When I saw A Cosy Christmas in Cornwall by Jane Linfoot, I was immediately interested since I had spent a happy vacation in Cornwall, albeit in May. I hoped to see in the book places I had personally visited, or at the very least, mentions of places I had been.
The picture below is of Restormel Castle in Cornwall; perhaps the castle where Ivy spends Christmas is like this one. One can dream!
The narrator of A Cosy Christmas in Cornwall is Ivy Starforth. She describes herself as flawed. She lists a number of plans that have not quite gone according to her hopes including losing her steady boyfriend, George.
Now, though, Ivy is on her way to an exceptional Christmas in a Cornish castle. Ivy works with Fliss, her friend, at Daniels, a family-owned department store in London. They keep the windows looking attractive and inviting with merchandise. Ivy and Fliss build the displays; Ivy has done much of the work on her own the last two years because Fliss has had two pregnancies quite close together.
Fliss’s older sister is Libby, a woman who “is seriously driven.” Ivy describes Libby with these words: “Libby is one of the amazing multi-tasking entrepreneur super mums who started a decade ago with a new-born, a toddler, and a idea for a baby carrier, and went on to take over the world.”
Now, Libby has hired Ivy to stage the scene for her Christmas pictures, primarily social media posts, from the Cornish castle. Ivy must make sure the pictures are, well, picture-perfect. Ivy’s job, no pressure, of course, is to make Libby’s posts amazing. And that means all of them, not just some of them.
Ivy and her dog Merwyn arrive ahead of Libby and her children. Ivy believes she will have time to get the lay of the land and be ready for staging Libby’s fantastic pictures for posting to Instagram.
Given what little readers already know about Ivy—from her own descriptions—that her life is less than perfect and that she often makes the wrong decision, readers must be thinking what could possibly go wrong on this Christmas adventure.
Readers quickly learn than much can go wrong or at least not be quite right. Ivy meets Bill at the castle and realizes he is someone she knows and has not expected to encounter again. Another problem is that the wi-fi signal comes and goes; it is completely unreliable. Ivy’s sole reason for being is to stage the pictures Libby can send immediately then on Instagram. If that’s going to be a problem, then Libby will definitely be unhappy.
Ivy discovers the castle is not decorated for Christmas. Even more alarming, she finds that Bill will be on the premises the whole time to. He explains, “[the castle] is more of an Airnb model than a proper let.” As a result, he likes to be on hand “so when there are problems, I’m on the spot to sort them out.”
The word problems alarms Ivy. When she asks about the problems, Bill casually says there may be no problems, but the potential exists.
Thus far, Ivy sees only problems and wonders how she will cope with Libby’s demands. Readers find themselves on a merry ride as Ivy tries to stay ahead of any difficulties. Will the tension that has already developed between Bill and Ivy turn into something else? Read the full story to discover all the answers.
A Cosy Christmas in Cornwall provides readers with a charming story and an unconventional narrator. The characters are well-drawn and engaging. Jane Linfoot lives in Derbyshire. Discover more about Linfoot’s books at this site: https://www.fantasticfiction.com/l/jane-linfoot/. She has published ten novels including one called Plotting for Beginners: A Novel for New Beginnings which she co-wrote with Sue Hepworth.