Review by Veronica

I watched as he stood there for a few moments, deliberating what to do. Then he surprised me by swiping off his woolly hat, throwing his dark head back and allowing the flakes to caress his upturned face.

His dark, spikey lashes fluttered as he then poked out his tongue and savoured the falling flakes. 

I found myself unable to pull my eyes away from his compelling profile: the long, regal nose, his hooded lids and his thick, dark hair, which was turning damp with the snow. 

The Highland Lodge Getaway is bursting with Christmas magic that is sure to warm your heart.

Lottie Grant loves the festive season so much that she works at the incredibly successful Christmas shop, Christmas Crackers, in her pretty Scottish home town of Craig Brae. But when the shop is sold, her world is turned upside down, leaving her wondering what she will do next.

Just as she’s about to give up hope on finding a new dream job, an offer comes that she can’t refuse, managing a set of luxury wooden cabins… and opening just in time for Christmas!

As she gets to work decorating the cabins, and hanging lights on the fir trees, Lottie can’t believe her luck. That is until the arrival of Blake Dempster, a moody but handsome hiking expert, who threatens to bring down her festive joy. But never one to shy away from a challenge, Lottie is determined to change Blake’s mind about all things festive.

And as the snow falls and the fairy lights sparkle, will work-obsessed Lottie and frozen-hearted Blake make their Christmas wishes come true?

Well, this book is an absolute delight. I read it almost in one sitting (who needs sleep anyway?). Julie’s writing continues to delight and charm me, and I just find myself falling more and more in love with her stories. The Highland Lodge Getaway is filled with Christmas cheer, romance, and so much heart. There is something so wonderful and soothing about Julie’s writing. She is a master at telling a heartfelt story (think Hallmark-ish) with a lot of depth and sometimes a good old-fashioned mystery. In The Highland Lodge Getaway, the mystery part is more geared around the mystery of Blake’s past, which I loved. Y’all know I am a big fan of small-town, grumpy sunshine romances, so this book just ticked off all those things that make a great story for me. I loved being in Craig Brae and seeing all their Christmas traditions. It just warmed my heart.

The story has a slower start; we are introduced to Lottie, who is excited to become the new owner of Christmas Crackers, but of course, her dreams of owning her own business are dashed when the landlord won’t renew Christmas Crackers’ lease. Feeling lost, Lottie doesn’t know what her next steps are. On top of losing her business, she still deals with the grief of losing her dad. When a mysterious couple offers her a job to decorate their new rental cottages for Christmas, Lottie knows this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. At the beginning of the story, Lottie is unsure of herself. She is afraid she is going to screw up this new job opportunity. Watching Lottie grow confident and show off her talents to the world was delightful. Her passion for Christmas and decorating just leaps from the pages. I always love watching a character in their element. Lottie’s character comes to life when she is setting out her vision for the rental cottages. I also loved listening to her talk about Christmas and why it is so important to her.

We don’t meet Blake until about a quarter through the book. And let me tell you, he is one prickly and grumpy man. Lottie and Blake find themselves working together at the new cottage rental place. To say they get off on the wrong foot would be an understatement. Blake’s dislike for the Christmas season causes him to lash out at Lottie, and he tries to undermine her décor ideas. The sparring that happens between these two is a bit addictive to watch. Lottie and Blake clash for the first half of the book. I devoured the tension that existed between these two. And then, ever so slowly, Blake started to become less and less prickly towards Lottie. Boy, when that man starts to show his softer side, it had my heart pitter-pattering. Lottie and Blake’s story just had this wonderful, warm, slow-burn feel to it. Don’t be fooled; there are some hurdles that they have to overcome, mainly Blake’s unwillingness to talk about his past.

The Highland Lodge Getaway is a satisfying and fun romance and a perfect read for a wintery night.

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