Under the Mistletoe

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Pub Date 28 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 30 Oct 2021


Christmas. A time for family, friends – and rekindling old flames…

When Laurel returns to the village of Middledip, she’s looking for a quiet life. Adjusting to her recent divorce, she’s ready to spend some time getting back on her feet amidst the glorious snow-dusted countryside.

Yet, life in Middledip is far from straightforward. Coming to the aid of her sister, Rea, as she navigates her own troubles, Laurel barely has a moment to think about where her own life is going.

However, time stands still when she sees her old flame, Grady Cassidy – and it’s soon as if they’ve never been apart. But through her happiness, Laurel remembers why she left the village all those years ago, as she recalls a dark night and Grady’s once-wayward brother, Mac…

Can Laurel learn to forgive and forget? Or will her chances of Christmas under the mistletoe with Grady remain a dream?

An enchanting, festive read, perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan and Carole Matthews.


‘This book is a tapestry of all the feels and emotions – loved it!’ Milly Johnson

‘Evocative, engaging and gloriously romantic.’ Cathy Bramley

‘A glorious adventure… perfect escapism to brighten the greyest of days.’ Fiona Gibson

‘Full of sunshine and secrets.’ Heidi Swain

‘It whisked me off to sun-drenched Italy…I could feel the heat on my face and taste the wine!' Phillipa Ashley

‘Sue’s novels are the perfect escape. You’re guaranteed a warm and cosy read whatever the weather.’ Bella Osborne

‘A magical escape with all the ingredients of a perfect romance.’ Helen Rolfe

’An absolute gem – I just couldn’t put it down!’ Christina Courtenay

Christmas. A time for family, friends – and rekindling old flames…

When Laurel returns to the village of Middledip, she’s looking for a quiet life. Adjusting to her recent...

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ISBN 9780008393069
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Featured Reviews

Gorgeous, just gorgeous!! I love Christmas books anyway but Sue Moorcroft knows who to write em!! What a fantastic festive story

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A story that made you think.. Could you forgive some one who had hurt you mentally and physically. You had the love element with Lauren and Grady and the pain of the x husband . Also bullying at school and Rea with her agoraphobia. A brilliant read. Loved it.Another ace book by Sue Moorcroft

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I was so excited to be able to read this as part of my Christmas in July readathon absolutely love this authors books and this one was no exception. It was a real treat to be transported back to middledip which has featured in some of her other books. Under the mistletoe was so much more than just a Christmas story and had lots of very strong characters who were all dealing with their own demons. Laurel who is coming to terms with her divorce is transported back to the painful events of what happened in her youth when she returns to middledip to help her sister Rea who is suffering from Agra phobia and her niece Daisy who has been at the mercy of bullying at school. The author raised awareness of these issues and lots of others which I won’t go into for fear of spoilers whilst dealing with them in a very sensitive way. The other story running parallel in this book is the romance blossoming between Laurel and Grady will they get a second chance at love after his brother Macs actions all those year ago came between them and will they overcome all of the difficulties that are being put in their way now and in the past to be able to move forwards in their lives and be together.

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Very strange to be reading a Christmasy book in the summer but considering the summer we’ve had perhaps not that strange! A lovely love story about Laurel who moved back to her home village after her marriage fails. But should she have come back? Bad things happened when she was a schoolgirl but her sister needs her. She falls in love again with her old boyfriend. Her paintings are a joy. Little things keep cropping up that could spoil her happiness but she fights in through.

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I have enjoyed reading this author’s previous books and this one doesn’t disappoint.

Laurel left the village of Middledip as a traumatised teenager; she’s now back to help her sister Rea who is suffering from agoraphobia. But the villain of those teenage years still lives in the village and although years have passed, she is finding it difficult to forgive and forget. With feelings for her nemesis brother added into the mix, will Laurel be able put the past behind her?

Lovely story. Good characters. An easy and enjoyable read.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it’s definitely a great wintery/festive read. I always find myself sinking into the books by this author and feeing like I’m part of the story.

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Thanks Netgalley for allowing me to read this book. Laurel returns to families hometown after getting a divorce. While there she meets Grant who was her old boyfriend many years ago. I enjoyed the different characters in this book and the chemistry between Laurel and Grant

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A festive, feel good treat! It’s lovely to be back in Middledip again for this gorgeous, heartwarming book from Sue Moorcroft. This time we meet Laurel and Grady who are back together in Middledip years after Laurel fled following a nasty bullying incident involving Grady’s brother Mac. Grady never found out what happened all those years ago, but can Laurel move on and put the past behind her? A wonderful treat for the Christmas holidays which I happily devoured in one sitting! Relax, grab a Baileys and a piece of shortbread and enjoy……

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Laurel returns to Middledip to help her sister Rea. She's not been back since a traumatic experience when a teenager. She then bumps into her old boyfriend Grady. Love Sue Moorcroft books and this is no exception

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At first, I would like to thank Netgalley and Avon Books for allowing me to review this book. Keep in mind that my review, however, is my true opinion on this book.

“Under the mistletoe” is another beautiful story by Sue Moorcroft. Perfect for your holiday!

This book is all about Christmas. Here you've got it! Laurel returns to Middledip to have a slow and more relaxed life. She has just been divorced, so life has definitely not been easy for her. But nothing is like she remembered in Middledip. Or maybe it is just as hurtful as she thought.

This book gives you a perspective on life that you might need to take sometimes. You have to remember, what is important to you, and what you prefer to prioritize in life. And this book will get you thinking.

“Bad things always seemed worse at Christmas”. What a line! I guess I can kind of agree with it, though. When you think about it, it might be true. And I feel like this line explains everything about this story.

I usually enjoy Sue Moorcrofts books. They always make you feel good, and they are uplifting as well as enjoyable to read. And this one is certainly a good one as well.

This is such a beautiful and wonderful book!

If you were not already thinking about Christmas, this book sure will get you thinking and longing for Christmas to be here.

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Oh I do love a trip to Middledip! In her latest festive fiction Under the Mistletoe, Sue Moorcroft takes us back to this lovely village for a story that has everything that I love - likeable, relatable characters,,damaged characters, a pretty village full of community spirit, snow, Christmas trees, love, loss, hot romance, and horses! This gorgeous tale wrapped me in a warm and comforting hug from the first to the last page, and I feel slightly bereft at having to leave! There is a darker side to this story that is sensitively written, and really engaged my emotions. The story shimmered with glorious colours - phthalo blue, cadmium red, Indian yellow to name a few, that really leapt off the pages,,allowing me to visualise them in all their beauty, and I loved that. This is a story that needs to be on my shelf, as it is already in my heart. I absolutely loved it.

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Another feel good festive treat from sue moorcroft, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without one of her Christmas reads!
Lovely to be back in middledip and meet new, interesting characters whilst being in a snowy festive village setting, I felt as if I should be sampling a mince pie washed down with a baileys as I devoured under the mistletoe!
Under the mistletoe is a Christmas read with a strong sense of community, family loyalties and a sense of belonging/coming home, but underlying it all difficult subjects such as assault, bullying and agoraphobia are sensitively tackled with an underlying message that in order to live again,move on and be happy you need to let go of the past in order to progress to a happier more fulfilled future.
A lovely thought provoking Christmas read that will get you into the festive spirit, perfect for those pre Christmas dark wintery nights!
Thank you netgalley for this early read.

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I've not ready any of Sue Moorcroft's works and I came upon this book by pure chance. And unexpectedly, I liked it a lot. This book deals with heavy topics and can be triggering for some, so a fair warning before you read this book. I have to remark that Moorcroft doesn't shy away from showing how these situations affect someone and continue to affect them even after many years after the incident. Laurel is a truly wonderful character and I loved reading from her perspective. And Grady is also a lovely guy and so supportive of Laurel.

My only qualm with this book is the number of characters; there were quite a few and each had some minor subplot attached with them, so things did become hard to follow sometimes.

But overall, this was a pretty nice Christmas read (which I'm reading in August lol)

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Such an emotive subject handled with great care and attention. Laurel returns to her home town to look after her agoraphobic sister and neice but having run away 14 years ago after a traumatic incident can she cope with all the feelings coming back brings. A brilliant story about the long term affects of bullying and more. Superbly written with characters you want to envelope in a big hug. Totally recommend

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You can never go wrong with Sue Moorcroft and Under the Mistletoe didn't disappoint, great read for Christmas

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Another winner by Sue Moorcroft. Although I read this preview copy in the summer, it put me straight into festive mode. A story full of twists and turns, characters with issues past and present who work through them and a strong moral compass underpin this book. Most enjoyable.

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I love Sue Moorcroft books they are full of love, loyalty and new beginnings. I got fully involved in Christmas with the wreaths, Christmas trees and a whole village embracing the Christmas spirit. I loved all the characters, all with a story to tell from the effects of bullying to a family member with agoraphobia plus two very different horses but both loved for different reasons. Sue Moorcroft paints pictures with words and this is a book I am so happy to have read

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I enjoy reading Sue Moorcroft’s stories taking place in Middledip. While there are few intersections of characters the readers know from other books, we are still experiencing the same town vibe and getting to meet other villagers.

The story focuses on Laurel, who had an appalling, unforgettable situation one dark night when she was in her late teens. She moved away from Middledip soon afterwards and now is moving back (temporally) to help her sister, and is confronted with the dark past. A good part of that past is her teenage boyfriend Grady, and their sparks still are ignited, unfortunately, it is complicated.

The story is about bullying, guilt, forgiveness, family ties and community. As difficult as forgiveness can be, can a person truly move on and live a full emotional life, with the past hurt weighing like a 100-pound weight on their mind?

Sue Moorcroft did an amazing job of writing a book about a difficult subject and did it with grace and understanding. I definitely recommend this book.

I will add that I love the book cover! Laurel, the main female character is an artist and the descriptions of her paintings are so beautiful, I wish I could actually see them.

I want to thank Avon Books UK, and NetGalley for giving me the pleasure of reading the advance reader copy, with no obligation to write a review. My review is written freely as a hobby, and is totally my own opinion, not influenced by receiving the ARC.

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Loved how descriptive this book was, we follow laurel who has returned to the village she grew up in to help her sister and her niece, as her sister suffers from agoraphobia and it's effecting her niece, she bumps into an old flame Grady and slowly falls for him again despite what his brother had done to laurel when she was a teenager, can she get past what's happened and learn to slowly forgive, a book I couldn't put down, loved the storyline and the characters were brilliant
Well written and would highly recommend

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I love Sue Moorcrofts books and this book was no different.

A book filled with romance and set at Christmas, I could not ask for more in a book. Its well written and thoroughly enjoyable.

The relationships and dramas in this book are brilliant and I wanted to know what was going to happen with Laurel and Grady.

Loved this book, will definitely recommend.

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Under the Mistletoe by Sue Moorcroft is a wonderful, contemporary romance that takes place in a small village full of second chances and festive spirit. I loved it!

I have been a fan of Ms. Moorcroft for some time now, so I was excited to read her newest book.

Such a beautifully described quaint English village with all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season and holiday cheer. Those activities paired nicely to the heavier content included and created a nice balance. Yes it is an adorable village, however small towns have their own troubles. Laurel returns to her childhood home to help out her sister (whom helped her out growing up) and her niece just when they need it the most. She doesn’t want to return. It is full of bad past experiences and a traumatic event. But, she faces the task full on.

She encounters a past significant other, Grady, whom a miscommunication and associated past events led to their separation. Can Laurel and Grady, and his brother Mac as well, find a way to acknowledge, accept, forgive, and move forward? Is there still a spark hidden that could be encouraged for Laurel and Grady? Can Laurel help her family move towards a positive future?

A little Christmas magic and hope will be needed to make this all come true. I truly enjoyed the journey to find this positive and uplifting ending.

5/5 stars. I highly recommend!

Thank you NG and Avon Books UK for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

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This is the first book I read from this genre and from this author, but in December you can count on me to be in front of my TV, eating sweets and drinking a coffee while watching a christmas movie. This is how I knew I HAD to give a chance to this book and, oh my I was not disappointed.

This story brought so much more than just a nice and cosy Christmas read. Laurel's story is, unfortunately, not as rare as one can think, and needs to be widely discussed. By tackling different types of traumas and anxiety issues, this book is so much more than just a Christmas romance, it gives perspectives by observing traumas through different set of eyes.

I certainly am going to read other books by the same author. Again, thank you netgalley for providing me with a copy of this gem.

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Another great book from Sue! Longing for those cold festive nights now. Great read to curl up with this winter

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Absolutely love a Christmas themed book. Perfect reading for a winter's night. Fast paced, easy to read.

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Christmas themed books are my favourite and this was a great addition to that genre. Makes you feel all festive!

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Let The Festivities Begin…
In Middledip for the Festive season. Laurel has returned looking for a new start but life in Middledip throws up its own brand of stresses and strains. Will things be straightened out in time for a perfect Christmas? Unashamedly full of the festive spirit with a colourful cast of characters and an entertaining storyline. Ideal holiday reading for some guaranteed escapism.

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Just lovely. Gentle romance that brews over the whole book. The book doesn’t shy away from some hard issues and deals with emotional issues, sexual attack and agoraphobia really sensitively. The book is tense and whilst the happy ending is always assumed it could come in so many guises that the ending is always in doubt. Real tender relationships are explored along with the notions of forgiveness and forgetting all very well written. The exploration of art and its many ways of being produced is interesting and done delicately.
Incredibly moving and cute.

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Whats not to love about a Sue Moorcroft book! This one will not disappoint & it also comes with wise words about moving on. Laurel moves bck to Middledip to move in with her sister Rea, who has agraphobia and her neice Daisy. Laurel is recently divorced & is looking for a new begining & hopefully moving to Cornwall to continue her career as an artist. There are bad memories in Middledip which are never far from Laurels thoughts & are exacerbated by seeing the Cassidy brothers. Difficult time ahead for her but will it get better? A lovely Christmas story thats highly recommended.

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So much more than a Christmas read!

Always a delight to return to Middledip too, cant deny a little heart flutter at the mention of Ratty and a delight to pop into the Three Fishes too!

This is a story full of hope, love, friendship, family and community spirit. Mixed with the delicate magic of how Sue explores topics such as Agraphobia, Infertility, Assault and the wonders of art in its many forms from gourd, painting and wreath making (which I'm certainly going to try this year). All of this is why I love reading Sue's books, she transports you, makes you feel for characters and educates.
Another smashing 5* read!

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I want to fist say thank you to the author and NetGalley for giving me the eARC. I want to say that she handle the emotional subjects amazingly, this book talks about bullying, forgiveness, guilt, and more. The book it’s about Lauren going back to middledip temporarily to help her sister that is suffering from Agra phobia, and her nice daisy is also suffering from bullying at school. The author raised awareness about this issues. Lauren is also returning to a place where she had a bad experience when she was young and she is also reunited with her ex boyfriend but things between them are complicated. The book is good and I really like the the authors way of writing.

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Oh this book was just perfection and has gotten me really excited for the Christmas season already!

Sue Moorcroft knows how to write a perfect festive story!

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This is one of my favourite authors.
Set against the chocolate box setting of a small English village at Christmas this is a charming second-chance romance. Love love loved it! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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While apart of a series, this can really be a stand alone. I love the village she takes us to and the characters! I loved the mystery aspect and overall thought it was a great Christmas book!

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Under The Mistletoe
Sue Moorcroft
Under The Mistletoe sends us on a trip to Middledip, a gorgeous village filled with community spirit. Newly single Laurel returns reluctantly to the place which holds some bad memories due to an attack on her while she was a teenager. Laurel is needed as her sister Rea has agoraphobia and it is affecting 14 year old Daisy, Rea's daughter, as she is skipping school and clearly having a hard time.
Although Laurel is dealing with her own demons especially when she comes face to face with her attackers she is set on getting her family back on track by supporting them both. Laurel has a huge quandary when a spark is re-ignited with her old boyfriend Grady.
This story is full of festive fun with the decorated homes of the residents, Christmas fairs, snowy weather and of course the mistletoe. It certainly put me in the Christmas mood even in August!
My thanks to Net Galley and Avon Books for this lovely story that warmed my heart.

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wow! such an amazing story, never normally go for Christmassy books but this one has made me fall in love with them! Can't wait to re-read this at Christmas time, 5/5!!!

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A fabulous festive read, quite gritty and emotional at times, Sue always likes to take her readers on a emotional journey with her characters!
Uplifting and exciting, this lovely book captured my imagination and interest throughout.

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Such a wonderful warm story, full of Christmas and community spirit, I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of visiting Middledip and all the lovely people who live there, I feel very christmassy now

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Chick lit? Romcom? Oh, so much more depth. Sue Moorcroft is one of my favourite authors. She brings characters alive and paints magical descriptions of the village, thee season and Christmas. She also tackles issues with sensitivity - assault, agoraphobia, infertility and bullying and how they can be helped with no quick fixes. She also shows in this book glimpses of what it is like to be an artist and how they see their creations. This all becomes a homogeneous whole that draws you in and keeps you reading to the very last page with a satisfying twist at the end. If you are looking for a Christmas book, you couldn’t do better than this. It is a lovely book and I recommend it.
Thanks to Avon Books and NetGalley for a ARC in return for my honest opinion.

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Laurel has to return to the family home in the little village of Middledip to help her sister, who is suffering from agoraphobia. Whilst there, she finds herself having to face up to a long ago trauma and her teenage past. Will she be able to get beyond her history to settle once again?

Under The Mistletoe is a romance story, but it also tackles some hard hitting emotional issues, bullying and sexual assault. I did find some parts uncomfortable to read, but they were certainly thought provoking.

A great set of believable characters, I loved Lauren's niece Daisy and grumpy Gabe. A good read, definitely won't be my last by this author.

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Review of Under the Mistletoe by Sue Moorcroft

Divorcee Laurel returns home to Middledip to help her sister with her acrophobia and her nieces truancy. Also running into her old boyfriend along the way. I always enjoy Sue Moorcrofts books and this one was no different. An enjoyable read that tackled some difficult subjects. Recommended

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A lovely Christmas book which has many characters facing demons. Laurel returns to Middledip and is the main character, but there is so much else going on. A very Christmassy setting and will not disappoint.

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When her marriage ends after years battling infertility, Laurel temporarily moves back to the village of Middledip to help her sister and niece. She lived in Middledip until she was 16, when she fled after being assaulted.

Laurel's sister, Rea, suffers from agoraphobia and hasn't left the house in a year which has led to Laurel's14 year old niece, Daisy, being bullied at school. Laurel plans to help Rea to go outside and to begin to move past the garden gate, so she can begin to get her life back and help Daisy be a teenager. Laurel has no plan to rekindle her romance with Grady Cassidy, the boyfriend she left behind without a word 19 years ago, but the more they see each other the more the feelings she had at 16 intensify.

Under the Mistletoe has everything I want in a book. The characters are great, the conversations are witty, the problems the characters have seem real and the reader routes for solutions. I really wanted Rea to go for a walk down the lane to feed the horse, Daisy to confront her bullies, and Laurel to let go of the bad things that happened to her before she left the village.

I completely recommend this Christmas themed book which I got from NetGalley.

#NetGalley #SueMoorcroft #HarperCollinsPublishers #HarperCollinsUK #agoraphobia #bullying #infertility #Christmas #ARC

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I found this book difficult to get into I had to keep going back over the first few chapters to get all the names sorted to the characters there was so much information that I got lost and I was ready to give in. Once I got my head round it I really enjoyed it.
I found it to be a very emotional story covering a lot of issues from bullies to love, family issues, medical problems, revenge, and forgiveness.
The story line has been written extremely well and it certainly engaged me.
The main character Laurel has her own problems and demonds to sort out but also has to help her sister who has agoraphobia. She left her home in a small village at the age of 16 but had to return 19 years later because her sister needed her help. It was a hard decision she had to make going back to a place where her memories were not good.
I would definitely recommend this book. And I hope there will be another book to follow on the story.

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A lovely festive tale with a twist on how the past can come back and find its way into your present. Likeable characters and you were rooting for them all even the ones who had done the bad deeds in the past!

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I really enjoyed this book. Laurel had left her childhood home several years ago after suffering a trauma she felt unable to tell anyone about. Her sister is suffering from agoraphobia and needs help not only with her illness but with her troubled teenage daughter. Laurel reluctantly returns but is expecting to move on after a few months. She has an encounter with an old flame who she had left all those years ago without an explanation. She had hoped to avoid this situation but it is in fact the core of the story. There are many issues covered throughout and at times I was not sure what the outcome could be. This book held my attention to the very last page and is one that I would recommend.

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This book was such a lovely Christmas read. What set it apart from others of its kind was the plot addressing some important issues like moving past assault, infertility and Agra phobia. The characters were engaging and I read this book in one sitting. It’s a must read!!

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I enjoyed reading Under the Mistletoe, it is a lovely, well-written story. Although it is a romance it does touch on a lot of issues too, which adds substance to the story. Set in the town of Middledip, where Sue Moorcroft other books have been set, this book has everything you want for a Christmas story, plenty of snow, village events and colourful characters. Add in some drama, misunderstanding and you have a very good read.

The backstories for the characters are well developed and I had an instant connection with them. Laurel is an artist who is returning to the village following her divorce, to help out her agoraphobic sister and niece. I did like Laurel, though at times she was rather annoying and intransigent. I liked Grady, her long-ago boyfriend, he was lovely; very kind and patient too, There are some real personalities in Middledip and they are all involved in making this story come to life.

This is a story of forgiveness and letting go of the past to be able to move on. This is a really good book and a very sweet romance, with a good Christmas vibe and one definitely worth a read.

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I was given this copy of the book by netgalley for an honest review.

The book is mainly about a sexual assualt that happens to the main character Laurel nineteen years ago and how it affects her and those around her when she has to return to her hometown.

The book provides great detail about the Christmas festivities and there are some very interesting ideas being mentioned. However, I found it a bit too descriptive at times.

Also, although thankfully I never experienced such a trauma, and probably cannot be the one to talk about this, the decisions which had to be made by the main character seemed to be too lengthy and unreasonable at times.

All in all I enjoyed this book and could not wait to see how it will eventually end.

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This was a very enjoyable Christmas read. Different and with more depth than the typical Christmas books. Under the Mistletoe tackles forgiveness, agoraphobia and sexual assault but with plenty of Christmassy fun and scenes to soften the tough subjects.
Lauren is a successful artist who returns to Middledip to help her sister, who is suffering from agoraphobia. Coming back to the village means that Lauren has to face a traumatic event from her teens and learn how to move on.
If you like Christmas, snow and romance but prefer strong storylines to predictability, this is worth a read.

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Laura has to return to her childhood home of Middledip to help her sister Rea who is in the grips of Agrophobia. Rea cannot leave the house and her daughter Daisy is having problems at school but Rea cannot deal with them or give her daughter the life she needs,

The last place Laura wants to go is back to her home village. Something dramatic and very hurtful happened to Laura there on her last year at school and she fled.
Laura knows she is sure to come into contact with her first love Grady as well as his brother and it is a reunion she is not looking forward to.

What a lovely story this is . It's about love and family. It's about fear and hope. It's about owning up to your mistakes but not expecting forgiveness.
And finally it's about accepting that past mistakes can't be undone but they can be learned from and then you have to move on.
Sue Moorcroft is becoming one of my favourite authors . I could feel Laura's pain and anguish and also that of her sister. Although two different types of pain to recover from both equally as difficult.
They both have a lot to go through before they can find happiness on the other side.
I just fall into Sue's books and immerse myself in other places and other lives. Love them.

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So cute!! I really loved this one. I got the feeling I was right there. Christmas vibes in September are always welcome. What drew me in was the cover but the story didn't disappoint. I loved the relationship, it was so wholesome and heartwearming.

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I’m really enjoying Sue Moorcroft books especially returning to Middledip, it feels like home.
Laurel returns to Middledip to help her sister, Rea and niece, she is apprehensive but also comforted with familiar surroundings.
Laurel bumps into Grady, her childhood sweetheart, and his brother Mac, helping them out but also not wanting to be near Mac because of something he did before she left.
Typical village life everyone knows you and your business but equally are well meaning and mostly friendly, set around Christmas time with the Xmas lights, fair and family, will Laurel stay or go?

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Welcome to a Middledip Christmas!

As a fan of the author's work for a good while now, I was delighted to find this year's 2nd novel was set in her wonderful construction of, Middledip. All the characters she's populated this village with are back, and it feels like we're back home.

This story contains all the usual humour we've come to expect from Ms Moorcroft, together with a healthy dish of mental and physical bullying to be conquered, as well as dealing with the issue of agoraphobia. This is a beautifully written read which effortlessly switches between laugh out loud moments to those where you find tears streaming down your face without realising it.

Effortlessly drawing you in, this is a book you will find yourself coming back to time and again; and not just at Christmas.

My thanks to Avon and Netgalley for the reading ARC.

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Thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books UK for providing a free ARC in exchange for my honest review.

This was a delightful read that will put you in the holiday spirit! The picturesque village setting was the perfect backdrop to this Christmas romance. The characters are unique and engaging, and I enjoyed the realistic struggles addressed in this story. It was both emotional and uplifting. I would recommend this for anyone wanting a cozy holiday read!

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Four and a half Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭒
Under the Mistletoe by Sue Moorcroft is a lovely, emotional holiday book. It’s not the light, fluffy read that the cover suggests, and is instead a book with flawed characters who deal with some tough issues that the author handles with care and compassion.

After a tough divorce, Laurel heads back to her hometown of Middledip to help her sister Rae, her niece Daisy, and to rest and figure out the rest of her life after her divorce. She runs into her old friend, Grady, who she left suddenly when she left town many years ago. Laurel and Grady were fast becoming more than friends when she suddenly left, and Grady never could figure out why Laurel left town so fast. Laurel also runs into Grady’s brother Mac, who is now a teacher at Daisy’s school. However, Laurel can’t stand to be in the same room as Mac because of something that happened back when they were all in school together. Can Grady and Laurel rekindle something they had all those years ago? And will Laurel be able to spend time with Grady when she can’t even be in the same room with his brother Mac?

This complex story deals with many deep issues to include sexual assault, agoraphobia, and bullying. The author takes these tough issues and deals with them with compassion and empathy. However, the book also has some lighthearted moments and is a heartwarming read all the way through the book. The village of Middledip is full of quaint characters and is a lovely setting for the book. The author brings the village to life with her vivid descriptions of this delightful place.

I highly recommend Under The Mistletoe to anyone who loves a heartwarming Christmas book and doesn’t mind a book that takes on some tough issues. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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A feel good well written romantic story. There are lots of threads to the plot, none of which are dealt with in any great depth which add interest to the story.
Thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books for an advance copy of this book in exchange for a review.

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This book has a lovely Christmassy feel as the villagers dive into community art projects, crafts and a village fair. But, for Laurel, back to support her agoraphobic sister, there are unsettling memories of when she lived here years ago, and falling for her first love all over again was never part of the plan. Especially when his brother was, and still is, the problem. A good cast of characters, some of them familiar from earlier Middledip books, and some serious issues, particularly the long term emotional effects of bullying. A realistic relationship, with a big dilemma to overcome. And the healing power of animals. I enjoyed it.

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Liked the book overall. Felt a bit heavy after reading this and incapable of forming words since it's going to take a long time for me to come back to the present.

Strong characters and heavy subject(s) - presented beautifully.

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I absolutely loved this book! It’s definitely going to be one I buy for friends as a stocking filler gift.

Grab yourself a cup of hot chocolate or glass of red wine and get comfy on the sofa because you wont be moving once you start reading.

The book deals with some challenging topics, bullying, sexual assault and infertility to name just 3 but it is so much more. It’s beautifully written with stunning descriptions and perfectly scripted dialogue.

The characters are all people we could have met personally as we go about our day to day lives and that’s what makes it such a fab read. Underneath it all is a theme of forgiveness, moving on from the past and starting over.

An absolutely 5star read, let yourself be transported to Middledip and join in the romance and the drama of Laurel, Rea and Daisy.

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A real heart warming book to snuggle up with over the festive period. Quite engaging but with serious issues beneath the surface, primarily bullying and the impact thereof over the years which some people can deal with better than others. Also tackled is the very real problem of agoraphobia which seems a lot more common these days as people try and regain confidence after enforced lockdowns and keeping apart from normal social interaction. Believably depicted characters with those tackling and coming to terms with real issues and those on the periphery taking life at face value. Real village life with lots of threads and relationships but essentially on many levels that life is in a small community. Sue Moorcroft at her best making us think whilst giving us a stunning seasonal read

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This story wasn’t what I was expecting. Loved the return of Laurel to her childhood home and village but that also brings the memories she choose to leave behind. Enjoyed the story and the characters too.

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This is Sue Moorcroft back to her best after a disappointing summer novel. Full of Christmas spirit with interesting characters and insightful descriptions of their problems. It’s well written and well paced. A Christmas story full of hope and recovery.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to read this book.

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Each book I read by Sue Moorcroft only cements my admiration for her work. I find her books totally impossible to put down, and keep promising myself 'just one more chapter' resulting in very late nights, and a mad dash to work in the morning!  They are extremely well written with very relatable characters, and if you haven't read any of her books you have a real treat awaiting you.

This book follows Laurel who, after her divorce, comes back to the village she grew up in to support her elder sister Ria, and Ria's daughter Daisy. Ria has agoraphobia and it has become so bad that she cannot leave the house, to the detriment of her teenage daughter. Laurel feel a debt to the sister she loves, so she moves back to the village she ran away from many years before, despite the fact that the cause of her distress and flight, are still living there. What she doesn't anticipate is falling back in love with her first love, but the problems between them seem insurmountable.

This is a feel good, Christmassy book, but one I'd read happily at any time of the year. I can't wait for the next one!


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Lovely festive feel good book! The storyline and characters are so relatable! Sit back with a cup of hot chocolate and relax with this beautiful story.

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I always enjoy reading Sue Moorcroft’a books and this one is no exception.
Under the Mistletoe is an emotional read with some hard issues covered sensitively and with warmth and compassion.
Laurel is a great main character and I loved her relationship with Rea and Daisy - the warmth and support provided to her family was wonderful to read about.
Amongst the difficult topics covered, Sue Moorcroft also writes a lot of lighthearted moments and together with the beautiful descriptions of Laurel’s art, this make it a read to recommend.

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Laurel has split up with her husband over her infertility and moves back to her childhood home to help her sister Rea and her daughter Daisy as Rea is agoraphobic
Grady who was Laurel's boyfriend when they were teenagers is also getting over his breakup and certainly isn't expecting to see Laurel back in the village after her suddenly leaving him with no explanation
A lovely story of the two of them reconnecting and secrets coming out explaining the past
Loved it, a fab story

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Another lovely book by Sue Moorcroft!
Set in the village Middledip it follows the story of Laurel who has returned after a divorce to help her sister Rea.
It covers sibling relationships along with bullying which Laurel was the victim of during her youth. She has to face up to reality on her return to the village and deal with this aspect if she wants to keep her relationship strong with Grady…… her first love!

A lovely Christmas romantic read to snuggle down with and enjoy every page.

Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for an ARC!

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I love Sue Moorcroft's books for their pure escapism and interesting characters. Although essentially a romance this story deals with many issues including bullying, body image, agoraphobia and sibling relationships. Once again we are in the fictional village of Middledip, with its population of community minded individuals who love good causes and get together, especially in the run up to Christmas. Snuggle down under the duvet or in front of the fire and enjoy.

Thanks to Net Galley and the publishers for the opportunity to review this book.

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Another fantastic book by Sue Moorcroft. Set in the village of Middledip the story follows Laurel as she returns to the village to help her sister and niece. She is confronted by an incident that happened in the past by the brother of her first love but can she forgive him so she can resume her relationship with Grady. You’ll have to read this to find out. A great Christmas romance which will get you festive as well as stirring other emotions. A hard read in places but sensitively done. Thanks to Sue Moorcroft her publishers and NetGalley.

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Under the Mistletoe is Sue Moorcroft’s festive novel. We join Laurel as she returns to her childhood home in the quaint village of Middledip. Recently divorced, she’s looking for a quiet life helping out her sister, Rea and niece. However her path soon crossed with old flame Grady Cassidy and it seems her new adventure in Middledip will be less quiet than she hoped. It feels as if Laurel and Grady can pick up where they left off but Laurel can’t shake off what happened nineteen years ago and the reason she chose to leave the village.

This novel deals with many subjects, sexual assault, agoraphobia and bullying alongside family, friendships and new starts. There are some truly wonderful characters and they all add to the plot line. A fabulous festive read that you will find truly heartwarming.

Thank you to NetGalley, Avon Books and the author for the chance to review.

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What a lovely Christmas read. Really enjoyed it. Not what I was expecting, not a usual Christmas romance in my eyes, but such a good read. Great characters and storyline.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for allowing me an Arc in exchange for an honest review

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Christmas. I love Christmas and all things related to Christmas and that includes books and reading. And this was an Christmas romance with a difference, had a good story line and good characters.

I love the quaint village of Middledip I love that it isn't an airy fairy romance but dealt with problems in the real world and I love that it also has some fun, humour and light-heartened moments.

Laurel is a strong woman, coping with what life has thrown at her and in the end she is able to let go. She is talented (love the description of her artwork) and she strong.

A great read for someone who is not a huge lover of the romance genre as it has so much more and is a complete story about life more than love.

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Sue always deals with hard issues so expertly and this story is no exception. Set in gorgeous Middledip Sue weaves the festive preparations alongside strong issue such as bullying, infertility and agoraphobia. When the newly-divorced Laurel returns to the village to help her sister who is suffering from agoraphobia she struggles to forgive the perpetrators whose abuse made her flee the village as a teenager. To make matter worse, her old attraction for Grady, the brother of one of the perpetrators, surface and are reciprocated. It helps that the bullies regret the incident and apologise but they hurt her so much Laurel isn’t sure they deserve forgiveness. Difficult decisions, love, family, friendship and Christmas cheer all combine to make this a compelling read. infertility

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I've always enjoyed reading Sue Moorcroft's books and despite some difficult topics in this novel, namely bullying, sexual assault and infertility she writes with empathy and compassion.
Laurel has returned to the village she left to assist her sister and niece as they go through some trying times, however being back in the village brings its own problems for Laurel as she has to face the perpetrator of an attack whilst a teenager that no-one knows about.
The village is a lovely cosy village with great involvement from all villagers as they come together to promote a Christmas art festival.
Laurel has to decide if the past is going to take over a new life she could make for herself.
A really lovely read perfect for the holidays
Many thanks to Netgalley and publishers for the opportunity to read this advanced copy in exchange for my honest review

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A combination of festive magic, family, friendship ,love and hope, all written about beautifully. A perfect read to curl up with on a cold evening with a nice cuppa which I can not recommend highly enough.
There are some very difficult subject matters addressed in this book but they are approached with sensitivity , empathy and understanding. I would not have expected to have found the subjects of infertility and agoraphobia (to mention just two of the difficult subject matters) in such a festive read however, they are integral parts of the story and learning how people cope with these issues was both interesting and enlightening. It was written in such a way that you could see all perspectives and how such issues impact on the every day lives of all those involved. The characters were believable and you felt joy at the small victories they managed to achieve.
Throughout the book an old friendship/first love is rekindled but, due to past ghosts and other peoples behaviour it feels doomed from the start. By the end of the book I was literally cheering them on, crossing my fingers and hoping for a festive happy ending.

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Things I loved: second chance romance, agoraphobia rep, Christmas
Things I didn't love: seemed like a lot was going on at once
Laurel Hill is back in her hometown of Middledip to support her sister dealing with agoraphobia and investigate her niece's recent truancy. But, unfortunately, she comes face to face with the man she's been running from for almost 20 years, Mac Cassidy. He's the brother of her first love, Grady, and in need of her help as soon as she gets to town, throwing her back to why she left all those years ago. However, the more time she spends in her hometown, the more it begins to feel like home. But can she remain happy while constantly haunted by her past with Mac Cassidy?
I honestly don't know how I feel about this book. The climax kind of felt like a pile on. From the assault to bullying to infertility to anxiety and panic attacks, a lot was going on. But, I will say that I was thoroughly entertained throughout the story. The way Laurel readily stepped in to help her sister Rea, and niece Daisy was admirable. I was also very proud of Laurel for standing her ground and constantly sticking up for herself.
Overall, I give this book a 3.75/5. The author did an excellent job navigating the difficult conversations around infertility, assault, bullying, and agoraphobia.

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This was a cute holiday story and I know that our patrons will love it. I've ordered a couple of copies for the collection. Thank you!

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A really well written book. I have to admit I didn't quite expect the story lines ( not trigger warnings for bullying, sexual assault, infertility and agoraphobia) based on the pretty cover. This was very different from the usual Christmas reads. That said it addressed the emotional issues with sensitivity and tact. and added the festive activities that really gave it a lift.
The characters are well developed and easy to get on board with. The main character Laurel was very 'human' that really made this feel very real.
The setting of Middledip was simply gorgeous. Well created and described, it allowed you to feel you were walking the streets yourself alongside the characters.
An emotional Christmas read, with added drama alongside the festivities.

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This book has everything you expect to see from a Sue Moorecroft book. It’s festive and emotional yet handled with sensitivity and integrity.
I really enjoyed this and has further cemented my love of Sue’s books.

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Book Review: Under the Mistletoe by Sue Moorcroft

Book Review
Under the Mistletoe by Sue Moorcroft
Publication Date: October 28th, 2021
4☆☆☆☆ for a holiday read featuring a cute English village, talented artists with complicated pasts and, you guessed it, mistletoe

This was a fun yet serious holiday read. Our heroine, Laurel, has just moved back to her hometown, a small English village, to live with her sister and niece. She is thrown automatically back into the lives of the Cassidy brothers: Mac and Grady. Grady and Laurel had a bit of a thing going on as teenagers but an awful night at the hands of Mac and his friends sent Laurel running and she’s barely been back.

Fresh from her divorce and seemingly finally at peace with her infertility, Laurel is a successful artist who plans to paint while caring for her agoraphobic sister and niece Daisy who needs a stronger adult presence to help guide her as she too, it turns out, is suffering at the hands of bullies.

You won’t be surprised to learn that Laurel and Grady fall back to their teenage ways but it’s not clear how they’re going to move past what happened between Laurel and Mac. It’s also important to know that Grady never knew what had happened and a sneaky character inserts themselves into the story, throwing things out of whack for our main couple - yet it moves the story along and towards the ending, or new beginning, that Moorcroft leads us to.

There’s a lot here, to name a few - bullying, sexual assault, mental health struggles, and complicated family relationships.

It’s not just a feel good Christmas story full of romance, mistletoe and lust...but those key elements make appearances so you can still check those boxes - just don’t expect a walk through a snow-covered English village devoid of struggle which I think makes it a much more interesting read.

I’d recommend it to anyone who appreciates complex characters and complex situations that they have to work themselves through during the “happiest” time of the year.

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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy.

Parts of this story can/will be uncomfortable to read, as we understand the reasons why Laurel hadn’t returned to Middledip for a long time. There is, another issue with her sister Rea that was written sensitively and was lovely to see progress.

This is part of the book builds on the reality of the characters who were very well written and relatable.

Daisy, whose Laurel's niece was lovely, she too has a storyline, also written beautifully. Apart from this, we are invited to Christmas at the village, where there’s loads of fabulous crafts and food. As well a romance, that isn’t smooth sailing and can go amiss, making it hard to guess what will happen in the end.

Laurel is a professional artist and her niece Daisy has her own little venture making Christmas wreaths. Then there’s Grady, whose has his own talents, spray painting artistic designs onto cars, and decorating gourds.

Forgiveness is the message throughout the story, and if it’s better to forgive.

An enjoyable book from Sue,, wishing whilst reading it that I could make some of the things that sounded so so good.

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A very enjoyable Christmas story. After her divorce Laurel returns to her family home in the village of Middledip, to stay with her sister Rea, and Rea’s fourteen year old daughter Daisy. Rea is having a hard time, she has developed agoraphobia, and she is glad of Laurel’s support. It is a few weeks before Christmas and the weather is freezing. Laurel is a successful artist, and is planning to use her mother’s old studio, in the garden of their house, as her art studio.

Laurel and Daisy go shopping in the nearest town, and on the way home they are flagged down by a man, and they notice another man standing beside a car, and he doesn’t appear to be wearing trousers. The first man knocks on the car window, and she recognises him as Grady Cassidy, her boyfriend when they were sixteen, nineteen years ago. Daisy recognises the other man, Grady’s brother Mac, the Head of Year at her school. Laurel has a history with Mac, and it is not a happy one, he was involved in a terrifying incident that caused her to leave the village, and stay with her aunt in the town while she finished school and college. Very few people know about it. When Laurel realises it is him she finds that her hatred of him has not diminished at all in all the years since she last lived in the village. The men had stopped to help with a car that had apparently broken down, but five young men jumped out and attacked them, taking Mac’s jeans and boots, the car keys and both their phones, and attached Mac to the car door handle with cable ties, before driving off. They were stranded and freezing. Despite having thoughts about the revenge of just driving off and leaving them, she finds a tool to free Mac in her car boot, then drives them home. It is only when they are nearly home that the brothers realise she is Laurel.

Laurel settles into village life, renewing her acquaintance with quite a few of the local people. She gets started on a new painting, and helps out with local Christmas plans. She has to take Daisy to school one day to help her sort out an upsetting problem. She gets close to Grady again, finding that their feelings for each other are every bit s strong as thy were when they were teenagers, but the spectre of her feelings about Mac threaten their relationship. Grady has issues of his own that have affected his life and need to be resolved.

Although a mostly happy, and often amusing story it does deal with some serious issues, and shows how different people handle these issues in different ways. It takes several things happening in a very short time for Laurel to finally give up her desire for revenge against Mac, and be able to move on with her life. Sue Moorcroft writes about the people on the village with such warmth that they feel entirely real. The serious issues in the story are dealt with in a real and sympathetic way that is totally appropriate. All in all, an excellent story and well worth reading.

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This was a really good read. Easy story to follow, charming setting and great characters. Really enjoyed it.

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I love Sue Moorcroft books and I think have read all of her titles. I particularly like the Middledip books with their mentions of locations and characters from previous novels (still secretly in love with Ratty!).

As always, Sue provides great characters who you care about and a super story. I wasn’t quite prepared for how much this latest book would affect me emotionally as I related completely with Laurel’s issues with bullying and body shaming in her teens. Often shouting “me too” at my kindle, I’m hoping the experience of reading this book was cathartic for me as it dredged up challenging memories of my own.

Sue has a knack of putting her characters up against difficult issues that are hard to resolve. The novel had me longing for snowflakes in the air and I’m just off to collect some natural materials for a Christmas wreath. As always I read the book too quickly and need a new Sue Moorcroft already.

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I loveeeed this book!

It wasn't your straight up boy meets girl read.

It covers several difficult subjects which for me demonstrated life is sometimes messy and it's great to see that represented in fiction!

At times reading this I genuinely felt like I was going through emotional turmoil and had to put the book down!

I found the Laurel and Mac relationship difficult to read. Part of me wanted her to carry on resenting him forever! Then the other part was saying it's in the past just let it be!

The setting was done brilliantly! Having read this early a Christmas book in October felt alien. But it just verges nicely on seasonal build up. Enough to get excited but not so much that your overly aware of reading a Christmas book.

I'd say it wasn't quite the cosy read I thought it would be. But I got alot more than I bargained for with this story!

Perhaps a trigger warning might be useful to cover this book.

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A poignant, heartwarming and well written story, festive but also darker than the usual Christmas rom-com.
The author delivers a cast of fleshed out and interesting characters, an excellent plot that flows, and lot of emotions.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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Christmas can sometimes bring back bad memories, and that is certainly the case for Laurel when she has to return to her childhood home village to care for her sister and niece.
Bumping into her first love, Grady, was exactly what she didn't want.
Unable to recover from trauma of the past, how can Laurel move forward with Grady now?
A page turner of a story with plenty of Christmas feels.

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Although this is a Christmas book, it's not all snowflakes & sparkles. The book does feature subjects that make for slightly uncomfortable reading but are tackled & written about very well, these include agraphobia, fertility issues and assault. It's not all gloomy though, this book has so much more to offer, love, secrets, friendships, forgiveness, beautifully described artwork. It's definitely worth reading.

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Sue Moorcroft has come up with another Christmas Cracker of a read, including an always welcome return to Middledip.

I'll admit at times it can be rather uncomfortable reading as we get the details as to just why Laurel has rarely returned to Middledip until now. Equally there is another strong but equally sensitively written storyline involving Rea, her sister, which is interesting to see develop.

But that is just a small part of the book and adds to the depth and reality of these characters who were really well written that I felt as though I knew them.

And Laurel's niece Daisy is lovely too, and also has a tricky storyline at one point. The rest of the time we are treated to the village at Christmas, with loads of fabulous crafts, and a romance that has the potential to go very awry and definitely isn't smooth sailing at all. To the extent that I really wasn't positive about the final outcome until I read it with my own eyes!

From Laurel who is a professional fine artist, to Daisy with her Christmas wreath enterprise, to Grady who is both talented at spray painting artistic designs onto cars, as well as decorating gourds, to all manner of other crafty wares, this all helps to give the book a creative but also cosy feel .

The theme of forgiveness is strong throughout, and whether it is better to forgive, why people may apologise and some various barbs while a character is thinking revenge may make them feel better than forgiving!

I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful new book from an always talented and compelling to read author. I was incredibly happy to be between these pages while I was reading it, and I was left with a smile, and a feeling that I wish I was craftier as some of the things being made sounded so so good!

Thank you to Avon and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

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This book was not just the old lovers to new lovers with baggage trope, and it was clear that a large amount of research was undertaken before assigning real topics to characteristics of our main and sub-characters. With issues such as Sexual assault PTSD and Agoraphobia a fine line can be trampled all over into making it seem like these are only a characters identity, but this misjudgement has not been made and it makes the story the better for it.
These characters seem real and this is brilliant, to take infertility as a issue that can anchor a couple together instead of tear them apart is an amazing thing to do and for me Sue Moorcroft is a true artist to her trade. There were points that I felt like laughing and points that I felt like crying and this rollercoaster of emotions was felt by myself and the characters. This is a perfect read for Christmas which is still cosy and passionate whilst taking a stand for serious issues that can affect an everyday person.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from #netgalley , thank you. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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I've come to expect extra depth from Sue Moorcroft's romantic novels - she doesn't shy away from challenging issues. Despite its light-hearted title, Under the Mistletoe is no exception, dealing as it does with emotional problems like teenage bullying, agoraphobia and infertility as well as an issue that's been highlighted by the #metoo movement - historic sexual assault.
An incident in her teen years has affected heroine Laurel Hill's whole life. When she returns to Middledip village to look after her agoraphobic sister and her teenage niece, she finds she must not only help them with their daily challenges, but confront her own demons if she is to move on and find lasting love and happiness.
There's plenty Christmas content here, with snowy scenes, and carol singing, the making of Christmas wreaths and festive fayres, but don't expect too much superficial glitter and tinsel.
This story really brings into focus the true meaning of Christmas - it's a time for peace, joy, hope and reconciliation. But can Laurel find any of these things if she can't find it in her heart to forgive, if not forget?
With heroes Laurel and her love interest Grady taking central stage, a strong supporting cast of characters in their friends and family, and a thought-provoking plot, Under The Mistletoe made my return to Sue Moorcroft's Middledip even more enjoyable than usual this year.

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You can't go wrong with any novel written by Sue Moorcroft, there is always a great read awaiting you. This is worth far more than the 5 stars that I am giving this book. Settle down and get into this story, you will be glad you did. I highly recommend this.

Thanks to Netgalley and publisher for this e ARC

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Know in advance that this is a more serious novel than you might expect from the cheery cover- but it's also a better one for it. Laurel, an artist has reluctantly come back to Middledip because her sister Rae's agoraphobia is raging and her teenage niece Daisy is running wild. She left the village after a horrible incident years ago, leaving behind a good guy in Grady, who didn't understand it. Now, she's learned Grady's older brother Mac, the source of her pain, is the fattier of Daisy's friend and the Head of Year at her school. This group needs to resolve lingering bad things and move forward. Know that this never gets too heavy. that it's leavened with humor, and that there's lots of love. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. A. good read.

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Another enjoyable book featuring characters and locations from previous books, but with new main characters. Will share full review on the blog tour

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This is my first visit to Middledip, and I loved it as a setting. It epitomises everything a reader wants – a good sense of community, a great and memorable cast of characters and was delightful to visualise especially coated in snow and Christmas decorations. It provided the ideal backdrop for this story.
Laurel was an easy character to relate to as she comes back to help her sister who has agoraphobia. This isn’t the only heavy topic covered. It also dealt with sexual assault and bullying. All of these were dealt with sensitively and with compassion. It is the consequences of the sexual assault that is focussed on throughout and how it not only affected the person involved but those around them despite years past. This may be triggering for some and I did find it harder to relax into this book as much as I usually do with festive novels for this reason but I adored Sue Moorcroft’s style, depth of character and warmth so I will be reading some more of her work especially the festive ones.
Laurel is an artist and the descriptions of her working alongside the villagers and Grady, her love interest was magical and their relationship and chemistry was authentic.

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Laurel never planned to find herself back in Middledip – when her marriage ended, she’d planned to head for Cornwall, find a home where she could pursue her life as a successful artist – but when sister Rea along with daughter Daisy really need her support, she instead finds herself back at The Nookery, setting up her easel in the garden studio that once belonged to her mother. She left the village when she was a teenager, after a disturbing event that had still has considerable repercussions on her in adulthood – an incident that she’s kept secret from all but those closest to her.

When she left Middledip, her relationship with Grady had hardly begun – and she’s delighted to find there might be the opportunity for a second chance when they find their spark of attraction is still very much alive. But as they grow closer, there are major obstacles to their happiness – being able to move on takes a lot more than a “sorry” for the events of the past from the individuals involved.

While I’m focusing on the romance – and it’s one I became particularly invested in, really liking both characters – there’s a great deal more to this book than that. There’s a lot of love in this book, and it’s not all between Laurel and Grady – there’s a particularly strong focus on family ties and loyalties and what they mean to the individuals involved, through Laurel’s support for her sister, her lighter relationship with young Daisy, and all those other layers of complication that mean theirs will never be a smooth-running love story. There are some pretty serious issues here, very realistically portrayed and sensitively handled – everything is emotionally well-judged throughout, the darker moments well balanced by the overall lightness of the story.

It’s impossible not to have a smile on your face when in Daisy’s company – she’s a very real young teen, concerned about her mother but excited by the approach of Christmas and the plans the village has to celebrate it. The wreaths she makes (and sells – quite the entrepreneur!) using foliage gathered on Gabe’s farm are only the beginning – there’s the art trail around the village too, everyone illuminating one of their front windows and displaying their wares, and the ambitious plans for Middledip Christmas Fair. The snow falls, there are plenty of twinkling lights, times when the villagers pull together, those poignant family moments, the occasional well-timed Christmas carol in the background – it’s all most certainly every bit as Christmassy as you could possibly hope for.

I also very much enjoyed reading about all the various artistic endeavours – thanks to Laurel, I think I could now successfully paint a Christmas tree, and found Grady’s vehicle spray painting and his artistic gourds equally fascinating. The wider community is really well drawn too, and it was lovely to stumble across a few minor characters familiar from other Middledip-based books – nothing to worry about if you’re a first-time reader, but as a fan, that’s always a particular treat.

I really enjoyed this one – a romantic festive read, heartwarming and uplifting, but with a great deal more depth than you might be expecting. Highly recommended by me!

(Review copied to Amazon UK, but link not yet available)

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Thank you Netgalley and Avon Books UK for the opportunity to read and review this.

This is a moving story touching on serious issues including bullying, assault and agoraphobia and the effect of these on one's life. While there are those who say it is easy to forgive and forget, the victims tell a different story, as there are those who still suffer from the trauma from these events. People change as they grow up, something that isn't always seen, and for victims of bullying, they will always see their perpetrator as that same person as during their youth, which makes it harder for them to see the people are no longer the same as they were.

This touching story follows Laurel, who left her home town Middledip, after a traumatic event, an event that still haunts her to this day, to help with her older sister (Rea) who suffers from agoraphobia, and teenage niece (Daisy), who is being bullied by her peers.

This is a moving story, that shows the strength that each of these women has, while not easily seen and recognised, and how each of them come has to face their fears / past.

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This book is set in Middledip, the setting of many of Sue Moorcroft's books. This is a standalone book, but a lot of the previous characters do feature in this book.
This book deals with some heavy and difficult subjects but also manages to be festive and heartwarming.
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for my ARC.

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A very moving story with serious undertones including bullying, assault and agoraphobia and the effect of these. Whilst it deals with these difficult subjects, though, there is also hope and forgiveness, although not always easily. People change as they grow up, which isn't always recognised, and what they might have done as a teenager could be abhorrent to them now as it was to the recipient. This story is then wrapped in my favourite setting, a small community, with snow and Christmas to come. Not a light read, but ideal if you want something a little bit deeper than a romcom (not that there is anything wrong with those).
I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher through Netgalley, however this did not influence my review of the book.

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Laurel returns to Middledip, hoping for a less hectic lifestyle. She left the village years before, after a traumatic incident, and hopes she can put this behind her. Her sister needs her help, and then there's meeting her first love again. Life is busy but will it be happier?

A festive-themed story that insightfully explores relevant contemporary issues. There is a conflicted second chance romance and a cast of relatable characters immersing the reader in festive village life. The balance of lighthearted elements and poignancy add to the story's authenticity.

This is an engaging, festive story with contemporary themes and a heartwarming community spirit.

I received a copy of this book from Avon Books UK in return for an honest review.

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I've read this book both as an audiobook and as an ebook, and I enjoyed both very much. I might be a bit partial towards the audio version because the narrator Olivia Mace does a really great job and is definitely an added bonus.
Sue Moorcroft knows how to write a good story beautifully, I've read a few of her books now and I've never been disappointed.
There are many difficult themes in this one (bullying, agoraphobia, assault, ptsd, infertility) and they are all treated very sensitively in the set of a beautiful Christmas story.

Thank you to NetGalley and Avon books for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.

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Under the Mistletoe - Sue Moorcroft

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

When Laurel returns to the village of Middledip, she’s looking for a quiet life. Adjusting to her recent divorce, she’s ready to spend some time getting back on her feet amidst the glorious snow-dusted countryside.

Yet, life in Middledip is far from straightforward. Coming to the aid of her sister, Rea, as she navigates her own troubles, Laurel barely has a moment to think about where her own life is going.

Sue Moorcroft is one of those authors that I just enjoy everything they write. This is an emotional story with some difficult issues handled in a very sensitive way. It is not a light read, but is a lovely and emotional holiday book. It was lovely to return to the village of Middledip.

In various different places I found myself falling into the trap of 'just one more chapter'. Whilst this is ultimately a Christmas book, it could easily be read at any time of year. The audiobook version is narrated by Olivia Mace and she has successfully managed to add to the atmosphere.

Rating 4/5

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We are back in the village of Middledip and meet Laurel who has just returned to stay with her sister and niece following her divorce. Feelings that Laurel’s struggled to cope with come back to haunt her when she bumps into old flame, Grady and his brother, Mac. I loved Laurel’s character and really felt for her, not just for her current situation but for what she experienced as a teenager. Lauren is such a nice character and her relationship with her sister and niece was so heart-warming!

The book is, of course, Christmas themed, and it give us all the delights of the festive season. The little village of Middledip sounds wonderful and the images of it covered in snow makes it all the more special! The storyline flowed very well and by the end of the first chapter I was well and truly hooked into Laurel and Grady’s stories. It’s not all light-hearted Christmas fun though and there are some difficult topics dealt with throughout the book. The emotions that run through the characters is well portrayed and I found myself feeling these as I read. The difficult storylines of bullying, assault, mental health issues and infertility are interspersed with arts and crafts, animals, Christmas, good friends and close family and this creates the perfect balance for a good all-round book!

The characters were all very likeable, the plot was perfectly paced and as I read, I felt like I was right there in the Middledip amongst everyone! The author has a great knack of creating characters and scenarios that could be actual real life, and not only did I feel suitably festive by the end of the book I also was left with a smile on my face and a warm feeling in my heart! I shall look forward to another visit to Middledip! This was a wonderful read which I enjoyed immensely!

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After a traumatic divorce, Laurel reluctantly heads home to Middledip. Her sister Rea needs her help. and despite the difficult associations from the past that Laurel has with the village, she wants to be there for her sister plus she needs somewhere to recharge and workout where her life goes from here.
Then along comes Grady… whom Laurel once loved so deeply. Unfortunately, his brother Mac is also still around and was the reason Laurel first left Middledip.
Laurel and Grady find that their old spark is still there, but with the ghosts and secrets of the past hanging around, can they make their love work?

This is a story full of light and shade. Sue Moorcroft writes about some difficult and emotional issues, with great sympathy and understanding. There are also lighter moments that will fill your heart with warm and fuzzies.

Rea and her daughter Daisy also have their own strands of the story in this book, which are equally emotional, heartwarming and well written.

I loved the crafting theme that runs through the story too.

Sue Moorcroft writes reliably good books, and this one doesn’t disappoint. A trip to Middledip is always a treat.

Under The Mistletoe is full of great characters. I especially loved Grady, who is such a sweetie.

To sum it all up, this is a sparkling Christmas story, full of warmth, family bonds, love, crafts and forgiveness.
A beautiful story full of depth, emotion and joy.

With thanks to #NetGalley and #Avon for an ARC of #UnderTheMistletoe by #SueMoorcroft.
Publication date 28/10/21

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I make no secret that Sue Moorcroft is one of my favourite authors, in fact, if you weren’t aware, you must be a new reader to my blog; welcome! It would be an easy assumption that my review of Sue’s book would be only ever complimentary, however, I hold myself to a higher standard and will only ever review honestly. So, trust me when I say that this story is an absolute triumph!
Driven by her sister’s need for help and support, Laurel returns to Middledip, the village where she grew up. Once there, she must face her own demons, the reason why she left in the first place. Her teenage crush is still living in the village, but so is his brother, one of the root causes of Laurel’s anguish and subsequent flight when she was still a young girl.
There are some challenging topics in this book as we learn more about Laurel’s past and her sister’s current condition. This is not an easy read, but the content is handled sensitively. Despite the somewhat darker threads, this is still a Christmas book. The joy of the season runs through the centre of the story as we follow the village’s efforts to share the Christmas Spirit.
A few Middledip regulars make appearances, Carola, Gabe and, of course, Ratty all play their parts as we learn more about what has so deeply affected the sisters. For me, Daisy was a great character her ability to be a ‘normal’ teenager despite her Mum’s issues was refreshing. When I say normal, that includes handling bullying as part of her daily life.
There is a lovely focus on arts and crafts as the villagers work together to create an artistic trail which acts as a storefront for the individual makers. My imagination was caught by Laurel’s painting. The passages about painting the dancer were captivating, and I felt myself leaning into the poses being described.
If I had to find fault with this book, it would be that it ended too soon and now I have to wait for, probably months, the next offering. If you haven’t discovered Sue Moorcroft yet, now is a good time to start.

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This book had a perfect start! It was very intriguing and pulled me in wanting to know more about the characters.
I am obsessed with Grady. He is the perfect boyfriend! He is super patient with Laurel and is there for her and is so understanding about everything she’s gone through. I love how he created a safe space for Laurel and kept making sure she was in a safe environment mentally in the bedroom.
I am so happy to see that Laurel was able to become strong after the assault and stood up for herself. I liked how she was able to express herself through painting. Her relationship with her niece and sister was really sweet and I love her patience with her sister’s illness. I liked that she didn’t push her sister to try to overcome but more to take small steps.
My only complaint was that it seemed that Laurel couldn’t not move on but yet she didn’t want to stay in the past. At times I just wanted to shake her and yell that the only way it’s going to get better and the only way you can be happy is if you try to change for the better and move on! At the end we get a happy ending and the story was beautifully written.
Definitely recommend reading this!

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I usually love all Christmas books, but although this is a good read, and the Christmas crafts are good, it didn't wow me. This is an anytime book as the Christmas stuff is a by the way.
Laurel Hill returns to her home village to help her sister Rea out. The main theme is bullying, forgiveness, life and what that brings good and bad.
Good themes and well researched and written.
Thank you NetGalley for the early read

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Following a difficult divorce, Laurel, returns home to get her life back under control. This book deals with many tough issues. The author has written with compassion and covers the sensitive areas well. Not an easy, jolly Christmas read but enjoyable.

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I loved this book a lot, although some of it I found uncomfortable to read, and it made me feel quite emotional. However, the traumatic subjects of the book which made me feel uncomfortable were there for a reason, and I know that this will help a lot of people who have experienced the same kind of trauma. So in that respect, the author has managed to put a lot of things in the book which may help people to heal, and this was brave of her. The book is not a fluffy, light-hearted, totally cosy read. It is quite in-depth emotionally, with some seasonal sprinkles and romance scattered throughout.

The story is about a woman called Laurel who comes back to Middledip to help her sister Rea and her niece Daisy. Rea has mental health problems and she finds it hard to leave the house. Daisy is being bullied at school and has been refusing to go to school.

Laurel meets her ex boyfriend Grady and they become close again. But she has to face up to something traumatic that happened to her when they were teenagers. This trauma takes up much of the book. She finds it hard to forgive her perpetrators, especially as one of them is Grady's brother Mac.

Nearer the end of the book is where the Christmas part of the story comes in and this is more delightful. Will Laurel, Grady, Rea and Daisy overcome their problems and traumas so that they can enjoy the Christmas season? You will have to read the book to find out! Great book!

Many thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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