Review: Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky, by Holly Martin
Rated 3 out of 5 stars by Iris Chacon.
This is a non-religious, adult romance set at a winter resort in northern Scotland, where the Northern Lights are a main attraction. The grand opening of the resort coincides with the Christmas season, and the skies are often turned bright colors — including the color of cranberries — hence the title.
Piper Chesterfield is a traveling hotel/restaurant reviewer and has prided herself on her solitary self-sufficiency and freedom since she left the love of her life on a tragic day twelve years back. Imagine her chagrin and discomfort when the resort she checks into for a Christmas review is owned and run by her former lover (now widowed with an adorable 7-year-old daughter).
The author describes people and places in ways that place the reader squarely into the picture. I feel as if I have personally visited the Stardust Lake Hotel in the Shetland Islands, and I have even enjoyed visiting the shops and artisans, reindeer, and feral ponies. Relationships are worked out between numerous couples and families, and old secrets become known while new secrets cause unexpected trouble. The outcome is predictable and the ride through the story is placid and generally pleasant.
Readers whose sensibilities are offended by such things should realize in the world of this story extra-marital sex, teenage sex, and homosexual marriage are all considered normal. This is a Christmas story in which there is no religion, no church (only Elsa’s Ice Palace from Frozen), and God is mentioned only as an expletive. Some love scenes are detailed and explicit. Language is generally mild and appropriate.
For readers who enjoy Holly Martin’s writing, she has several other books set in the charming town of Christmas.
This writer received an ARC in exchange for an honest, objective review.