The sparkling new Christmas novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author Heidi Swain!
When Anna takes on the role of companion to the owner of Wynthorpe Hall, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, she has no idea that her life is set to change beyond all recognition.
A confirmed ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, Anna is amazed to find herself quickly immersed in the eccentric household, and when youngest son Jamie unexpectedly arrives home it soon becomes obvious that her personal feelings are going all out to compromise her professional persona.
Jamie, struggling to come to terms with life back in the Fens, makes a pact with Anna – she has to teach him to fall back in love with Wynthorpe Hall, while he helps her fall back in love with Christmas. But will it all prove too much for Anna, or can the family of Wynthorpe Hall warm her heart once and for all…?
Join Anna for a festive journey festooned with sleigh rides and silver bells and help her discover her happy-ever-after.
EXTRACT – SLEIGH RIDES AND SILVER BELLS AT THE CHRISTMAS FAIR
Most people, at some point during their adult lives, struggle to come up with what to put on their Christmas list, but not me. Asking for the same present every year since I turned eighteen has ensured that I’ve never encountered that particular problem and now, almost twenty years later, it’s still my first choice.
My longed- for gift of working every day of December, including right through the Christmas holidays, might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for the last two decades it’s proved an absolute sanity saver for me. However, this is one present that I have to sort for myself and it simply has to be wrapped up well in advance of the Big Day. So, to give myself the best possible chance of securing the right post, I begin the search when the first leaves fall in
autumn, and this year was no exception. By the middle of November I had the choice of two situations, but it was the isolated location of one of them which left me powerless
‘And just how remotely situated would you say Wynthorpe Hall actually is?’ I asked, during the brief telephone interview with Angus Connelly, the hall owner, who was keen
for me to take the temporary job he had to offer.
‘Very,’ he cautiously replied. ‘And is that going to be a problem do you think, Anna? Because this really isn’t the sort of place where you can just pop round the corner for a bag of sugar, I’m afraid. It’s more like a forty- minute round trip into town and there are no other houses nearby.’
Little did he know it of course, but his words were music to my ears. The other job I had been offered was back in central London and although the pay and perks were vastly
different, so was the atmosphere at this time of year. The city would already be awash with lights, cheesy tunes and festive cheer and as far as I was concerned that was far too hefty
a price to pay for an extra zero on the salary. Hunkering down in the barren and frosty Fenland landscape, without so much as a carol singer in sight, would be a much appreciated
soothing balm to my troubled soul and I mulled it over with relish.
‘Of course I appreciate that compared to some, we don’t have much to offer in terms of inducements,’ Mr Connelly continued, no doubt taking my hesitation for a refusal, ‘but
the work is light and it will be quiet here for most of the time. My wife, Catherine, is recovering well from her surgery now so—’
‘And that’s what I don’t really understand,’ I interrupted. ‘According to your email your wife had knee surgery some weeks ago. Surely if she’s up and about she doesn’t need
someone to look after her now, especially as you just said yourself you have no grand plans for Christmas this year.’
I know I sounded blunt, but I needed to secure a position that would keep me busy and occupied. I couldn’t abide wasting time during any month of the year, but especially
during December. Twiddling my thumbs would lead to thinking, and thinking when the decorations were out of the loft was the one thing I never allowed myself to do.
This telephone call was my one opportunity to ascertain that I wouldn’t be besieged by free time, or conversely that I wouldn’t be roped into helping to prepare some grand country- house Christmas either, and therefore I was determined to have everything settled in my mind, every wrinkle smoothed out, before I made my final decision.
Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at The Christmas Fair by Heidi Swain is out now, published by Simon and Schuster.
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Merry Christmas from Kelly & The Team, thank you for all your support and love in 2017.