Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in a festive Blog Bitz for Poppy’s Christmas Wishes, the latest novel by Annette Hannah.
Here is my review of this lovely book, which is full of Christmas magic, romance and friendship:
Having moved miles away from home to be with her boyfriend only to have him break up with her, Poppy is understandably not in the mood for Christmas. Then she meets a genie – well, he’s playing the role of a genie in a pantomime! – who tells her he will do his best to make her three Christmas wishes come true… This was a delightful, feel-good story, that had me hooked from the beginning, and, with its unexpected twists and turns, kept me guessing throughout as to whether Poppy would get her wishes before Christmas comes around again – and without giving away the plot, there was one wish I certainly hoped she wouldn’t get! With an extremely likeable heroine, and a host of well-drawn secondary characters, the book is not only a heart-warming love story, but it is also about friendship and fresh starts – a book that is ideal to curl up with, and not only at Christmas.
Here is an extract from the novel:
Breathlessly, they pulled away from each other. He exhaled loudly, adjusted his clothes and helped her dismount from the table.
‘So that’s the kitchen christened, which I believe is a full house.’
‘Oi cheeky.’ She slapped him playfully on the arm and slipped back into her robe, her heart still racing. ‘I don’t think we’ve done it in the airing cupboard yet.’ She laughed.
He gave her a cheeky wink and kissed her on the cheek, raising his arm behind her to check his watch as he did so. ‘I’ve probably got time for a quick coffee before I head off.’ He patted her on the bum on his way past to get his overnight bag.
Poppy had been hoping for a bit of an afterglow moment before normality kicked in, but she knew he needed to get back to Liverpool as he was back in work the next day. She filled the kettle and rinsed out his flask.
‘I wish you didn’t have to go back. It’s so unfair, we should have been moving in together.’
‘I know, I’m sorry but it just couldn’t be helped, they need me up there for just a little while longer. But it’s only a few weeks and it’ll fly by.’ He pulled her over to the living room window and cuddled her from behind, kissing her cheek. ‘Look at that view of Market Square and the amazing fountain.’
‘It is gorgeous, isn’t it? The quaint little shops, a pub on the doorstep, just a stone’s throw away from the river… and so handy for the station so I can get the train home whenever I want to.’ She laughed. ‘I’m beginning to sound like the estate agent now, extolling the virtues of the historical market town of Bramblewood.’
‘I think you’re going to be very happy here.’
‘Don’t you mean we?’ she replied.
‘Yes, of course.’ He walked away from the window, gulped down his coffee and got ready to go.
Poppy’s heart sank.
‘I’m going to miss you.’ She wound her arms around his shoulders and lifted her face to him. He kissed her passionately.
‘You too. Good luck with the new job.’
‘Thank you. Well, it’s the training course first in London. I’m a little bit nervous but I’ll be counting down the days until you join me and then it’s Christmas in New York here we come. I’m so excited for that, it’s going to be amazing.’
‘You’ll be great and I’m sure the time will fly. Bye then.’ He kissed her and went to walk away but came back and pulled her into his arms. ‘I do love you, you know. Always remember that no matter what happens.’
‘Are you OK?’ she asked.
He took a deep breath as though he was about to say something important but then shook his head. ‘I’m fine. Apart from the fact that I’ll miss you a lot.’
‘Aw, I’ll miss you too. Bye then, have a safe trip and text me when you get home.’ After closing the door, she went into the main bedroom, picked up the framed picture of the two of them from the bedside table and hugged it to her chest as she curled up on the sofa to watch a film.
A few days later after completing the training course, she arrived at the office bright and early following a short bus ride from Bramblewood. A lady called Tania showed her to her desk and introduced her to a young man called Dan; the three of them sat next to each other in the corner of the office. Tania showed her where the facilities and the stationery cupboard were and Dan got her a coffee. Poppy had spoken to them both on numerous occasions when she worked at the Liverpool branch, so it was good to finally meet face to face. As she unpacked her bits and pieces into her desk and drawers, she felt that she might like it here after all. She would miss her best friend Layla, with whom she’d worked for years and who had cried buckets when Poppy had left but she’d promised she would visit lots.
‘I can’t believe it’s lunchtime already,’ said Poppy, as Tania invited her to the canteen.
‘Hopefully that means you’re enjoying it so far then if it’s going quickly.’ Tania handed Poppy a tray. ’So, what was it that made you move two hundred miles away from home?’ she asked as they moved their trays along the counter past displays of sandwiches and glass screens showcasing various hot meals.
‘Oh, my boyfriend Ed was offered an amazing job opportunity down here that was simply too good to turn down. It was a huge promotion. He’d been bypassed for the directorship at our branch which he’d been working towards for years, so he was really disappointed about that – devastated, in fact, as it was his dream job. However, this job was a close second. He wasn’t keen on moving but asked me to come with him. I wasn’t so sure as I loved my job and have great friends there. But he eventually managed to persuade me especially when he told me about the New York proposal he had in mind. He suggested this job, so I applied for it and, lucky for me, I got it.’ She placed an egg and cress sandwich on her tray and a cup under the spout of the drinks machine, which after a bit of fiddling around with, soon filled with coffee.
‘Oh, that’s worked out perfectly for you then,’ said Tania. ‘So, when’s he moving down?’ She chose a jacket potato and thanked the lady behind the counter for adding tuna.
‘Well that’s just it, he was meant to move down the same time as me, but his job was delayed until the new year. So as soon as he breaks up for Christmas, we are off to New York to get engaged and then after Christmas, he starts his new job here.’
‘What lovely news and how exciting for you,’ replied Tania.
‘I know, I can’t wait, in less than a month I will have a fiancé and we’ll have moved in together.’
‘What’s his new job?’ asked Tania as she paid for her food.
‘He’s going to be the financial controller,’ Poppy said, her heart bursting with pride.
‘No, he’s not,’ interrupted a woman who pushed Poppy’s tray along the shelf whilst she searched for her purse in her bag. Poppy only just managed to catch the tray before it fell off the end of the counter. The unsmiling woman continued. ‘David Bimble is the new Financial Controller; he starts next Monday.’
‘Well, that’s not true. You must be mistaken?’ said Poppy, her voice caught in her throat as a feeling of nausea washed over her. ‘I was only with Ed the other night; he was saying how much he was looking forward to moving in with me.’ He did say that, didn’t he? She wracked her brains to see whether he had said anything of the sort and realised he’d actually worded his answers very carefully.
‘I can assure you if it’s Ed Casey you’re talking about then he turned the job down last minute and caused me a lot of extra work in admin.’
‘But why would he do that?’ she asked, more to herself than this smug woman.
‘I heard he had a better offer.’ She pushed past Poppy and paid for her food.
‘I’m sure it’s just a misunderstanding,’ said Tania, shooting the woman a look as if to say shut up.
Poppy gathered her tray up along with her feelings of confusion and joined Tania who was waiting for her by the till.
‘Britt likes to cause problems, watch out for her as she’s not the nicest. Are you OK? You look a bit pale.’
‘I’m not too sure?’ answered Poppy honestly as prickles of unease crawled down her back.
To purchase Poppy’s Christmas Wishes and read more of this enchanting story, please click on the link below:
Poppy’s Christmas Wishes
What would you wish for if you were granted three wishes? For the first time she can remember, Poppy is dreading Christmas. Unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend after moving across the country for him, there’s nothing cheery about the festive season this year. Dragged to a Christmas ball by best friend Layla, Poppy meets gorgeous actor Gabe, who stars as a genie in a play. When he asks her what three wishes she would make, she realises it’s quite simple: love, a job she’s happy in and, just once in her life, to do something extraordinary. Gabe and Poppy make a pact to help each other make their dreams come true. As they tick off their wishes, their friendship blossoms… But, as they discover, sometimes, what you want for Christmas isn’t necessarily what you need…
A delicious romance to snuggle up with this festive season from the author of Wedding Bells at the Signal Box Café and The Cosy Little Cupcake Van.
About Annette Hannah
Annette Hannah is a Liver Bird who relocated to leafy Hertfordshire in the 80’s and now lives near a river with her husband, two of their three grown up children and a crazy black cocker spaniel. She writes Romantic comedies in settings inspired by the beautiful countryside around her and always with a nod to her hometown.
She worked in Marketing for many years as a qualified Marketeer which she loved as it tapped into her creative side. As an avid reader, she began to review the books she read, became a book blogger and eventually plucked up the courage to fulfil her life long dream of writing a book.
For four years she was a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s new writers’ scheme, during which time she wrote a book a year. After signing a two book deal with Orion Dash in 2020 she graduated to full member of the organisation and is also their Press Officer. She loves long walks along the river, travelling to far flung places and spending time with her friends and family.
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