Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Lion is Not Just for Christmas!
Is there life after the circus has left town?
Circus performer Justine Belmont works with big cats, but when the circus is disbanded and the old lion is sold to a private menagerie at a stately home in Norfolk, she is asked to spend a few weeks settling him into his new environment. When she arrives at the estate, however, she receives a mixed welcome.
The groundsman Tom Yates resents her presence as he doesn’t feel he needs her help with the lion. He revises his opinion when he sees the bond between her and the big cat, and she and Tom grow closer, although Justine remains torn about her feelings for him. The lady of the house, Priscilla – who is married to the reclusive owner, Lord Brooks’s, grandson – is not so easily convinced. She perceives Justine as a threat for the male attention and her plans for the manor. And her two young daughters are a little too curious about the lion for their own good.
When unsettling events occur, Justine begins to wonder if there is more to Priscilla’s animosity than meets the eye. Can Justine keep herself and everyone else safe until it’s time for her to leave again and start a new life elsewhere?
I’ve been adding feel good Christmas reads to my November and December reading lists like crazy and I’m so happy to have put this one on too.
With characters to make you feel and action to keep your interest piqued, this was a fantastic read. Justineis young, brave, feisty and ready to take on life’s challenges. She’s a talented heroine who is easy to root for. Tomis a romantic lead to warm your heart and make you sigh. I’d have liked to see a few more chapters told from his POV to get to know him better, but I still think the essence of his character comes through. Lord Brooksis endearing. A seemingly eccentric old man who understands his family better than they realize. He has quite a tale to tell his family. Rexusthe lion is such a fun character to read about, from his antics in the circus ring to his settling into his new home. Finally, Priscillais an entertaining arch nemesis. She’s miserable and unkind enough to make the reader root for Justine even more.
Themes such as family love, family rivalry, love and community spirit, are all explored in this novella, which has a little something for everyone.
The only thing I would have liked to see a touch more of would be focus on the actual Christmas Day. It’s Justine’s first Christmas away from her boisterous family and perhaps some more exploration of her feelings about that on the day itself would have made this story even better.
The light mystery is done just right for this short, sweet read. It doesn’t take much to figure out the end result but the ride to get there is just twisty enough to keep the reader entertained.
Overall I really enjoyed this delightfully sweet Christmas story filled with just the right amount of magical romance and light suspense.
I give this book 4/5 espresso shots.
Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.
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About The Author
Henriette Gyland grew up in Northern Denmark but moved to England after she graduated from the University of Copenhagen. She wrote her first book when she was ten, a tale of two orphan sisters running away to Egypt, fortunately to be adopted by a perfect family they meet on the Orient Express.
Between that first literary exploit and now, she has worked in the Danish civil service, for a travel agent, a consultancy company, in banking, hospital administration, and for a county court before setting herself up as a freelance translator and linguist. Henriette recently began to pursue her writing in earnest winning the New Talent Award in 2011 from the Festival of Romance and a Commended from the Yeovil Literary Prize.
Henriette lives in London.
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Find out more about this book by following the blog tour, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.