Review: 'Christmas Under a Starlit Sky' by Holly Martin (2016)
Neve Whitaker loves managing the Stardust Lake hotel. She gets to work alongside her wonderful family and she’s spending Christmas on the most enchanting, snow-covered island in Scotland. So why is her heart so heavy this festive season?
It might have something to do with the gorgeous actor Oakley Rey, the man she finished with before he left for California and the man she loves more than anything. With Oakley’s career in Hollywood soaring, Neve is convinced she’d only hold him back. She had to end it with him – at least that’s what she keeps telling herself.
But now she has a secret she’s struggling to keep, and when Oakley arrives on Juniper Island determined to win her back, Neve is thrown off balance. Will Neve’s fear of having her heart broken again push Oakley away for good, or is it time for her to take a leap of faith?
Holly Martin is slowly on her way to become part of the royalty group of Christmas fiction, especially seeing as I have a review of her second 2016 festive read to share with all of you today! Last year I thoroughly enjoyed her December novels 'Snow Flakes on Silver Cove' and 'Christmas at Lilac Cottage', and this year I really loved 'Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky', the first part of her 'A Town Called Christmas' series (click here to read my review). I've been really excited about picking up this second part, revisit some of the familiar characters and read more about Neve in particular!
Neve Whitaker loves her job at the Stardust Lake Hotel which is owned by her brother Gabe. She’s close to her family and gets to live in a gorgeous location, but she can’t help but continue to feel that something important is missing. More particularly, someone important, namely famous actor Oakley Rey, whom she was in a relationship with until she decided it was better for them to call it quits. But then Oakley arrives on Juniper Island just before Christmas, ready to convince Neve they are meant to be together. At the same time Neve is struggling to keep a big secret from Oakley and her family, and she realises she will have to make some important decisions and she’ll have to make them soon.
It was great to revisit Juniper Island and the Stardust Lake Hotel, which were already introduced in the first part of Holly Martin’s ‘A Town Called Christmas’ series: ‘Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky.’ While that particular novel focused on Gabe and his childhood best friend Pip, we now get to learn more about Gabe’s sister, Neve, who also works at the hotel and is experiencing some romance problems. I really enjoyed the storyline between Neve and Oakley, her ex-boyfriend who also happens to be a famous actor (and a character I’m sure many readers will develop a crush on!). The setting of the novel is simply gorgeous, and I really enjoyed that the author decided to not simply focus on Neve and Oakley, but also include some background stories on other secondary characters, such as assistant manager Adam and Neve’s other brother Luke.
I’ve really fallen in love with Juniper Island and Holly Martin’s writing is incredibly comfortable to get into and enjoyable overall. She knows what chick lit should be all about and creates stories with a large dose of romance, humour, great characters and a guaranteed happy ending. I have to admit I did enjoy ‘Christmas Under a Cranberry Sky’ a bit more than this one, just because I thought Neve and Oakley’s story was a bit slow-paced and I got a bit annoyed by Neve’s behaviour. When you are thinking about picking up this novel, I definitely recommend starting with the first part of the series, just so you know the background details and a bit more about all the characters. Overall, though, Holly Martin has treated us to another lovely festive tale in the form of ‘Christmas Under a Starlit Sky’; a stunning Christmas read which I can see myself picking up again next year, even if it’s just to get a good dose of romance and Christmas cheer!