Underneath the Christmas Tree by Heidi Swain: Brimming with emotion, drama, romance and friendship - book review -
The Christmas tree business so lovingly nurtured by her father has never taken root in Liza Wynter’s heart.
And now, four years after his death, Liza is determined to sever all ties with the company and branch out and make a fresh start… but what she hasn’t reckoned on is the best efforts of her father’s business partner and his son, Ned, to change her mind.
If you need to escape another year of pandemic blues, recharge your feelgood batteries with a wonderful winter warmer from Heidi Swain, the much-loved author who has won thousands of hearts with her enchanting books set in a fictional corner of picturesque Norfolk, a place where love blossoms whatever the season.
In Underneath the Christmas Tree, we revisit the coastal resort of Wynmouth for a tasty treat full of caring community spirit, inspirational friendships, the green shoots of new love, and a celebration of all things festive.
Wynter’s Trees truly is so much more than just a Christmas tree plantation. For the people of Wynmouth, it’s an institution, a local treasure, and a much-loved focal point of the county’s festive calendar.
The firm was the pride and joy of Liza Wynter’s dad who sold up their home in the Scottish borders and moved to Norfolk to follow his tree-growing dream just a few months after the death of Liza’s beloved mother.
It was a traumatic move from all that the eleven-year-old Liza had ever known and she has never been able to invest emotionally or physically in the business despite a constant campaign to change her mind by her dad and his business partner, David, who now runs the operation with his son Ned.
Since her father’s death, Wynter’s Trees has become a millstone round her neck and she is set on selling her shares to David and leaving the country to embark on a trip of a lifetime. But Liza’s plans are thrown into disarray when David announces that he wants to retire and she must go back to handle the transition to his son.
And when Liza arrives back in Wynmouth, she discovers a much-loved business that is flourishing under handsome hunk Ned’s stewardship. She agrees to stay and help for the Christmas season, but then she will definitely be leaving for good.
Will the place her father loved finally make her change her mind, and can it weave its Christmas magic around her heart?
Swain, who lives with her family in south Norfolk, has a well-earned reputation for heartwarming and entertaining stories and this glittering Christmas cracker showcases her talent for blending escapist romance and a perfectly imagined cast of characters with some resonant, real-life issues.
In the author’s trademark style, relationships and family conflicts are explored with warmth, compassion, humour and empathy, and expect to fall head over heels for Ned’s show-stealing husky dog, Bandit.
Brimming with emotion, drama, romance and friendship, and guaranteed to leave readers with a much-need sense of optimism, this simmering, snow-sprinkled tale – with its tantalising air of magic and cosy blanket of love and laughter – is the ideal warm-up for the Christmas season.
(Simon & Schuster, paperback, £8.99)