Living at Fox Farm, with its cosy café and charming pottery workshop, is a dream come true for thirty-one-year-old Daisy. The kindly owner, Jean, and the close-knit village feel like the family Daisy has never had. She’s been looking forward to finally having people to buy gifts for and to share cookies with in front of the fire after too much Christmas dinner.
When Jean suddenly falls ill, Daisy is the first to lend a hand in organising the holiday celebrations. She ropes in Alex – Jean’s handsome Scrooge of a nephew – to help her. From the get-go Daisy and Alex cannot agree on anything, butting heads through decorating disasters and tripping over each other at the holiday barn dance. Alex hates Christmas, and Daisy is feeling so festive she might as well be the fairy on top of the ten-foot tree. Can Daisy melt Alex’s icy exterior and prove to him just how magical Christmas can be?
But then Alex discovers Fox Farm is almost bankrupt, and suddenly its whole future is in jeopardy. They need a plan, and quickly, if Jean is to have a place to come back to this Christmas. Will Daisy be able to save the only real home she’s ever had? And might this Christmas be the beginning of something special?
I chose to read this novel a little early for Christmas, but the story begins at Halloween so it felt just right. Like all of Helen Pollard’s novels we meet two people from different backgrounds who are not seeking romance. Daisy is a talented artist trying to forge a successful career, happy with her own company while Alex has managed to achieve his dream running his own garden centre. But Alex owes so much to his Aunt Jean that when she is rushed to hospital, he devotes a great deal of time making sure that her business, Fox Farm, continues to trade. As an artist in residence Daisy is provided with a tiny bed-sit and a studio to work in. She can sell her pictures, giving Jean a small commission.
Sebastian, a mercurial cousin of Alex, tries to persuade him that Daisy is taking advantage of their aunt and he suggests it would be better if Jean sold up so that she can move into a nursing home. How can Daisy convince Alex that Fox Farm is Jean’s life? They seem to rub each other up the wrong way and yet they are also aware of a growing attraction between them.
Told in the words of Alex and Daisy alternately we understand their standpoints, but will they ever find a solution to the money problems at Fox Farm which is pushing them apart? The community contains a range of different characters, including an amusing eccentric author and a moaning studio manager as well as some delightful scenes when Alex and Daisy have to dress up as Santa and his elf. Perfect, feel-good winter writing.
Christmas at Fox Farm on Amazon UK
My Review of The Little Shop in Cornwall by Helen Pollard
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