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A Christmas Miracle in the Little Irish Village by Michelle Vernal #Review

  Michelle Vernal's A Christmas Miracle in the Little Irish Village was published on September 27th by Bookoutre . Ava Kelly loves returning to Emerald Bay for Christmas. Snowflakes fall on the green rolling hills and mulled wine fills The Shamrock Inn with the smell of winter spice. But this year, the Kelly family is hoping for a miracle… When twenty-four-year-old Ava Kelly and her adventurous twin Grace return home to The Shamrock Inn, their Ma’s favourite baubles bring back so many memories of Christmases past. They have always done everything together, even leaving their little Irish village for the excitement of London. But with the locket her handsome ex Shane gave her hanging just above her heart, Ava has just one wish this festive season… After a year stuck in a job she can’t stand and going on dreadful dates, Ava longs to be back with Shane. Curling up in front of the fire with him, the brooding fisherman everyone else sees melts away as his blue eyes meet hers.

Rhubarb Rhubarb by Mary Jane Paterson and Jo Thompson #Review

Today we are celebrating a slightly different genre of book. Rhubarb, Rhubarb is a non-fiction book which features seasonal recipes and gardening tips. Published on April 9th by Unbound, it collects the witty, wide-ranging correspondence between Leiths-trained cook Mary Jane Paterson and award-winning gardener Jo Thompson.

Two good friends who found themselves in a perfect world of cupcakes and centrepieces, they decided to demystify their own skills for one another: the results are sometimes self-deprecating, often funny, and always enlightening. 

Jo would find herself one day panicking about what to cook for Easter lunch: a couple of emails with Mary Jane and the fear subsided, and sure enough, a delicious meal appeared on the table.
Meanwhile, Jo helped Mary Jane combat her irrational fear of planting bulbs by showing how straightforward the process can be.
The book is full of sane, practical advice for the general reader: it provides uncomplicated, seasonal recipes that people can make in the midst of their busy lives, just as the gardening tips are interesting, quick and helpful for beginners. 

Mary Jane shares secrets and knowledge gathered over a lifetime of providing fabulous food for friends and family, while Jo's expertise in beautiful planting enables the reader to have a go at simple schemes with delightful results.

                                                                                     My Thoughts

I absolutely loved this book. It is such a tonic especially at this time. It is one of these books which are also a beautiful object and it is a real pleasure to look at the illustrations which are scattered throughout. It starts in the Spring which feels appropriate at the moment and the energetic, chatty tone makes you want to read on. I also loved the little glimpses you get of their daily lives.

    There are some mouth-watering recipes to sample and the link between the growing of food and the harvesting and cooking of the herbs seems plain. I also loved the gardening responses- I was particularly looking forward to hearing about the hydrangeas as I have been dithering about dead-heading the blooms. The no- nonsense tone gives you confidence to just have a go. 

In short: Friendly, approachable, witty.
                                                                             About the Author 

 Mary Jane Paterson trained at Leiths School of Food and Wine, then worked as a cook, including at the English Gardening School. Her first culinary adventure was documented in her mother Jill Lowe’s novel Yadav: A Roadside Love Story.

 Jo Thompson is one of the UK’s leading garden designers, renowned for her exquisite planting and innate sense of place. Jo’s Wedgwood Garden won a gold medal at the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show, and she has won numerous other awards including several Chelsea golds. She also lectures and writes for the Sunday Times.

You can follow the authors here:  Twitter @RhubarbRhubarb5 
                                                    |  Instagram

Jo Thompson Twitter

Book link: Amazon UK 

Thanks to the authors and Unbound, and Anne Cater of Random Things Tours   for a place on the tour and a copy of the book.

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