Christmas Secrets by the Sea

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

Great book with believable characters.  The book has a great plot and great writing.  I highly recommend this book.  My thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for my digital arc this is my unbiased review.
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This is a fun read, very sweet, and who doesn't like a dog story? It's poignant and just a nice read.
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I have read a few of Jane Lovering's books now and I always enjoy the way she uses one liners and non sequiturs to ground her characters and bring them into three dimensional life. This story, deals with Tansy and Davin, two people thrown together by circumstance on a film set on the stormy Dorset coast in winter.
We discover early on these two have pasts which have defined them in different ways and deeply affects their attitude and behaviour. Then there are their two lovely dogs, mutt Brian and the graceful Seelie, both of whom bring their unique personalities into the story.
Tansy has hit a large bump in the road, though her more obvious problems conceal a deeper, more traumatic one, so she was easy to empathise with. Davin wasn’t so transparent and his initial behaviour is so atrocious I wonder why she didn’t just kick him to the curb and move on. We don’t discover Tansy’s pain until almost the end, where the light-hearted humour makes way for an emotional revelation which I defy any reader not to be affected by.  Davin keeps his innate sensitivity well hidden but once his past is laid out, it becomes easier to see where he is coming from. 
The other characters are equally well written, like single-mum Karen at the café, he permanently hungry sensitive teenager, Rory and the prickly Larch all of whom convey that we shouldn’t take people at first impression. It wasn’t very festive, but I read it at Christmas so that helped, and a storm lashed Dorset coast is pretty characteristic for December.
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I didn’t get far with this book. The sentences are really long and over-descriptive, and because of this I struggled to concentrate on the story and get involved in it.
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I really liked this book. I've read a couple of Jane Lovering's other books and they are always a bit of a different type of romance. In general, I find British romance to be "slower" than American romance. This isn't a bad thing. What I'm trying to say is that the British romance authors that I've read seem to develop their MCs and the connection between them much more than the typical American romance. There's rarely a case of insta-lust and there is usually a firm friendship developing before the hero and heroine become intimate. I love the pacing of such romances, but compared to American romances, where I swear it's almost required that the MCs become intimate by (if not before) the 50% mark, British romances often seem slower paced. Such is the case for Christmas Secrets by the Sea. There is so much going on with both Tansy and Davin and the author takes the time to develop their personalities and form a strong connection between them. They both have hard outer shells, and what is initially visible on the surface is not at all what is going on beneath those shells but those inner layers are revealed slowly and only after they've built up some trust. 

I also find it interesting that the book is being marketed as a Christmas story. Although it's set at that time of year, and there is talk and scenes of the holidays, it doesn't have much of a typically "christmasy", celebratory, or holiday feel, it's much more serious than that. However, the underlying theme of the book is forgiveness and redemption, so the title is appropriate in that sense. Jane Lovering also did a fantastic job in evoking the feeling of winter, paralleling how barren Tansy feels inside after losing everything that was important to her. I felt cold most of the time as I was reading the descriptions of the Dorset cost and the wild winter winds and storms. Overall, a great job in evoking the time and place and drawing the reader into the story. I also have to mention Brian and Seelie, the two dogs owned by Tansy and Davin. They were both smart and adorable and I loved the little romance that developed between them also. If you are a pet lover, there are plenty of scenes with both of them, they aren't just window dressing.
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a buiseness woman wohl has lost everything meets an actor. First they do not like each other but by workig togehter and their love for the dogs a romance begins. Great book, written in a very descriotive way. I really liked it
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"Christmas Secrets by the Sea" is just the kind of book I like to read during the holiday season.  Christmas is present but it isn't  thrown in your face and there is a lot going on besides just cute romance.  In the beginning of the book, the reader is introduced to Tansy and a scraggly stray she eventually names Brian.  We know that Tansy is down on her luck, just recently losing her business, her home and her boyfriend.  She has chosen to park her caravan on Dorset Beach and wait out the holidays.  What she doesn't plan on is meeting new people and learning that sometimes you really can chose your own family.

There's lots to love about this book.  There is a wonderful small town feel and as Tansy discovers a new job scouting filming locations for a local production company, she meets many new, wonderful and nerve-racking individuals.  There is also a great puppy love story between Brian and a whippet named Seelie - talk about odd couples.  There is some romance thrown into this book so if that turns you off, then you won't want to give it a go.  But it's not over-the-top and it's actually a love-to-hate trope which I am finding I enjoy quite a bit.  And there are some pretty dark secrets which are exposed by the end and it only made me love Tansy and Davin even more.

I probably wouldn't pick a book like this up to read most of the year but it was a perfect fit for the holiday season.  And come on, with Brian and Seelie, you pretty much know it's going to be something I enjoy.  I'm curious about the rest of the series when it releases because if it focuses on some of the characters we've already met, I'm anxious to see where it's headed.
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If you’re looking for a Christmas romance, this may not be the one for you as Christmas is pretty much an after-thought especially for the heroine, Tansy, who has had a very rough year.

However, this book goes beyond fluff and shows two people who meet at the right point in their lives to help each other and perhaps fall in love.

While Davin is initially shown to be mean-spirited and superficial, it’s a facade to hide his deeper secrets, which he shares with Tansy as their relationship progresses. Likewise, Davin guesses that Tansy has a deeper secret than the one she initially shares, a secret that makes the novel rather poignant.

The supporting characters add a great deal to the novel, especially Mom Karen and her son Rory. Karen has some great one-liners. Even Larch, the supposed self-absorbed actress, is shown to be far more than a pretty face.

After a near-tragedy brings everyone together on Christmas, the novel is indeed heart-warming. There might not be a lot of Christmas, but Karen tinsels everything.

Choose this one if you’re looking for a little more depth and just a shade less cheery in your Christmas story.

And, please, could someone give the scruffy dog a bath?

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This is my introduction to Jane Loverings writing, my first read of Christmas Secrets by the Sea.  I immensely enjoyed this novel. The cover caught my eye, but her warm, humorist and endearing plot draws you in through her brilliant characterization.  Phenomenal attention to detail  in creating relatable and quirky characters and a stray dog to boot.  A bit of an addictive page turner.
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Loved this book! Hilariously funny, yet deeply emotional and ultimately satisfying. Tansy and Davin are both hidinLoved this book! Hilariously funny, yet deeply emotional and ultimately satisfying. Tansy and Davin are both hiding secrets. The setting, the weather, the dogs (!), literacy, mental illness all play a role in advancing the story. Looking forward to the next installment in this series.g secrets. The setting, the weather, the dogs (!), literacy, mental illness all play a role in advancing the story. Looking forward to the next installment in this series.
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Tansy's not having the best days of her life – she's running from a lost business and a broken heart, and a whole lot of guilt, shame and disappointment, when she is 'found' by a scruffy dog and a couple of situations that lead one into the other. Tansy ends up working an odd job for a TV show filming crew she runs into, which essentially means babysitting a really cocky actor and a super patronizing co-star of his. Angry at her life, or rather, the lack of logic in the fact that this is now somehow her life, Tansy is not in the best place when the story starts out. Meanwhile, Davin is your traditional brooding hero: handsome, but utterly full of... 'stuff' on the outside. In the end, you'll probably find out he's not actually like that, but he'll do a great job of convincing you he's not worth the air he's breathing at first. It's not long before he opens up to Tansy, and through her – to us, and shows just exactly what he is protecting so much with such a harsh picture on the outside.

If you're expecting open romance, well, that's not how this book is. I would say, this is more of a slice of life story, where the characters are struggling with disappointment and their respective pasts, trying to make something of their lives, and as a result, something comes from it. It's a very unobtrusive, silent kind of story. At first I was going to give it 3 stars because I couldn't connect to the characters and what was going on, but then the real reasons behind their actions came out, and they were deep and troubled – I was mesmerized. If at first the book seems like just another story, by the end it will have you exploring the deep pains of the human condition, betrayal by the closest people you have and coming to terms with it all. It's done beautifully through dialogue between the two main characters and it had me glued to the pages past the halfway point. I really do recommend this book, but I have to warn about triggers as well. But the trigger is a spoiler, so if you want to risk it, please don't keep reading.

Triggers and spoilers follow now.

Triggers include:

miscarriage, guilt – especially over the miscarriage, losing a business and all your belongings, a cheating and manipulative spouse, growing up in a poor family with an alcoholic dad, being looked down on because of being dyslexic.

I thank the publisher for giving me a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. This has not affected my opinion.
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This was a cute little book, though I doubt it will win any literary awards or anything. I felt the author didn't have the nuance to show things but rather explained a lot of the characters' feelings.But overall it was a cute and light read, and it was fairly enjoyable.
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I love Christmas-themed novels and I’ve read (and enjoyed!) quite a few of Jane’s books, so I knew I was in for a treat.

Tansy has lost everything this past year, and finds herself living in a clapped-out van on the coast. Her luck starts to improve when she lands a television location scout, and finds herself minding a gorgeous but miserable Irish male actor. As well as romance between humans, there is also a romance between two four-legged friends, which is fun.

I really enjoyed this amusing and romantic festive read, and very pleased to discover that there will be further books in this series.
 
Thank you to NetGalley and Farrago for an advance reader copy in return for an honest review.
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The cover to Christmas Secrets by the Sea promised rainy English seaside atmosphere, Christmas joy and two dogs- all the things I look for in a love story! 
Tansy having fled London, her failed relationship and cupcake empire is quite literally trying to get away from it all and is racking her brain for what to do with her life when she is thrust into dog ownership and work on the set of a moody, English version of Baywatch. The banter between her and the show's Irish lead actor Davin is fun and, in comparison to many other similar romance novels, refreshingly self-aware. We meet a whole "cast" of likeable side-characters and the Dorset setting warmed my heart. 
Christmas Secrets by the Sea ended up being more serious than I had expected and less stereotypically christmassy. But I did root for every single character and now feel like planning my next holiday trip to South-England... and plan on taking my dog!
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I had not read any books by this author before.
I found this book hard to get into to begin with, as I found the style of writing didn't flow well. I thought that a lot of the sentences were too long. Once i had got used to this, I started to enjoy the book.
There was a lot of tension between the main characters of Davin and Tansy. It was clear that they were both hiding something, and it was not easy to work out what their secrets were. I wanted to read to the end to find out what the secrets were. 
The characters were quirky but funny and kind. The book was not completely festive, as Christmas time was not until the end. It was still an enjoyable read, and I would definitely read the next part of the series.
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I am generally a fan of Jane Loverings work and she addressed some interesting ideas in this book.  She is a great writer so it was easy to read but it felt more forced than other things of hers I have read and the plot was pretty predictable and unrealistic.
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Not much Christmas in this book. Maybe this should just be called Secrets By the Sea and not be pushed into the snowmance category.

I'm not entirely sure how I felt about this book. Tansy was a very annoying character and Davin wasn't much better. The book may have been a better read if it focused on Karen and Neil or Kee or Larch. Basically anyone who isn't Tansy or Davin.

Overall it wasn't a bad read but it wasn't a good read either. I'm not sure why throughout the whole book no one thought to give poor Brian the dog a good bath. Instead they all just complained about how smelly and dirty he was.
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The romance is more understated and gentle as Davin and Tansy initially spend their time taking pot shots at each other then spend more time getting to know each other and getting past their initial meeting rather than hopping into bed. Their non meet-cute actually gets things going as Davin is intrigued by a woman who doesn’t fall for his “star smile” and fling herself all over him. Tansy, on the other hand, isn’t sure she wants anything to do with this guy even after she starts to see underneath the outer protective shell. 

So, I liked the other distinctive characters who are nicely drawn and add to the story. Brian the mutt, with his skeptical expressions, endeared himself to me and them. The holiday setting doesn’t turn the story too sugary sweet. Tansy and Davin have a hopeful future. But I’m going to try and avoid being on the Dorset coast during a storm. B+
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While the secrets involved in this story weren't particularly Christmasy, they were at the core of motivation for the lead characters.  Both Tansy and Davin turned out to be nothing like the façades they presented. Each one hid the secrets that they believed defined them and breaking down the defensive walls almost proved too hard for them to handle.  Forces of nature took them on an emotional journey and I am glad to have been a witness to the transformations that came as a result of their physical and emotional struggles.  
I voluntarily read an advanced review copy provided by the publisher via Netgalley and I offer my honest opinion in response.
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First book I have read by this author and I really enjoyed it.

The story of Tansy and Davin. When they first meet they don't get on, but as they slowly get to know each other, they share their secrets and get closer.

Looking forward to the rest of the books in this series.

Thank you to Netgalley for a review copy of this book. I received an ARC of this book in exchange for a voluntary review
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