Review by Veronica

Series name: Heritage Cove, # 6 

What she didn’t expect was to lock eyes with a drop-dead gorgeous guy not too dissimilar to her age, tall and well-built with a crew cut. And she really didn’t expect him to take her hand when she reached up to pull a piece of puff pastry from his hair either.

‘Some might call this a classic meet-cute.’ His mellifluous tone and enticing indigo eyes rendered her incapable of looking away as he pulled the offending piece of pastry from his hair without her help.

Christmas Nights at the Star and Lantern is another great installment in the Heritage Cove series. 

A wonderful story of love, friendship and opening your mind and your heart to new possibilities that will enchant fans of Holly Martin and Heidi Swain. The Copper Plough is at the heart of village life for the residents of Heritage Cove, and never more so than at Christmas, when the tree glows in the alcove and the smell of mulled wine carries out onto the street. So when new owners for the beloved pub arrive and decide to shake things up, not everyone welcomes the changes with open arms. Local bakery owner Celeste is ready to keep an open mind. But she’s shocked to discover that one of the new landlords is Quinn, a former Navy sailor with whom she had a short but powerful romance years earlier. Fate may have brought Quinn and Celeste back together, but life seems determined to keep them apart. Can the villagers learn to embrace the newcomers this Christmas? And will Quinn and Celeste find a way back to each other before snow falls over Heritage Cove? Join new friends and old, as Christmas comes to Heritage Cove. 

Christmas Nights at the Star and Lantern is a wonderful and heart-warming story. I loved all the characters and the charming story that Helen has created. This book is part of the Heritage Cove series but can be read as a stand-alone. Fans of the series will love being able to hang out with MCs from past books. It felt like catching up with old friends. Gosh, I do love small-town English Christmas romance books. It just checks off all those romance boxes that I have. I love the sense of community and togetherness that is often found in small-town-focused stories. In this book, the town of Heritage Cove is going through a change in the form of new owners talking over the local pub. There is this sense of fear about what will happen to their beloved pub. I loved watching the dynamic between the townspeople and the new pub owners, Quinn and Eddie. It’s hard being the new people in town, and these guys seemed to be constantly ruffling feathers with the community. But what stood out to me was that instead of being bitter about the situation, both sides came together and helped each other. I also loved Barney; that old guy is such a woot, and his story in this book is so utterly heartwarming, and he had me laughing throughout the whole book. He was a hidden gem in this story. 

This is a second-chance, slow-burn romance. Celeste and Quinn had a short summer fling a few years before this book. Neither thought they would see each other again. Celeste knew she had feelings for Quinn but also thought she wouldn’t be a good match for him because he wanted a family, and she had no desire to have children. Quinn never forgot about Celeste, and when the opportunity came to purchase the pub, he was excited to live in the same town as her. He was hoping to re-kindle those romantic feelings that had existed between them. But he is surprised that Celeste acts cold and distant to the news that he will live in Heritage Cove.

On top of that, Quinn is also dealing with PTSD from his time in the Navy and is afraid of how Celeste will react to his night terrors. There is this sense of realism in Celeste and Quinn’s relationship. I was interested in seeing how Helen would bring these two together. And I have to say that I enjoyed watching these two reconnect. They have issues that they have to work through, and it isn’t smooth sailing, but their romantic journey felt real and right to me. And there HEA was perfect! 

Christmas Nights at the Star and Lantern is a delightful story with unforgettable characters and a HEA that will melt your heart. 

Thank you, Rachel Random Resources and Boldwood Books, for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.