Cover Image: Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross

Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross

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Member Reviews

Such a good story I read it within 3 days.
It started of slow then just got better and better just as a good story should.
Ĺi really loved that it wasn't just easy for eve and Edward to get together but they took their time like normal people do and that there was bumps alone the way. Some of them are major bumps but others where small but still essential to the story.
The last couple of chapters I had atear in my eye just because of how they ended up living together and everything.
Thank you Kate forster for an excellent story
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This is a quick read. The lead protagonist has a job that drew me to this book in the first place. I must say that overall, the pairing made me a little uncomfortable, and I was not as invested in the romance as I would have been otherwise, given the author's writing style. 
Eve is used to grunt work. She should be more visible, given the amount of input she provides in the final products that her immediate boss uses, but that is how things are when the story begins. She is coerced into going physically to babysit a writer struggling with her latest work. The latter's behaviour does not endear him to either Eve or the readers, but Eve is stronger than her chirpy exterior leads people to believe.
There are children hurting under the roof, and with the fresh perspective and the 'woman's touch' Eve starts to help mend things or at least redirect things in that direction. There are some harder topics tackled here than the cover would indicate, but the gloomy weather does lead to a happily ever after. Christmas is a backdrop which helps cement the emotional quotient of everyone introduced to us and a way to include the extended cast of Eve's family and some lighter moments. 
The writing was smooth, and I appreciated the narrative style and would definitely recommend the author to others and pick up another book if I get the chance.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.
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Although set over the Christmas period, this is not really a light and fluffy read. There were more serious themes, and at times I felt it was a little Jane Eyre-ish in direction.

When Eve arrives at the house to work with author Edward as an editor for his outstanding work, she is not made to feel welcome, but as time passes, her sunny personality brings a brightness to the gloomy property and to the lives of Edward, his daughter Flora and his stepson Myles.

This was a moving story, with two neglected and troubled children, who found themselves positively affected by Eve and her family. I found Edward a little self-centred and difficult to like, but even he improved as the story progressed.

All in all I found this a really entertaining and interesting read, that just happened to be set over Christmas.
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Festive, heartwarming and oh, so feel-good!

I don't have all the words for how much I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it's gorgeous, heartwarming, full of festive joy and leaves you feeling utterly warm and cosy. It's a real winner and I urge everyone who loves this genre, or anyone who just needs a little pick-me-up to read this book. 

I liked the story, it's super sweet and perfect for the festive season (we have just had) the characters are likeable and relatable, and I liked how their relationship developed across the story and how we the reader becomes drawn into their world. 

It's a pretty fast-paced book, something which I really like, I can't seem to be bothered with books that seem to drag along these days so this was perfect for the mood I was in, I wanted something fresh and pretty to become absorbed in and this was just the ticket. 

Overall, a gorgeous book which will put a smile on your face and leave you wanting Christmas in January, LOL!
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To say Eve loves Christmas would be an understatement. When Eve’s boss demands that she go and make sure author, Edward Priest, makes his deadline she is devastated to be missing out on all her family festive fun. Especially as when she arrivals at Cranbery Cross there has not been much festivity or fun for what seems like years.  

Is Eve able to create magic and keep her job at the same time? 

A delightful festive read which deals with some very unexpected themes.
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What a wonderful story, I couldn't help but absolutely fall for Flora and Myles, and was incredibly caught up in their story and hoping that they would get what was so sorely missing in their lives. 

I really felt for them, as they don't have the best of mothers, and a workaholic father and it takes for Eve to come to edit Edwards new book, for them to start to change. 

Eve is the real catalyst in this story and I really enjoyed getting to know her, seeing how she was dealing with Edward and his writers block.  The more I got to know her family the more I loved them. 

I just really found myself hooked on life at Cranberry Cross, and caring about all of the characters. Seeing the children come out of their shells and develop was really heartwarming as were the festive touches featured. 

A very fast to read book, from an author I always enjoy this was fabulous. 

Thank you to Aria and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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After a stressful week I needed something to take my mind off everything and to get me back into the festive frame of mind and Kate Forster’s new book, Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross, did just that. Within the first chapter I just knew that I was going to love this book. There was just this instant feeling of familiarity and it felt like I was completely engulfed by Eve and her story. The brief time that I had to stop reading for one reason or another I just wanted to be back at Cranberry Cross as I was eager to see what would happen next. Yes, it may not be the most overtly Christmas book that I have so far read this Christmas reading season even though it is set in and around Christmas but still I loved every minute of this story. The book has a gorgeous and inviting cover but despite this there are some dark, detailed and realistic themes explored. That’s not to say this book is all doom and gloom. There is a lovely balance between light and shade and you come to empathise and root for all the characters as they are each developed so well. So, I feel you get a lot more than you would expect from a book with such a whimsical and festive cover.

Eve Wilkins has what many book lovers would believe to be the dream job. She works in a publishing house in London as a publishing assistant and has high hopes that she will soon receive the promotion she so richly deserves and therefore become an editor. Eve’s passion for all things books, reading and editing shines through right from page one and her enthusiasm and expertise is there in plain sight for all to see. I loved her as a character from the get go. Her passion, commitment and love for what she was doing made me admire her but life is not throwing Eve the opportunities and positive reinforcement that she needs to make her feel like she is doing a good job. In spite of the fact that she clearly is. 

Serena is her boss and instead of being a force for good and building people up and recognising the good things they do and the things people are capable of in particular Eve, Serena is in fact the complete opposite. She was like the evil queen wielding a knife over Eve’s head. It’s evident she is a bully. She is full of lies and empty promises and Eve has become more liker her slave rather than a valuable assist to the team and her potential and capabilities have not been given a chance to shine. Serena is domineering and gets Eve to do everything that she doesn’t want to do and in turn Eve feels under pressure to comply to her boss’ every whim and need, for fear of her being fired. The final straw comes when Eve is ordered to miss Christmas celebrations with her family and travel to the home of well renowned author, Edward Priest, at Cranberry Cross. 

Eve is devastated that she will miss the most special time of year with her family especially as Christmas Eve is both herself and her younger twin brothers birthdays and the family really goes all out for celebrating. But Eve really has no other choice because if Edward does not deliver his latest book in time than many jobs including hers within the publishing company will be gone and there is no way that she would have that on her conscience. All Eve wants for Christmas is a new job (as she has reached boiling point when it comes to Serena and her ways) and to spend the season with her family. The way things are going both wishes seem more distant than ever. As Eve travels to Cranberry Cross, an isolated and creepy manor house, she wonders what awaits her. She has no idea of the life changing journey she is about to undertake. Books have always been her escape but this time around her love for her chosen profession may or may not just tip her over the edge the more she discovers what is going on at Cranberry Cross.

Edward lives at Cranberry Cross with his young daughter Flora. His wife Amber left him to live the highlife in LA but the more the story develops we learn things weren’t all that cut and dry and there are a lot of demons swirling around the inhabitants of the house which seems so full of sadness, loneliness and heartache. The themes of poor parenting, addiction and depression soon make themselves apparent and this is what I meant when things are darker than one would expect from this kind of book. But yet, Kate Forster does a very good job of backing up when certain characters are experiencing the above-mentioned themes. Things could have ventured into very heavy territory but Kate skilfully navigated away from this but at the same time the points she was trying to make came across well and allowed the reader to develop empathy for all the characters involved and those that you may have been against or nor that overly keen with in the beginning. Well you will do a complete 360 by the time you reach the end of the book. The housekeeper Hilditch was a brilliant character. She was there as a support system and mother figure to Edward and she does reveal a few surprising things about herself along the way. She blows a bit hot and and cold towards Eve but you can tell that’s simply because she wants to protect Edward. She comes across as having a gruff exterior but really I could sense that deep down she was nothing more than a pussy cat as opposed to a lioness protecting her cubs. 

There was a Jane Eyre type vibe off this book for some parts of it and I thought oh is this just going to be too familiar and formulaic. At some junctures it was and just seemed that little bit too cliched but then in other ways I was surprised. As for Edward, initial thoughts would lead you to believe he is mysterious and enigmatic. Step back a bit and you’d find him to be rude, arrogant, intimidating and entitled and to be honest you wouldn’t be that far wrong and Eve thinks the exact same. She feels she has been sent to do a job and that once it's done she can get back to her family and hopefully take a further step up the career ladder. 

But the more she gets to know Edward and his family she can’t but help be dragged (not kicking and screaming may I add) into their family dynamic. As she learns why Edward has been so slow to get going with his recent book she starts to understand the way his mind is working and that all is not as it seems both on a personal and professional level. Eve is fierce, smart and not to be underestimated and I was cheering her on as she stood up to Edward once she got to the source of the problem. She is wise, clever and passionate about her job and she lays things on the line for Edward and gives him the confidence to keep going. She sets a strict schedule for him and will read everything that he is writing. 

As Edward works away by day Eve’s thoughts turn to other people at Cranberry Cross and to say Flora and her escapades are a little creepy are an understatement. Eve digs more than a little deeper and a surprise occurs that sets in motion a whole series of events that sees her come out of her shell and do the best for those around her. You just wish she could do the same when it comes to her own career. I loved the spark that Eve had about her and yes there may have been a dysfunctional set up at Cranberry Cross but Eve can see beneath this exterior and perhaps a Christmas miracle will occur after all? There are so many layers to this story that are peeled back once the reader has some patience. Of course, some romance does have to feature in a book of this nature and yes to me it seemed a little rushed but then there were a few twists and turns thrown in that leave you wondering will happiness be found at all? Will Edward complete his book on time? Will Flora call a halt to her creepy antics and most importantly of all will Eve find the fulfilment and happiness she so richly deserves?

Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross was the perfect anecdote from all the stresses and strains that we can experience at this time of year. All the characters go on such an emotional journey of exploration and learn lots of valuable life lessons along the way. Eve may have initially been more than reluctant to have her Christmas plans up scuttled but in fact she gets a lot more than she bargained for and maybe destiny was always calling her in the direction of Cranberry Cross. I’ve loved the last number of Kate Forster’s books and I feel she deserves a lot more recognition and for her books to reach a wider audience. I didn’t want to leave when this story ended, even though Kate did wrap things up well. The themes throughout the book were well tackled despite the difficult subject matter and at times this does become an emotional read but there are many glimpses of happiness along the way. Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross is a gem of a read and is one that you should definitely not let pass you by. Make sure to firmly place it on your Christmas reading list this year. In the meantime, I’ll patiently wait for a new book from Kate, which in fact is not that far away as Fly Me to Moongate Manor publishes in April of next year.
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I have read two books by this author, Finding Love at Mermaid Terrace and Christmas Wishes at Pudding Hall. I loved both of them and I was not disappointed reading a 3rd book by Kate. I love festive books and this is right up there with brilliant ones. 

I really like the character Eve, but she's a better woman than me, I wouldn't put up with a boss like that. She's vile. 

I really liked Eves situation and how it unfolds. We've all had that kind of boss but it's about how you deal with it and can you cope with working for them... Time will tell for the lovely Eve, she's a strong and thoughtful woman and I really enjoyed seeing what she was going to do next. 

I liked the character Edward too, I think he was a bit misunderstood and due to his situations he can come across a certain way but I that really him. 

I will definitely read more by Kate Forster, I enjoyed her style of writing and story telling. Heartwarming, festive, humorous and romantic what more could you want.
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Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross by Kate Forster

I received an advance review copy for free thanks to NetGalley and Aria and I am leaving this review voluntarily.


No one loves Christmas more than editorial assistant Eve Pilkins.

But when her boss hits her with a huge deadline on Christmas Day, it looks like Eve's favourite time of the year might be cancelled. Armed with as much enthusiasm as she can muster, she travels to the coldest part of England, tasked with ensuring brooding author Edward Priest finishes his latest novel on time.

The festive spirit is at Cranberry Cross is as dark as the house itself, without a fairy light in sight looks like only a Christmas miracle can save this one, will Eve be up to the task?

My Opinion

I wasn't sure what to expect going into this book but I am unable to turn down a Christmas book but this was such a lovely surprise. I was instantly drawn in and listened to this book at every opportunity. A lovely festive read that will help you get in the festive spirit. 

Rating 4/5
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I gave this a fair shot, but I put it to the side after about 15%. I just couldn't see how this story would go about creating a well-balanced believable romance. Add to that the fact that Edward was just the most annoying and infuriating a-hole, and I just couldn't see this ending with me having enjoyed this book.

Life is too short for books you don't enjoy. So I moved on.
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oh wow oh wow oh wow! I loved that book so much!!!! First time for me to read a book by Kate Forster and it won't be the last!!!! To be honest I didn't think i was going to enjoy it that much when i started the book but really quickly I realized that i had between my hands a very different book and I absolutely loved the storyline, the characters and everything in between! Thsi book can be read all year round and not only around Christmas time. 4 stars out of 5 for me!
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Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross is not what it seems based on the cover and the description. It is barely a holiday story and more a thriller, almost Colleen Hoover in nature. It was not really for me, not my personal taste. Some trigger warning items so check first.
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Well on the surface, this is a lovely, festive, uplifting read. There are lots of festive touches as Christmas approaches and some heart-warming family scenes. However, delve a little deeper and you will find some dark themes as poor parenting, depression, addiction all have their effect on the story. There are lots of layers in this story, as Eve tries to cajole Edward past his writer's block and then sets about editing his work. She has her own dreams for the future and has been at the mercy of a bullying boss for too long. I also appreciated the gothic references which chimed perfectly with a writer living in the isolated Hall.

    You are also shown two contrasting pictures of family life. Eve's family may not be well off financially but they are close knit and affectionate to each other. Her father has always supported his wife and being a father is very important to him. In contrast, you have the dysfunctional family of Edward Priest. Although he too loves his children and wants to be a good father, he has also been wrapped up in his own career and in some ways ignored their needs. With an absent mother who inflicted damage on the family, it takes Eve's clear-sighted take on listening to a child's needs to bring the family together. This is such an enjoyable read with plenty to make you think and enough romance to make you smile.

In short: can love conquer all?
Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the book
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I really enjoyed this tale. The characters were interesting and varied. It also was not too festive and I thought this made this Christmas read that more different.

It is difficult to not sympathise with the protagonist, Eve, when her work circumstances are revealed. She clearly works for a horrid boss and has been trapped into sacrificing her Christmas plans in order to save her job (and plenty of others in the office), and make sure a famous writer meets their next deadline. For someone like Eve, who loves Christmas and, bizarrely, her and her twin brothers’ birthdays are all on Christmas Eve, this new plan is met with plenty of disgruntled mutterings. To make matters worse, when Eve finally meets Edward, he proves to be arrogant, conceited and, worst of all, lazy about his writing. How on earth is Eve going to extract his new novel from him when the writer in question is barely at his desk?

But there is so much more to this story than Eve’s work deadline. Edward’s family matters are entwined with this plot and this was another element where Forster tugs on the heartstrings of her readers. Estranged from his wife, his daughter, Flora, is clearly struggling with her mother’s absence, playing bizarre games that often find her digging up dolls from the snow in the garden. Eve can see how the family is suffering and understands how this has had an impact on Edward’s writing. The more time that Eve spends at Cranberry Cross, the more she begins to learn about this household, taking on far more responsibilities than just author babysitting.

As this part of the story unfolded, I grew even more interested in the characters. I thought they were all so varied and different. For example, Eve doesn’t just love books, but is an amazing singer and plays the guitar very well – even to the point that she used to be in a band as a teenager. Her outlook towards life isn’t soppy and dippy; she has strength of character that comes from having to stand up for herself with her boss’s bullying. When readers are introduced to Eve’s family, this interesting characterisation continued and I loved reading about her parents and the evidently loving household that she grew up in. It really adds to the warmth you expect from a read set at Christmas.

But really, this book isn’t overly Christmassy, so if you are considering when would be a good time to sit down with this story, then now is as good a time as any! The setting of Cranberry Cross is so haunting that it would make for a perfect Halloween read and, if it wasn’t for the large amounts of snow, I would have thought this book taking place at another time of the year. I liked exploring the grand house with Eve and my imagination went wild, especially when Eve ends up working in a very delightful snug. Envious!

My only criticism with this book was that I didn’t always connect with Forster’s writing style. At times I thought the sentence structures to be awkward or repetitive. This had me re-reading parts because I got thrown by the repetition that could have been avoided. Although only a minor negative, it was this aspect that meant it was not an amazing read.

I enjoyed the variety that this story presents, particularly with the characterisation. There is so much more to the plot than Eve’s work commitments and I liked seeing how her presence has such a positive influence at Cranberry Cross.

With thanks to Aria Fiction for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A gorgeous feel good story, perfect to curl up and read on a dark, wet afternoon.  Lose yourself in this sometimes heart wrenching, but mostly comforting tale of a family in turmoil and their knight in shining armour.
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Thank you to Amy Watson at Aria Fiction for the invitation to join the blog tour for Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross by Kate Forster. This is the first book I've read by Kate, and I look forward to reading more in the future.

Eve and her family love Christmas so she is sad when her obnoxious boss, Serena, sends her to stay at Cranberry Cross to work with writer Edward Priest, just before Christmas.

Cranberry Cross is a large house full of sadness and lonely people, with a little girl who buries dolls in the garden, a writer who is struggling to write and a 'ghost' in the tower. Can Eve help a blended family to start to enjoy life AND help her publisher employer have a successful new book to promote.

I enjoyed cheering Eve on as she dealt with a number of challenging people and issues, and made decisions about her future. Although this isn't a soft and fluffy Christmas book due to some of the topics covered, it is an uplifting read about the importance of spending quality time with your loved ones and doing what you love. I'm happy to recommend Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross to readers of my book review blog.
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Kate Forster is a talented writer who has a knack for writing about topical issues and seamlessly integrating them into the chick lit format. The world has felt dark these past several years, and reading about country estates, wealthy powerful men just waiting to save the smart, working-class protagonist from a life of ragged middle class drudgery is a welcome escape. I like Christmas and kiddos and puppies, so it all goes down well. Like D.E. Stevenson, whose books emphasize the importance of community/family and connection to nature and the land (unfortunately, Stevenson was also openly racist and anti-Semitic in quite a few of her books), there's a retreat from the modern world into a world where the consequences of colonialism, climate change, and social movements are nowhere to be found (well, maybe in the form of the addicted, traumatized first wife who is conveniently put to death) and peace and happiness lie in family, property, dogs, and happy working-class people who bring humanity to hardened patriarchs and their troubled children. I'll continue reading these kinds of books as an escape but it's hard not to question these narratives in these times. But Kate Forster is a great writer and knows her audience. Highly recommend as an escapist read.
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Editorial assistant Eve Pilkins is looking forward to spending the usual over-the-top Christmas with her family, especially since it is not only her birthday on Christmas Eve, but that of her younger brothers too. But Eve's hopes of a happy holiday are dashed when her unpleasant boss tells her that she will instead be spending the festive season with one of their top authors, Edward Priest, who is struggling to meet his deadline - and she is under no illusion that if she does not ensure he finishes his novel on time, then she will be looking for a new job come the new year.

Eve normally loves everything about Christmas, but when she arrives at Edward's enormous home, the gloomy Cranberry Cross, it is apparent that this festive season is going to be different to the one she had planned. The house is freezing, the atmosphere is creepy, and Edward is nowhere near finishing his book - not to mention that he is downright rude to her from the moment she arrives. Can Eve pull off a Christmas miracle?

What an absolutely glorious Christmas story! Eve is an aspiring editor, but she has found herself stuck as an assistant to a dragon of a boss who is more than happy to exploit her talents and take credit for them. It is hardly the publishing career she envisaged, and now the family Christmas she needed to revive her spirits is out too, in favour of babysitting an entitled male author who clearly does not want her around. It may seem an inauspicious beginning, but Eve is not quite so easily cowed, and this being Christmas, there is, of course, a little magic in the air.

All the ingredients for an enchanting festive tale are here in abundance, with Eve as the catalyst for some major changes for all at Cranberry Cross, especially with the help of her warm and loving family, which is the polar opposite of the desperately sad domestic situation Edward is living with when she arrives. Forster's writing sparkles with warmth and humour, while the delicious romantic suspense builds between Eve and Edward as she helps him see the way forward with his writing, and his family, in a way that plucks nicely on the heart-strings. 

I enjoyed the way Forster sets her tale in the world of publishing and cleverly uses the context to spin something of a fairy tale for her characters, but she also does something really special by threading in lovely little nods to both Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and The Turn of the Screw by Henry James, to ramp up some delicious Gothic vibes with a modern twist. This introduces an undercurrent of sinister darkness, which is unusual for a rom-com, and I loved it! I tip my hat to Forster for making this work so beautifully with the affecting subjects she touches on around Edward's family circumstances, to bring in poignant themes of troubled mental health, addiction, broken families, and abandonment. This adds satisfying weight to the story, and brings an extra note of heart-warming loveliness to the ending Forster crafts.

This book draw me in and became so much more than the light festive story I was expecting, and it was a delight to consume. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it even scared me more than once, and it made me fall completely in love with Eve, Edward, their families and the hopeful future they make together. I loved it from start to finish, and am so impressed with Kate Forster's style that will be making sure I go back to read every one of her previous books too!
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At first glance this is a lighthearted festive read with signs of romance, but dig deeper, below the surface and you’ll find an emotional read with a disjointed family and darkness in the house.  
Full of interesting characters, I really felt for Myles and Flora. Eve was an intriguing character- at times so confident but also lacking in self belief. I really liked the way she stood up for herself and how she wasn’t afraid to put others first. The love and support of her family was wonderful and the twins sounded a right handful. 
Definitely a case of not judging a book by its cover, Christmas at Cranberry Cross is at times gothic and dark yet also hopeful and I enjoyed the Jane Eyre references.
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This book connects readers with literary assistant Eve Pilkins as she works at the gothic-inspired mansion of Edward Priest, famous author to assist him in finishing his latest book. Eve feels as if she is in a gothic novel herself, including huge echoing rooms, strange sounds at night, a mysterious housekeeper, and a sad little girl, not to mention the handsome, brooding author. There is plenty of drama to keep readers immersed in this novel about Eve's adventures coaxing Edward Priest to finish his next novel, as well as her developing relationships with his children and the author himself.

I received this book from the publisher and from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
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