11 Nov The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain
A warm festive welcome awaits you between the covers of Heidi’s latest book
When Freya Fuller’s beloved employer Eloise Thurlow-Forbes dies, she’s left wondering what will happen to her job and her home. She’s lived and worked as a gardener at Broad-Meadows for three years, since splitting amicably from her fiancé, but now it looks as if Eloise’s heir is selling up.
Then in a moment of serendipity (or is it a divine sign from Eloise) Freya chances upon Prosperous Place, a beautiful Victorian Manor owned by charming Luke Lonsdale. He’s looking for someone to design a winter garden that will benefit the local community. Before she knows it, Freya and her rescue dog Nell are ensconced in a grace-and-favour cottage at neighbouring Nightingale Square, where the established residents extend her a warm welcome.
Well, all except one person – newly installed artist Finn, who is designing sculptures for the garden, blows hot and cold in his dealings with Freya. Though there’s a definite spark between them, he seems determined to resist her charms.
Which is a shame because with his Viking good lucks and her name (and long plait of blonde hair) they’d definitely be the perfect match!
Fans of Heidi’s will already be familiar with Nightingale Square and its lovely residents, but don’t worry if this is your first visit – you’ll get to know and love them all as quickly as Freya does. She’s soon drawn into the community, becoming involved in Luke’s idea for a Winterfest offering a range of activities to take place over the dark, dreary months.
Freya throws herself into her classes, teaching others to press leaves and make wreaths, and learning herself how to make Christmas cakes and puddings. Her friendships with people like young widow Chloe, writer Lizzie, Luke’s wife Kate and his delightful daughters begin to deepen and, as winter moves on towards Christmas, even Finn begins to thaw. But his mischief-making brother Zak might throw a spanner in the works when he comes to sort out the frozen pipe problems at Freya’s cottage. And her own mum and dad, disgruntled at Freya’s life choices, seem bent on causing trouble from afar.
Aside from the suspense of Freya and Finn’s relationship to keep the reader guessing, there’s so much going on in this story. The plot never falters – every chapter brings something new to the narrative, whether it’s a festive lights switch-on, a drama with Nell (who’s the most nervous dog in history) or a snatch of Freya’s past coming back to threaten her rosy future at Prosperous Place.
And overall, there is that lovely, warm festive feel that Heidi Swain brings to all her Christmas books, making them a real joy to read.
I’d definitely buy this one as gift for my book-loving friends this Christmas!
The Winter Garden by Heidi Swain is published by Simon & Schuster in paperback, RRP £7.99
About the Author