense of place with the wintry snowy weather playing it’s part. As to be expected from this author there is much more depth to the story than just romance and I was more than intrigued to see how decisions from the past would impact on the present.
Secrets, love, heartbreak, romance and drama are all within The Christmas Love Letters. With authentic characters dealing with extraordinary events, this is another gorgeous cuddle of a book that I raced through. I was rooting for Maddy on all fronts. She was no pushover however she was a natural caregiver who deserved to be treated well and I was hoping that those slow burn romance vibes would lead to something special.
The Christmas Love Letters is all about family and second chances. Set against the festive background and the community celebrations, it’s a perfect book to curl up with.
Sue Moorcroft is a Sunday Times bestselling author, and her books have been #1 on Kindle UK and Top 100 on Kindle US, Canada and Italy. She writes two books a year for publishing giant HarperCollins and has won the Goldsboro Books Contemporary Novel of the Year, Readers’ Best Romantic Novel award, a HOLT Medallion and the Katie Fforde Bursary. She’s president of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and past vice-chair.
Her novels, short stories, serials, columns, writing ‘how to’ and courses have appeared around the world.