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Review of 'Christmas Memories at Waterside Cottage' - K T Dady

Welcome to Pepper Bay, where you’ll find love, drama, and a happily ever after.

Snuggle down with this cosy, feel-good, comfort read that whisks you away to a beautiful bay on the Isle of Wight – Perfect for fans of Christie Barlow, Alison Sherlock, Rachael Lucas, and Holly Martin.

The Pepper Bay books are standalone stories that intertwine with recurring characters. Best enjoyed when read in order.

Christmas Memories at Waterside Cottage: Charlie and Grace have been together for four years, but when Grace wakes up in hospital after an accident, she doesn’t remember her husband at all. With Christmas just around the corner, and it being their favourite time of year, Charlie pulls out all the festive stops, hoping his wife will remember their relationship or at least fall in love with him all over again, because there is no way he can lose her.

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I read this sandwiched between two books with slightly weightier plots, so it was lovely to have some light relief. What I hadn't expected however, was that reading this would kick start my reading again, but it is a huge relief to find that I am now managing to carve out some time to read and that when a book really engages me, I can read at something approaching my usual speed.

Life has been difficult for the last few weeks - we've gone from a household of 5 down to 2 in the space of a month and it's fair to say that both myself and the short one have found it something of a challenge. When the people you love are many miles from you it can be difficult to find the joy in life and it's also very easy to slip into thinking about how you 'should' be feeling, rather than focusing on how you are. To a greater or lesser extent, you put on a show for people and at least for me, it's true to say that often it's easier to dismiss queries with, 'I'm fine' and leave it at that because you don't want to have a conversation about how actually, you're not really fine. If you say it out loud you have to admit it's true and if you do that, you might lose the ability to cope.

Therefore, the theme of Christmas Memories resonated with me far more than I had expected it to when I initially read the blurb a few months ago. Whilst I've never experienced memory loss due to head trauma, that feeling of being separate to everyone around you is a very familiar one. I often find myself internally observing my interactions with people around me and stressing about what they might be thinking or feeling and second guessing every action I take or don't take. Consequently, the insights into Charlie and Grace's minds really highlighted that for me.

What I found intriguing about this was that whilst I was confident - given the nature of the genre - that Charlie and Grace would stay together, I wasn't sure until almost the very end whether it would be because she regained her memories, or because the 'new' Grace fell in love with Charlie all over again and I thought this was a really interesting approach to take. The other thing it made me think about was all the decisions we take as writers about the journey our characters go on and there were many places within the plot where a slight tweak or a marginally different decision would have sent the plot down an entirely different (and not always genre appropriate) route. This isn't something I normally think about when I'm reading other people's books, but it was interesting for me to speculate on this, safe in the knowledge that whatever my own wild imagination came up with as it pondered the paths not taken, Grace and Charlie would get their happy ending one way or another and Christmas would be saved for the Hadley and Wallis clan.

Author Bio – Hello, I’m K.T. Dady. I’m the bestselling author of the Pepper Bay series. I’m also a chocolate lover, mum to a grown-up daughter, and a huge fan of a HEA. I was born and raised in the East End of London, and I’ve been happily writing stories since I was a little girl. When I’m not writing, I’m reading, baking cakes, or pottering around in my little garden in Essex, trying not to kill the flowers.

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