Thank you to everyone involved in the blog tour for Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop

The blog tour for Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop drew to a close yesterday, With 48 stops scheduled over 16 days, it was another epic one.

An enormous THANK YOU to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and to all the amazing reviewers/bloggers who took part, generously giving their time to read the story, compose their review, and share it on the socials.

I’m delighted to report that this was another really positive tour. Yay!

There were a couple of no-postings and I hope those reviewers are doing okay as I noticed they haven’t posted anything for a little while. Sending hugs if they’re poorly or having a difficult time just now. There was also a promotion post only post which meant 45 reviews were shared. 

Not everyone gives a rating on their posts, but I do manage to track some down when the review is also shared on Amazon around the same time. The 35 ratings shared (or sleuthed by me) were all positive with 22 x 5-star, 3 x 4.5-star, and 10 x 4-star. It’s such a thrill when every single rating is a positive one.

It was a delight to read reviews from those who’ve read several or even all of my books, noting how much they loved being back on Castle Street and among friends. For those who were new to my work, there were several comments about checking out past and/or future books which is fabulous.

There were a couple of reviewers who had read this book in its original incarnation of Charlee and the Chocolate Shop and I was delighted to read that they loved the revised (and expanded) version even more.

Some reviews were so lovely that they made me quite tearful. It’s such an honour to have such prolific readers say so many wonderful things about my writing and my abilities as an author. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I do firmly believe that recommendations are the best way for an author to succeed so I appreciate every single one of these kind reviews. You are all superstars.

Wishing you all the best.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop is going on a blog tour

Although Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop (previously independently released as Charlee and the Chocolate Shop) was published by Boldwood Books on 3rd August, we decided that the height of summer probably wasn’t the ideal timing for a blog tour of a Christmas book so we held back.

With the arrival of the colder weather, the darker nights creeping in, and the shops stocking their Christmas goodies, the blog tour starts today (12th October 2021) and runs until 27th October.

Across sixteen days, there’ll be a whopping 48 stops (3 a day). Looking at the schedule, it’s lovely to see so many regulars – really flattering as it means they love my books enough to keep coming back for more – but also a delight to see some newbies. Hopefully they’ll love Charlee’s story and become converts!

A huge thank you to Boldwood Books for enabling the tour, to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for organising it, and the wonderful 48 bloggers/reviewers taking part.

And, on the subject of Rachel, congratulations to her for being a finalist in the Media Star of the Year category in the RNA (Romantic Novelists’ Association) 2021 Industry Awards. You can read the RNA’s announcement here.

Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop is book 1 in the Christmas at Castle Street series. Books 2 and 3 – Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes and Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café were released last year.

All three books are complete standalone stories but books 2 and 3 are closely connected as the two businesses are next-door to each other and the two business owners, Carly and Tara, are good friends. They follow on chronologically and there are therefore a couple of spoilers for Carly’s story if reading Starry Skies first although plenty of readers have read them the other way round and still loved them.

Although Christmas Wishes is the first book in the series, it can be read before or after the others. The heroine – Charlee Chambers – and her shop do appear in the other two but there aren’t any spoilers for her story.

Big chocolatey hugs
Jessica xx

Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop

Sometimes you just need a little Christmas magic to make your wishes come true…

When master chocolatier, Charlee, takes the leap to move to the picturesque seaside town of Whitsborough Bay, she is determined to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps and set up a chocolate shop.

Luckily, she finds the perfect location for Charlee’s Chocolates on beautiful Castle Street… Now she just has to refurbish it in time for Christmas!

With a useless boyfriend and countless DIY disasters, Charlee doesn’t know if she’ll make it in time. With no ‘traditional’ family to support her, she feels lost in her new surroundings and the secrets of the past are weighing her down.

But the warmth and festive spirit of the Whitsborough Bay community will surprise her, and when plumber, Matt, comes to the rescue, it might be that all of Charlee’s dreams could come true this Christmas, and she could learn what family really means…

Escape to Castle Street for the perfect uplifting, festive read from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland.

Thank you to everyone who joined the blog tour for Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café

It has been the biggest blog tour one of my books has ever been on, the biggest blog tour my amazing publishers Boldwood have hosted, and I believe it may be the biggest our fabulous tour organiser, Rachel Gilbey, has arranged.

It wasn’t that we set out to organise an epic-sized tour for the release of Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café – simply that an unprecedented number of reviewers stepped forward wanting to take part. How flattering is that?

The stats:

  • 18 days
  • 54 scheduled stops
  • 52 posts (it’s possible that an Insta one from yesterday may come in late but I didn’t want to delay my thank you)
  • 50 reviews and 1 promotion post
  • 3 additional bloggers not on the tour sharing their reviews

When a tour schedule is released, it’s always exciting to spot reviewers with whom I’m familiar, ranging from those who’ve loved and championed my books from the start to those who’ve discovered my writing more recently and have clearly loved it enough to come back for more. And it’s always a little nerve-wracking seeing new names. Will they like my work or discover it’s not really for them? There were several new names on this tour.

I was also a little nervous about this book. I absolutely love this story but it’s by far the most emotional one I’ve written. I had to remortgage the house to pay for all the tissues I needed when writing it so I was fairly sure many reviewers would shed some tears. And they did. Some readers love books which make them cry but others don’t and I do understand that. I’m not going to say anything more about this for now as I feel a separate future blog post on the subject coming up.

So, back to the blog tour. Of the 41 reviewers who gave a star rating with their review (or who posted it on Amazon or NetGalley with one which some sleuthing revealed), 33 gave it 5 stars, 2 gave it 4.5 and 7 gave it 4-stars. Wow! This made me and my mum (who loves to read all my reviews) very, very happy.

Some of the reviews said such wonderful things not only about this book but about my ability as a writer that I was close to tears reading them. I’ve also found some new readers who loved the story so much, they want to check out my backlist, which is amazing.

Alongside this, I’ve received direct messages from readers and been tagged into posts on social media with such lovely comments about Hollie and Jake’s emotional story and am delighted it has touched so many readers.

THANK YOU to everyone who has taken part in the blog tour, reviewed the book outside the tour, sent me a message, posted about it on social media and/or recommended the story to friends and family. I am so appreciative of all the love and support.

THANK YOU to the amazing Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and sharing all the reviews on Twitter.

THANK YOU to Boldwood Books for making all of this possible, especially my editor Nia Beynon without whose editorial insights and encouragement, the story wouldn’t be what it is today and it wouldn’t have had such phenomenal comments.

I’ll be returning in October on a blog tour for Christmas Wishes at the Chocolate Shop. Although it was published at the start of August, it’s very much a Christmas read (Starfish Café being more of a seasonal read than specifically Christmas) so we thought it made more sense to have the tour nearer to Christmas.

In the meantime, thank you once more. I’ve read, loved and appreciated every word.

Finally, if you haven’t read Snowflakes Over The Starfish Café yet but like the sound of this story, I’ve put Amazon links in this post and pasted the blurb below. Hope you take a trip to The Starfish Café… but make sure you have the tissues hand.! Probably best remove the mascara too!

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The blurb:

Welcome to The Starfish Café – where you will find stunning views, delicious food and lifelong friendships.

Two broken hearts.

Since she inherited The Starfish Café, Hollie has poured her heart into the business, striving to keep her mother’s traditions and warm-hearted spirit alive. But behind closed doors Hollie is searching for true happiness as she grieves the tragic loss of her family who were once the beating heart of the café…

An unexpected meeting.

Jake lives by two rules: don’t let anyone get close and don’t talk about what happened. Little does he know that a chance meeting at The Starfish Café, facilitated by a fluffy lost dog, is about to turn his world upside down…

The chance to love again.

Can Hollie and Jake break down the barriers that have been holding them back from finding love and happiness, before Christmas comes around? After all, with courage, nothing is impossible…

Join top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a magical winter at the seaside, where love blossoms and lifelong friendships are made.

Hedge-hugs for the bloggers on the tour

Eleven days on from the publication day for Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow and the blog tour has drawn to an end.

An enormous thank you to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and to the amazing thirty-three bloggers/reviewers who took part.

I was a little apprehensive about this tour. I love this book but, as I wrote on a recent blog post (which you can read here), I knew it was a risk writing a book where one of two main characters was someone readers had (justifiably) disliked from the previous two books. It was fascinating reading the thoughts from those who’d done a massive about-turn on that particular character and now love her to those who now understand her but still don’t like her which, as I stated in my blog post, was what I expected. The great thing is they all seemed to love the story and I am so grateful for that feedback.

The cliffhanger at the end of the book was mentioned in nearly all reviews. Mostly it generated excitement (phew!), a lot of urging me to hurry up and release book 4 (sorry – not written yet!), although there were a couple of reviewers who hate cliffhangers which is something I’d never even considered until I’d finished writing this and read some of the early reviews on NetGalley. Every day is a school day, as they say!

HOT TIP! For anyone who is thinking of reading this book, don’t read the epilogue if you don’t like cliffhangers as it is purely there as a tease for the next book. The story being told in Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow does finish at the end of the book so it’s not a case of the book not properly ending so please don’t worry you’ll be left hanging with an incomplete story.

Anyway, back to the blog tour, not everyone gives ratings. Some sleuthing means I can track some down on NetGalley or Amazon but I’ve been a little less successful (or rather had a little less time to do it) so I have 11 ratings I’m unsure about but, of the remaining 22, there are 15 x 5-stars, 2 x 4.5, 4 x 4-star and 1 x 3-star, the latter being given because of the cliffhanger. The hedgehogs and I are very happy with that.

Some reviews made me laugh out loud for their humorous observations or verdicts on characters, and others were so lovely and touching, I was close to tears.

It’s especially wonderful reading about when readers have read the full series, are loving seeing the characters grow, and talk fondly about wishing they could be at Hedgehog Hollow right now. You and me both!

I also had a couple of reviews from bloggers not on the tour and really appreciate the 5 and 4.5 star ratings from them (Echoes in an Empty Room and Carla Loves to Read).

It’s so kind of all these bloggers to take the time to read the book and share their views with their followers on their blog/Insta/Twitter/all or any combination of these. Reviews and recommendations can make such a difference to the success of a book and the hedgehogs and I are fully appreciate of all the book love we’ve received over the past eleven days.

Watch out for a thank you video on Twitter really soon.

Big hedge-hugs
Jessica xx

Thank you to all the reviewers who showed the love for All You Need is Love

Yesterday saw the final stop on my 12-day 36-stop blog tour for my latest release All You Need Is Love and I’m delighted that it was another really successful tour.

Blog tours are such a great way to celebrate the launch of a book. They create a buzz as well as gathering valuable early reviews and, several tours down the line, I still get excited when a new review appears and I can read the verdict (with fingers crossed that it’s a positive one).

I’m delighted to say that the verdict for All You Need Is Love was overwhelmingly positive. Yay! Not all reviewers put a rating on their posts but as a rating is necessary for an Amazon or NetGalley review, I was able to do a little detective work and suss some out. There were only 2 out of the 36 I couldn’t track down. For the remaining 34, there were:

  • 26 x 5-star
  • 1 x 4.5 star
  • 6 x 4-star
  • 1 x 3-star

I think I’d definitely call that a success!

A huge thank you to my amazing publisher Boldwood Books for enabling the tours, particularly Nia and Ellie, and to the fabulous Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources who does such an incredible job of organising and managing the tours.

All You Need Is Love was previously available under the title Bear With Me and had been on a blog tour organised through Rachel when I was an indie author. Therefore, a few bloggers/reviewers who have always been hugely supportive of my writing didn’t participate as this was not a new book to them. It was great to see several familiar faces who’ve discovered my writing since joining Boldwood and a few who were new to my stories.

And thank you too to all of those who’ve spread the word on social media. It’s really appreciated.

This is a story about two people who have loved and lost in very different circumstances and it’s also about a life-changing illness diagnosis. It is emotional and the blurb doesn’t hide that. But, as with all of my stories, it is uplifting and full of hope. Only one reviewer found it too emotional but, thankfully, all the others loved it.

Here’s a handful of my favourite quotes. I could have easily included something from every review as there were so many lovely, kind comments. The bears and I were certainly feeling the love:

“I couldn’t get enough of this beautiful story.  Jessica Redland managed to create a story which accurately reflects the title.  After reading, I genuinely believe that love could be all you need” (Book Escapes With Babs W67)

“This is a powerfully emotive story that tackles some series deep issues, and as much as i love a light hearted seaside read this is so much more because of the nature of it… This was a wonderful read that really packs a punch” (AfternoonBookery)

“What Jessica Redland has achieved with this book is extremely clever, she has taken some really heavy and devastating themes but treated them with such care and respect that this is still a feel good novel that gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. I don’t think that contemporary women’s romance writers (aka “Chick Lit”) get anywhere near enough credit for being able to pull off books like this” (Louise’s Reading Corner)

“Oh my! What a beautiful emotional love story. I love Jessica Redland stories but this one totally blew me away” (Wendy Reads Books)

“All You Need is Love is a heartbreaking tale of loss and love, of letting go and starting again, and I was totally here for every minute of this enchanting story, even if it did make me cry buckets” (Cara’s Book Boudoir)

“There are plenty of twists and turns… Some moments and experiences will make you tear up, but bear with the book as there is a happy ending… Hope you pick up this book and get a wonderful escape from reality into this gripping story, full of love and hope” (Reading Tonic)

“My Kindle wasn’t glued to my hand but it might as well have been because it went everywhere with me.  I couldn’t bear to miss a single second of this adorable story…. ‘All You Need Is Love’ is superbly written but then to be fair all of Jessica’s books are superbly written… I love the way in which Jessica grabs your attention and draws you into the story. She makes the characters seem so realistic that they seem just as real as you and I and I begin to think of them as friends. Jessica tackles some difficult subjects but she does it in a knid and compassionate way. I kept wanting to leap inside the pages of the book to give various characters a hug. In fact I felt as though I was part of the story and that’s thanks to Jessica’s very vivid and realistic storytelling” (Ginger Book Geek)

“This was such a beautiful, moving story that really captivated me to the very end. The storyline was wonderfully unique, and certainly took us on an emotional rollercoaster as we learn more about the characters and the struggles they have had to face… I have always found Jessica Redland’s writing style completely immersive, and she certainly never fails to make me feel as though I am living the events alongside the characters. A truly engrossing read that I couldn’t recommend highly enough!” (Victoria Wilks Writes)

“I have read and reviewed several books by Jessica Redland but this is my favourite one yet. Not only does it have Jessica Redland’s classic warmth and depth, it has bears… It is one for my forever shelf, and when I get a physical copy, it will be well thumbed with rereads. This emotional romance deals with grief and heartbreak surrounded by bears and is a joy to read. It provided a wonderful relief from lockdown’s loneliness, is highly visual with plenty going on to keep you turning the page. It would make a great film. So, grab your favourite bear to cuddle, a cup of tea and escape to the coast. Just keep your tissues handy” (From Under The Duvet)

“Every feeling the characters go through, was so gripping, honest and real… so many emotional, beautiful moments, that made me forget the hardest bits and I found myself smiling with tears rolling down my face… And the bears added an extra layer of adorability!… I found it an inspirational book about how to dare to look at the future again” (Tizzy’s Book Review)

And I had a couple of gorgeous reviews from reviewers not on the tour so thank you to you too:

“As much as I have really enjoyed reading Jessica’s previous novels, this has to be my favourite by far… I loved how the story develops, there are lots of turns that I never saw coming, I just didn’t want the story to end. I couldn’t and wouldn’t put this book down… This is a story that is relatable and will stay with me for a long time. It is sad and I did cry quite a bit, it made me feel really emotional finishing it which I have never had with a book before. It makes me want to hug my loved ones tighter as you never know what is around the corner” (Echoes in an Empty Room)

“There is something contagiously cosy, welcoming and heartwarming about Redland’s writing. It’s the sort that makes you want to slip into fluffy socks and sip creamy hot chocolate. The sort to entice you into wrapping yourself up in a thick blanket and holding it tight around yourself, feeling comforted in the same way the words comfort the reader. It’s exactly the sort of storytelling I admire and am so very fond of. It washes away the stresses of the day and allows the reader to escape to an entirely different place, a place where the characters feel like friends and the places feel like home” (Becca’s Books)

I’m so delighted with the response and touched by the reaction. This is one of my favourite stories of all the ones I’ve written so it feels extra special knowing it has found a way into readers’ hearts too.

All You Need Is Love entered the Top 500 on the UK Kindle Chart a couple of days ago which was a thrill too. Because a lot of readers had already bought and read this as Bear With Me, I wasn’t sure it would make it inside the Top 1,000 so to get to #417 was quite unexpected. It will be interesting to see if those bears can climb a bit higher!

Thank you again to everyone who has shown the love for All You Need Is Love. I’m so very grateful.

If you’d like to discover this story for yourself, it is available as an eBook for Apple, Kindle and Kobo, paperback, hard back, large print, audio download, physical audio, audio via uLibrary if your library subscribes to that service, and should appear on streaming services soon.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

All You Need Is Love

When you’ve loved and lost, how do you find the strength to let love in again?

Jemma thinks she’s found the love of her life. Scott is everything she ever dreamed of and she can’t wait to begin the next stage of their life together. But just as she is heading for her happy ever after, a shock revelation shatters Jemma’s life as she knows it. Left to pick up the pieces, Jemma’s friends and family rally round to help her find the courage to move on.

Sam think he has his future all worked out. A thriving career, lovely home and an amazing fiancée. But when tragedy strikes, he finds himself alone, far from everyone he cares about. Did he do the right thing by running away and trying to rebuild the tatters of his life alone?

This is the story of Jemma and Sam. Two lost souls, desperately trying to find closure and happiness. When a chance meeting brings them together a friendship is formed, but the guards are up. 

Will it finally be their turn for a happy ever after? Or will the secrets from their pasts prevent them from moving on?

Escape to Whitsborough Bay for an emotional, uplifting story of love and friendship from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland. 

This book was previously published as Bear With Me.

Welcome to the wonderful world of bears

It’s six days since All You Need Is Love was released and we’re halfway through the blog tour. I’ve had some absolutely gorgeous reviews and one of the things that makes me very happy is when reviewers mention the bears and how much they learned about them/how much they enjoyed that part of the story.

So today I thought I’d talk about being an arctophile and the wonderful world of teddy bears.

An arctophile is a lover/collector of teddy bears. It is derived from the Greek terms ‘árktos’ meaning bear and ‘philos’ meaning lover/friend. I am an arctophile.

I’ve loved teddy bears for most of my life but I would say I became especially fond of them at around the age of 14. Forever Friends were extremely popular back then and I remember gazing adoringly at them in card shops and wishing they could all be mine. I gradually built up a collection of what is known as ‘plush’ bears. These are typically mass-produced teddies, massively ranging in size and price, and made from synthetic materials. They are soft and designed for lots of hugs.

The photos below show a very small section of my plush collection. Top left are a trio of bears I used to sell in my bear shop and I couldn’t resist taking a set home. They are from the plush range made by German collectible teddy bear manufacturer Hermann Teddy Original and I christened them Caramel, Toffee and Fudge (L-R).

Across the bottom is my very well loved bear Sainsbury (unimaginatively named that because he was from Sainsbury’s), bought for me by my sister in law when I spent most of December 2006 in hospital with hypertension and mild pre-eclampsia before my daughter was born. You’ll likely recognise a Forever Friends bear in the middle. He was also from my shop. There was a range of them in four different colours – this light blue, a deeper sky blue, pink, peach – and I’d have loved to keep one of each but couldn’t justify it!

Bottom right is a Gund bear. I used to stock Gund in the shop and they really do make gorgeous plush bears. This particular one was given to me by my writing collective, The Write Romantics, when my debut book (called Searching for Steven at the time but now repackaged as New Beginnings at Seaside Blooms) secured a publishing deal. He’s wearing a badge that says ‘Steven Bear’ and his hoodie states ‘A 5* read the search is over’. Isn’t he gorgeous?

And finally in the plush range we have famous bears like Rupert, Paddington and Winnie the Pooh. I do have a gorgeous traditional Pooh Bear (also from my shop) but he’s on the top of the wardrobe at the back and I’d have to remove all the bears to take a picture of him and am far too lazy (and short) to do that! This Paddington was a Christmas gift before I had the shop but Aunt Lucy came from my shop and I used to sell Paddingtons of various sizes. A larger one than him made it into my collection too but I had to draw the line at the 4ft one I used to stock!

Bears featured on my wedding day. The wedding itself had a seaside theme but a Forever Friends bride and groom (from my shop, of course) sat on the top table. We had a Cherished Teddy wedding display for the top of the cake and my cousin bought us a Boyds bride and groom as a gift.

I was in my late twenties when I discovered the world of collectible teddy bears. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, my boyfriend at the time took me to a specialist teddy bear shop in his hometown of Lincoln and it was a life-changing moment as I’d never have thought of running my own teddy bear shop if I hadn’t been introduced to them and I’d never have met my husband if I hadn’t opened the bear shop. And without the hubby, I don’t know if I’d have become an author.

Collectible teddy bears will give hugs but they’re not designed to be played with/cuddled in bed and the price tag confirms that! Even if you know nothing about teddy bears, you’ve probably heard of Steiff; the German manufacturer with the distinctive button in the ear identity tag. Vintage Steiff can sell for eyewatering amounts of money at auction but if there are any burglars reading this, I don’t own any of them so nothing to see here!

There are many other long-established manufacturers. Britain’s oldest are Dean’s and Merrythought and my very first bear was a limited edition Dean’s one called Scruff, purchased from that shop in Lincoln. Here he is posing with my books:

Isn’t he completely adorable? He’s made from mohair and is jointed. Most collectible bears are jointed – it’s where they stand out from plush ones – and most are made from mohair which varies massively in colour, texture and price.

When I first set up my shop – Bear’s Pad in Richmond, North Yorkshire – I stocked collectible bears from Dean’s, Merrythought, Hermann Teddy Original, Robin Rive (based in New Zealand) and Cambrian Bears but Steiff wouldn’t touch me. I was too small and they supplied to another bear shop in a nearby town. I was gutted because I lost sales constantly from people who knew nothing about bears but had heard of Steiff so wanted a Steiff for a newborn or for a christening and nothing else would do. In the main, they wouldn’t look at the other bears even though I personally (and perhaps controversially) have always thought that Steiff bears, although lovely, aren’t necessarily the bears with the most personality and appeal.

About a year into trading, Steiff reconsidered when the local shop closed and they allowed me to make a smaller order than they usually demanded (which was still a phenomenal outlay). It was worth it as Steiff were my biggest sellers.

Here’s a small selection of my collectible bears. The large photo is a bear called Daffy from the Isabelle Collection at Charlie Bears. Charlie Bears didn’t exist when I had Bear’s Pad but they later entered the market with a new take on bears – the look of collectible bears by making them jointed but affordability by creating them in different materials. The Isabelle Collection was an expansion into limited edition collectible bears.

Top right are two collectible bears and one artist one called Noah purchased in Belgium (I’ll explain what artist bears are in a moment). The one standing at the back is a Steiff which I called Growler because he growls when you tip him forwards and back. Steiff bears don’t usually have names, being identified instead by size and style. He was my second ever collectible bear I bought. The smaller one sitting down is a Robin Rive limited edition called Faith.

The bottom row starts with a very traditional-looking Hermann Teddy Original bear called Yesterday. The one in the middle with the hat is Robin Rive’s Nautical Neville. These two (and Faith mentioned earlier) were all from my shop. I used to love them all so much and would tell myself that if a particular favourite was still on the shelves after three months, they’d come home with me. I’d then panic when a customer seemed interested!

The Paddington at the bottom was my wedding gift from the hubby and is a Steiff one. I said earlier I don’t love Steiff as much as some of the other manufacturers but I absolutely adore this Paddington. He is divine. Look at his suitcase and marmalade sandwich!

So what are artist bears? These are collectible bears but they are made on a much smaller scale by a bear artist who typically creates an OOAK (one of a kind) or a very small number like three. It’s more likely to be an OOAK although the artist may take that pattern again but use different mohair or clothes to create a different look.

During publication week, somebody asked me how many bears I have so I did a very quick count. It’s about 140 consisting of plush, collectible and artist bears. I used to have a couple of hundred plush ones but there just isn’t the space. When I had my bear shop, I cleared about about 10 binbags of bears to charity (all were immaculate condition as they’d all been sat on shelves and not played with) and I’ve done several more clear-outs over the years which break my heart but needs must.

When I did my count, I was surprised to discover that I had nearly as many artist bears as big-name collectible ones. Initially I only bought collectible ones but I tend to only buy artist ones now. I love the uniqueness of them. I will only buy a bear that ‘speaks’ to me and, as I have a lot of traditional-looking ones in my collection now, I am more inclined to go for something a little bit quirky.

All the bears below are artist bears. The one in the dress is from Loeëtte Bears (from the Netherlands although I bought the bear from Mary Shortle in York) and the purple one is Tammy from J&P Mohair Bears which I bought in Stonegate Bears in York. Franklin (bottom middle) is also a J&P from Stonegate Bears.

The top right one is a Ju-Sea Bear called Mark Elvet. I made him! I learned how to make teddy bears when I had my shop and I sold my second and third in the shop but kept the first one for me as he was my first and therefore very special and I’d named him after my husband and the street where I learned to make bears. You may think Ju-Sea Bears sounds familiar. That’s because I used it for Julie’s bears in All You Need Is Love in the same way that I named her house Bear’s Pad after my shop. Little connections in my stories like that make me happy.

The small purple bear bottom left is from Diane Hanley who used to supply to my shop and bottom right is the most adorable bear dressed for a festival. I can’t tell you her name or make, though, as there was no tag on her. I contacted Mary Shortle in Leeds afterwards and they kindly supplied me with the information which I wrote down and put somewhere safe… You know what that means. Yep, no idea where I put it!

Although I say that Scruff was my first collectible bear, I did have one before that. I absolutely love the Lake District and we had many family holidays in the area when I was younger. My favourite shop in Bowness-on-Windermere was Lakeland Bears. I’d seen the postcards of hiking bears set in the countryside and this was the shop that stocked the actual bears.

I always dreamed of owning a Lakeland Bear and, one year, my parents surprised me by giving me one as a Christmas gift. I had no idea I was getting one so you can imagine my delight. He has his walking stick, his hiking boots and his backpack with a map of the Lakes in it! Isn’t he just fabulous? They even created a booklet of photos of him ‘exploring’ their house and garden which I still have… you’ve guessed it… somewhere safe!

Sadly the Lakeland Bears shop closed down many years ago but you can look at the gorgeous bears and the postcards on their website here. I’ve just had a lovely fifteen minutes procrastinating looking at the pictures and remembering which postcards I used to have.

We’ve looked at plush bears, collectible bears and, within that, artist bears. A devoted arctophile will probably have a lot of other bear-related items in their home too. I have stack of bear-themed stationery, books, pictures and jewellery. Here’s a few items from my collection.

The picture is our bear family and hangs in our downstairs toilet behind the loo itself which hubby doesn’t appreciate when he nips in for a pee as they’re watching him – hee hee! The salt and pepper set came from Canada on our honeymoon (so many amazing bear-themed treats over there), the teddy ornament is from a gift shop in Whitby and the large bear came from Hawes. The teddy bear cushion was a gift but I sold blankets in the same design in Bear’s Pad so I have a pair of cushions and a matching blanket.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a little explore into the world of bears and that you’ve enjoyed the pictures. Teddy bears have an amazing ability to make us smile and feel uplifted. It’s rare for me to be in a bad mood and not much gets me down and I think that, in part, it’s because I’m surrounded by teddies all day. Who can feel down when looking at their adorable little faces?

When I had my shop, there were some nasty customers. And I mean nasty. One liked to come in and lecture me about how my business would fail because all businesses before me on that site had failed. She made me cry on several occasions. Another customer asked if I had a toilet her daughter could use. I did have a toilet but it was out the back past my safe and all my spare stock and I wasn’t insured to let the public back there so I had to direct customers to the public toilets which were a one-minute walk away so no hardship. It turned out the daughter was desperate and she wet herself all over my carpet tiles. The woman then told me it was my fault, flung down the items she’d planned to purchase and left me to clear it all up. She never returned so I never even made a sale out of that traumatic episode and, to this day, still feel really sorry for the little girl … but not the mum.

One busy Saturday, a really friendly man asked me to get down a large plush polar bear from the top of the shelving units and save it for him while he went to the cashpoint. When I returned to the till and finished serving a few customers, I realised my mobile phone had been stolen. The police told me two men were working together with a tactic of one distracting the owner by being interested and friendly while the other stole the money out of the till. Fortunately I’d locked my till and had the key on me so they didn’t get away with any money although the phone was bad enough.

There was a tanning salon opposite and customers used to send their fairly young children to “go and play in the bear shop” while they had a tan. Who does that? And the mornings where I’d arrive from work to find someone had vomited in my recessed entrance doorway were the worst ever.

I could write a book about all this. Hmm… there’s a thought!

But, even on those darkest days – and there were many more than I’ve listed above – I always felt so comforted being surrounded by such an enormous hug of bears (a ‘hug’ being the collective noun applied to a group of teddies). I’d have loved to keep my bear shop. Shame I needed customers to make it work!

So grab a bear today, give it a hug, and feel uplifted.

Big bear hugs
Jessica xx

All I felt was love…

Yesterday was the publication day for All You Need Is Love and, I have to say, all I felt was love all day. How amazing are the reading and writing community?

It was my busiest publication day yet with so many lovely comments on social media to read and respond to and lots of activities going on so Ive just got a quick round up, a few links and some photos…

There were biscuits…

My fabulous publisher, Boldwood Books, always send a wonderful publication day gift and this time it was biscuits with book covers and congratulations messages on them. They didn’t last long! I was under strict instructions from my daughter to save her one of the book cover ones and I had a text from her on the bus to school this morning saying she’d been in such a rush, she forgot to pick it up to take it to school. She has been warned I might have the munchies later!

There was cake…

It was hubby’s birthday yesterday so we had birthday cake too. Mmmm. I completely forgot to take a photo of that, though.

There were books…

My paperbacks arrived. I always look forward to the books coming as it’s such an amazing moment to see them, stroke them and, yes, sniff them. But I’d particularly been excited about the arrival of All You Needs Is Love because of those gorgeous sunset colours and it didn’t disappoint at all. So vibrant! My daughter has announced it’s her favourite cover and it might just be mine too as those colours are simply stunning.

The gorgeous wooden campervan (Thor the campervan in the story) has been well admired. I bought him from my favourite shop in Scarborough: White Beach Designs. The lovely owner, Andie, has a Facebook page if anyone is interested in one (they come in different colours). I do highly recommend the shop for gorgeous handmade jewellery, wooden gifts, pebble art and so much more. You can find the Facebook page here.

There was a party…

Last month I was invited to join a lovely Facebook group called ‘Heidi Swain and Friends’ which is run by Sue and Fiona as a readers’ group/book club for fans of Heidi Swain’s gorgeous books and authors who may also appeal to Heidi’s readers. Heidi very kindly supported Sue and Fiona’s suggestion to host a publication day party for me and they ran a day full of fun questions and quizzes relating to All You Need Is Love. It was fabulous seeing all the interaction from readers and joining in myself. A huge thank you to Heidi, Sue and Fiona. If you’d like to join the group, you can do so here.

I also have a readers’ group of my own on Facebook for discussion about anything related to my books and settings. Thank you to everyone who was so supportive on there and for all the kind messages coming through from those who have already read this book or plan to. If you haven’t already joined Redland’s Readers, you can do so here.

There was a blog tour

My blog tour kicked off yesterday with three lovely reviews. There’ll be 36 stops over 12 days and, as usual, I’ll share a round-up at the end. An enormous thank you to all those who have signed up and those who share their posts. It makes such a difference to get these early reviews and spread the word. Thank you also to those who have read this book under its previous incarnation as Bear With Me for sharing the love for this story.

The All You Need Is Love Blog Tour

There were blog posts

I guested on the Boldwood Books blog talking about my own teddy bear shop which inspired part of the story. You can find that post here.

I also guested on the RNA’s blog (Romantic Novelists’ Association) talking about my inspiration for the story and a bit more about my writing. Thank you to Catherine Lawless and the RNA for hosting me. You can find that post here.

There was music

I pulled together a Spotify playlist of songs which link to/inspire All You Need Is Love. You can find that here. They’re roughly presented in the order of relevance to the story so, if you’ve read the book, you can probably guess which part they may relate to. As you’d expect, not all the lyrics are a perfect match but the general vibe is there. Thank you to my editor, Nia, for pulling this together for me. I hope you enjoy listening to it.

There was a video

I created a publication day video about what to expect and explained the difference between plush bears, collectible bears and artist bears (with gorgeous bears to help me) which you can find here.

And the day finished with a Facebook Live

My amazing editor Nia Beynon hosted an ‘in conversation’ on Facebook for an hour and we had some fabulous questions. I also did a reading from All You Need Is Love. Thank you to everyone who joined us live or who has listened to it since. You can catch up with the video here.

Facebook Live Advert – the competition only ran on the evening but you can still watch the video on catch-up

So, as you can see, an extremely busy but lovely day. Thank you to everyone who made it so special and particularly my amazing husband and daughter, Mark and Ashleigh, without whose support I wouldn’t be doing what I do today.

If you’re interested in reading to All You Need Is Love, it’s available as an eBook for Apple, Kindle and Kobo, and in print format as a paperback, hardback and large print. For those who like to listen, it’s available as an audio download or physical copy and will appear on streaming services soon.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

All You Need Is Love

When you’ve loved and lost, how do you find the strength to let love in again?

Jemma thinks she’s found the love of her life. Scott is everything she ever dreamed of and she can’t wait to begin the next stage of their life together. But just as she is heading for her happy ever after, a shock revelation shatters Jemma’s life as she knows it. Left to pick up the pieces, Jemma’s friends and family rally round to help her find the courage to move on.

Sam think he has his future all worked out. A thriving career, lovely home and an amazing fiancée. But when tragedy strikes, he finds himself alone, far from everyone he cares about. Did he do the right thing by running away and trying to rebuild the tatters of his life alone?

This is the story of Jemma and Sam. Two lost souls, desperately trying to find closure and happiness. When a chance meeting brings them together a friendship is formed, but the guards are up. 

Will it finally be their turn for a happy ever after? Or will the secrets from their pasts prevent them from moving on?

Escape to Whitsborough Bay for an emotional, uplifting story of love and friendship from top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland. 

This book was previously published as Bear With Me.

Thank you to everyone who joined the blog tour for New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow

Yesterday saw the final day of the blog tour for New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow. With 36 stops over 12 days, it was epic and I certainly felt a lot of love for those hedgehogs.

I must start by thanking my publisher, Boldwood Books, for sending each new release on a blog tour and to the fabulous Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for organising it. You are a star, Rachel.

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – the first book in the series – had been on a tour in July 2020 and had been extremely well received. I was a little nervous … okay, make that extremely nervous … as to whether book two would have the same positive response. There were several familiar bloggers on the tour but also some newbies to my books. They were offered the opportunity to read book 1 as well if they wanted to catch up. Some did but most didn’t although thankfully it didn’t appear to harm the review. I personally would recommend reading the full series in order but there is a catch-up and a cast of characters at the start of book 2 to get the reader up to speed or to remind them if there’s been a gap between reading both books. This went down very well.

I’ve posted below the names of the review sites and linked each to their review if anyone (mum) wants to read some of them but I thought I’d pick out a handful of quotes which stood out to me. This doesn’t mean I didn’t love so much of what other bloggers said because I absolutely did. All the reviews gave me a warm and fuzzy glow and I could easily have included a quote from everyone who took part.

Some bloggers give a rating out of 5 and others don’t. Of those who don’t, some post a review on Amazon which has to be accompanied by a rating so I’ve been able to fill in some. I was delighted to have 20 x 5-star reviews and 6 x 4-star ones. There was only one 3-star where the reviewer wrote about loving my writing but marked it down because she drew two messages from the book which she personally disagreed with. They are themes but they aren’t actually the messages in the book – exactly the opposite in fact – but everyone takes something different away from a read based on their own personal circumstances and principles and one of my New Year’s writing resolutions is not to let negative reviews upset me. Still got quite a bit of work to do on that one!

Anyway, here are a selection of gorgeous comments. I emphasise again that I could easily have had one from every single review so, if you did take part and a quote from your review isn’t below, please don’t read anything into it!

Being Anne: “The author always creates the most wonderful living and breathing characters. The exchanges between them – the nice and the not-so-nice – are so excellent, with that quality of conversations you’re allowed to overhear and be part of, always something I particularly enjoy about the author’s books”

Wendy Reads Books: “Drama, family relationships and love are intertwined with the hedgehog rescue in this brilliant, charming story. I can’t wait for the next instalment”

Ginger Book Geek: “To say that I enjoyed this book is a massive understatement.  I ADORED reading ‘New Arrivals At Hedgehog Hollow… superbly written … reading one of Jessica’s books is more like a chat between friends rather than reading an actual book. … Jessica has a way of making me feel as though I am part of the story and that’s all thanks to her very realistic and vivid storytelling”

This Hannah Reads: “Jessica Redland is fast becoming a top author for me and an automatic buy when I see a new book by her! … I absolutely loved this book and it left with me a warm fuzzy feeling”

Mama Bear’s Book Hour: “As with the previous books of Jessica’s that I have read, this one was well written, easy to digest and knows how to tug your heartstrings. And I mean, mine got tugged so hard, it’s going to take a week of rom com binging to fix them. All the characters, and I mean every single character you meet, feels like a real person or reminds you of your neighbour down the street. I would move to Whitsborough or its surrounding areas if I could. It sounds delightful”

Ceri’s Little Blog: “This author seems to be an expert in showcasing realism, romance and domestic drama… My only regret after reading this book is that I finished it so quickly and it’s taken me so long to read something by this author! … I have absolutely loved this one and would recommend it to all women’s fiction fans. I would rate this author up there with some of my all time faves, including Milly Johnson, Holly Martin, Mary Jayne Baker and Lucy Diamond”

Breakfast at Shelby’s: “Jessica Redland really does not disappoint with her stories, they are absolutely phenomenal and she really does have the power and talent within her writing to have you feeling every type of emotion. Her characters are always wonderfully developed and the settings, especially Hedgehog Hollow, are an absolute comfort to be in”

Reading Girl Reviews: “Heartwarming, cozy, and downright realistic when it comes to family drama, this truly is one of the best series I have read in a very long time. I laughed, I got angry, I cried, and my heart melted all while reading this book”

Tizi’s Book Review: “I adored the first part, so I kind of feared that this story wouldn’t fulfil my expectations, but the author managed again to break my heart, healed it again, made me swoon, made me smile, made my cry, made me angry and in the end, just made me utterly happy… oh yes, and made me love hedgehogs even a little bit more!”

Little Miss Book Lover 87: “I adore Jess Redland, this is an author that you absolutely know will not disappoint. This book has been no different… The story itself is also absolutely gorgeous and has left me with a huge smile. I have devoured this book in just one sitting… this book might possibly be my new favourite favourite”

Love the Smell of a Book: “This series is a true masterpiece it is full of love and forgiveness as well as being a hive of information about hedgehogs… I picked up this book just a couple of days ago and I flew through it as Sammie & Josh are such great characters it’s like the book is constantly calling for me to pick it up and keep reading. I love the books that leave you missing them as you weren’t ready to finish them and this story is definitely one of those”

An absolutely enormous THANK YOU to everyone who took the time to read New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow and to share their views. I’m so delighted that so many of you have expressed excitement for book 3 – Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow – which will be out on 4th May.

All three books are/will be available on eBook for Kindle, Kobo and Apple, as paperbacks, physical audio, audio download, large print format and via streaming services. Here’s the links on Amazon if you’re interested:

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow
New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow
Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow

Big hugs
Jessica xx

The book bloggers with links to their review:

Day 1 – Being Anne / Me and My Books / Karenandherbooks (Instagram)
Day 2 – Wendyreadsbooks (Instagram) / Books, Life and Everything / Ginger Book Geek
Day 3 – This Hannah Reads / Emma’s Things to Read / Mama Bear’s Book Hour
Day 4 – Reading Tonic / Ceri’s Little Blog / Lisa’s Reading
Day 5 – Lis Carey’s Library / Mrs Brown’s Books / Bookish Jottings
Day 6 – The Cozy Pages / Nicki’s Book Blog / Karen Reads and Recommends
Day 7 – Book Escapes with BabsW67 / Breakfast at Shelby’s / JenJenReviews
Day 8 – Jane Hunt Writer / Reading Girl Reviews / Audio Killed the Bookmark
Day 9 – Damsel in the Bookland / The Review Crew / Eatwell2015
Day 10 – Coffee and Kindle Book Reviews / Two Ladies and a Book (Instagram) / Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Day 11 – Tizi’s Book Review / From Under the Duvet / Donnasbookblog
Day 12 – Little Miss Book Lover 87 / Splashes Into Books / Love the Smell of a Book

The hedgehogs are back! Celebrating publication day for New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow

I’m very excited because today is publication day of the second book in my Hedgehog Hollow series: New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow.

The hedgehogs will be embarking on a blog tour starting today and it’s exciting to see lots of familiar names on the schedule but also some reviewers who are new to my books. Anyone who hadn’t already read the first book – Finding Love At Hedgehog Hollow – was given the opportunity to read that first so it will be interesting to see whether everyone has or whether there are some who’ve dived right in at book two.

Several of my books are linked and I have characters who make cameo appearances in other books but this is my second proper series with recurring characters. In the Welcome to Whitsborough Bay series, each of the four books tells a different character’s story with them acting as the narrator for their own book. The Hedgehog Hollow series is different in that Samantha – the heroine of book 1 – remains the narrator throughout the series but book 2 onwards has a second voice. For New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow it’s Samantha’s boyfriend Josh but this will change for book 3. Early reviews have indicated that this has gone down well. Phew!

I’ve posted today on my publisher Boldwood Books’s blog about what to expect in this book so I’m not going to repeat that on my blog. You can read that post here.

Instead, I wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who has shown the love for the first book in the series. It came out just over six months ago and has already (at the time of writing this) gathered 906 reviews/ratings, 93% of which are positive (4-star or 5-star) which is just phenomenal considering this book stemmed from a short exercise while I was studying my Masters in Creative Writing a couple of years ago. I’ll write a blog post about that in the not too distant future. I hope you all love the second part in the series just as much.

I also wanted to share pictures of a few of my hedgehog friends. Some of these were with us before a book about a hedgehog rescue centre was ever even a seed of an idea but others – quite a few others – have joined the household more recently. A couple were Christmas gifts and I may have treated myself a little … a lot … lately. Somebody stop me! My excuse is that there are going to be at least four books in the series so one hog wouldn’t be enough. Hmm. We took some of them outside this morning for a frosty photo shoot courtesy of the super talented hubby. Don’t they look amazing?

The main photo is (and bottom right) is Tootles, my Charlie Bear hedgehog. Top right are a couple of silver-effect hedgehogs (mum and hoglet) from Baytree Interiors and the bottom left ornament is from Sainsbury’s last year. Bottom middle is a lovely soft Jellycat hedgehog called Bashful Spike, although hubby thinks he looks more like a lion than a hedgehog!

And it isn’t just hedgehog ornaments and cuddles that I love. I may have gathered a few other items over time too! As you can probably tell, I’m a particular fan of Wrendale Designs. So adorable.

Happy hedgehog day! The blurbs and buying links for New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow and also Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow are below if you’d like to take a journey to the gorgeous Hedgehog Hollow in the stunning Yorkshire Wolds and meet the hedgehogs.

Big hugs
Jessica xx

Finding Love at Hedgehog Hollow – Book 1

You can buy it on Amazon here.

Can love really be found when you stop looking for it?

As Samantha Wishaw watches the love of her life marry another woman, she’s ready to give up hope of finding her happy ever after.

But when a chance encounter leads Sam to find friendship in Thomas – a lonely, grumpy elderly widower living at derelict Hedgehog Hollow – her life is about to change forever.

Glad to have a distraction from family feuds and match-making, Sam vows to fulfil Thomas and his wife, Gwendoline’s, dreams of restoring Hedgehog Hollow to its former glory, and to open a hedgehog rescue centre.

Throwing herself into the task at hand, little does Sam realise that the keys to love and happiness may also be found at Hedgehog Hollow, when she least expects it…

New Arrivals at Hedgehog Hollow – Book 2

You can buy it on Amazon here.

With new arrivals comes new responsibilities.

The sun is shining, wild flowers are blooming and Hedgehog Hollow is officially open for business.

For Samantha, the proud owner of this beautiful rescue centre, life has never been busier. But with an influx of new hogs and hoglets to take care of, not to mention a full-time job and ongoing family issues, can she accept the possibility that she has taken on more than she can handle?

Fortunately, she has the love of her life, Josh, by her side for support and encouragement. But Josh has his own family troubles to deal with. And soon he must decide if he’s ready to do the one thing he swore he’d never do – forgive his father.

For both Samantha and Josh it’s a season of change and for figuring out whether the past can ever truly be forgotten.


The one where Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Cafe is published

It’s publication day for Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café. Yay! Happy publication day to me!

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café was previously available under the title of Starry Christmas at The Chocolate Pot Café. Just like my ‘Welcome to Whitsborough Bay’ series which got refreshed and re-released under new titles earlier this year, it’s one of my back catalogue books that my fabulous publishers, Boldwood Books, have acquired and breathed fresh life into.

If you’d like to know more about the changes, you can read my previous blog post about this here.

The prequel, Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes, was released last month and it didn’t make sense to have a blog tour for both when there was only three weeks separating their publication dates so, instead, we have an enormous 3-week 63-stops ‘Christmas on Castle Street’ tour. Some bloggers will review both – which is why some names appear twice – and some will review just one.

A huge thank you to Boldwood Books, Rachel Gilbey from RachelsRandomResources, the tour organiser, and everyone who is participating. Book bloggers don’t take any payment for reviewing books. They do it because they are passionate about reading and the support they provide in promoting the work of authors is invaluable.

The links and blurbs for both books are at the end of this post.

What am I doing today? I have finally learned that there’s no point trying to write on publication day as there’s so much activity on social media that it’s hard to concentrate so, for the first time ever, I have taken the day off. I still have lots to do. We had some new bedroom furniture delivered yesterday and it’s still in boxes around the house which will get unpacked later, in between me responding to all the lovely congratulations messages and excitedly checking chart positions!

Tonight I’m on a Facebook Live in conversation with my fabulous editor, Nia Beynon. It will be at 7-8pm over on the Book and Tonic Facebook page so hope you can join us.

Have a fabulous day and hope to see you later at the Facebook Live.

Big hugs

Jessica xx

CHRISTMAS AT CARLY’S CUPCAKES

It’s the most wonderful time of the year…
It’s December on Castle Street; the fairy lights are twinkling, snow has settled and the festive season is in full swing.

For Carly, the owner of Carly’s Cupcakes, it’s the busiest time of year getting everyone’s Christmas treats ready on time. However with her clumsy sister, Bethany, as a co-worker, it’s proving a difficult task. They say you shouldn’t mix work with family. Maybe they have a point…

As Christmas approaches, Carly is also eagerly awaiting the return of her best friend to Whitborough Bay. Liam has no idea he’s been the object of her affection since their schooldays. After years of pining after him, can Carly pluck up the courage to finally tell him how she really feels by 25th December?

Could a little festive magic make all of Carly’s wishes come true this Christmas…?

A heartwarming, short festive story of friendship and family from bestseller Jessica Redland. You can find out what happens to Carly next through exploring her best friend Tara’s story in Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café

This is a new and updated version of Christmas at Carly’s Cupcakes which has been previously published.


You can buy it here.

STARRY SKIES OVER THE CHOCOLATE POT CAFE

Cosy up with a mug of hot chocolate for some festive sparkle from bestseller Jessica Redland.

Everyone is getting into the festive spirit on Castle Street – snow is falling, fairy lights are glistening and Christmas shopping is underway.

But for Tara Porter, owner of thriving cafe, The Chocolate Pot, this is the most difficult time of the year. From the outside, Tara is a successful businesswoman and pillar of the community. Behind closed doors, she is lonely. 

With a lifetime of secrets weighing on her shoulders, she has retreated from all friends, family and romance, and shut her real self away from the world. Afterall, if you don’t let them in, they can’t hurt you. She’s learnt that the hard way.

But as the weight of her past becomes heavier and an unexpected new neighbour moves onto the street – threatening the future of her cafe – Tara begins to realise that maybe it’s time to finally let people back in and confront her history. It could just change her life forever…

Starry Skies Over The Chocolate Pot Café was originally released as Christmas at The Chocolate Pot Café. Now re-released with a new title and new cover, this version has been freshly edited and features several new chapters.

You can buy it here.