It’s Day 8 of my Twelve Books for Christmas blog, where I introduce you to twelve romance books to warm your heart and make you feel all Christmassy. 🙂 They’ll all make wonderful presents for a friend, or you could even treat yourself. Today’s festive treat is Ella Cook’s engaging Summer’s Christmas, a Christmas/Summer crossover and mash-up where a village must come together to not only raise a child – but maybe save a little girl’s life.
Summer by name and summer by nature – that’s how people describe Evelyn’s happy, outgoing daughter. Even if her favourite time of year is actually Christmas!
But Summer has gone through more than any eight-year-old ever should, and that’s part of the reason Evelyn is leaving everything behind to return to her childhood home in the village of Broclington; just her, Summer and Summer’s best friend – a Shiba Inu dog called Tilly.
Unsurprisingly, Evelyn is hesitant to let anyone else in, although local vet Jake Macpearson seems intent on winning her trust.
When Evelyn receives the news that every mother dreads, it’s Jake who comes to the rescue. With the help of the Broclington community, could he be the man to bring festive magic to August, and make all of Evelyn and Summer’s Christmases come at once?
Welcome Ella. Can you tell us what Christmas means to you?
I have always been the type of person who loves Christmas – not so much the parties and food (which admittedly, is brilliant) – but the sentiment behind it. I love that we adopt the Celtic (Yule) traditions of lighting up the darkest parts of the year, and decorating our homes with all things that remind us of light and life, and hope for the coming months. Even if nowadays Christmas trees are often plastic, and come in all colours of the rainbow.
I also love the spirit of Christmas – when we think of others, and people are kinder to each other. And it’s the time of year when it’s so much easier to believe in magic and that maybe…just maybe… that noise you just heard could have been sleigh bells, or the clatter of hooves on tiles.
I’m always a little bit sad when the decorations come down in January, and those lovely sentiments of goodwill to all mankind seem to melt as fast as snow. So, I try to keep that magic of Christmas with me long after the tree comes down, and it’s that belief that inspired Summer’s Christmas – which brings the hope, love and magic of Christmas firmly into the rest of the year.
When does Christmas begin for you? When do you put up your Christmas tree? Do you go mad with the decorations or do you just put up a tree?
Well, the present and food shopping is already well underway in November. I love picking things up when I see them and think ‘My Uncle would love that!’, and things like the mincemeat, Christmas pudding and little treats are already tucked away in the attic. The tree goes up whichever weekend is nearest December 1st, and will stay up until after 12th night. Well, I say tree… there’s the big tree we gleefully bought a couple of weeks after we moved into our house – until then we only had room for a smaller tree. Which now sits on the windowsill. There’s also lots of Christmas ornaments, swags, tinsel and lights. The dining room gets decorated too, but to a lesser degree. Most of the upstairs stays the same – but a few swags, mini trees and baubles might sneak onto windowsills. And obviously homemade wreathes decorate our doors. I’ve also got a new idea for this year involving pool noodles and old baubles… but that won’t be until later!
It sounds very festive. What is your earliest Christmas memory?
I might still own a special dolly (creatively named ‘Dolly’) who was poking out of my first ever Christmas stocking. The doll herself isn’t anything particularly special – just a generic baby doll toy, but she is dressed in clothes that were handmade by my Nanna and Grandma. And over the years, she often had clothing that matched mine, made from the scraps of fabric and leftover yarn from the dresses and cardigans that were made for me. Apparently that was the year I also tried to play with all the pretty sparkly things and pulled the tree down on my head! I do still love a bit of glitz and sparkle!
What is your favourite Christmas tradition?
Christmas was always fairly traditional – food, family, friends and fun, although with the slight complication that neither Nanna or Grandma had a big enough oven to cook everything: so quite often we’d cook the turkey, wrap up in foil and tea towels, and then drive it over to Grandma’s – while Nanna would bring the dessert. And we’d all shuffle around the living room, bring folding (or sometimes not!) chairs and somehow all squish in. Though both kitchens and houses are bigger now – so we have separate dining rooms. One tradition we have kept up is more of a Boxing Day tradition than Christmas… where we all put on our new clothes and open the movies and books from the day before and share them while picking at leftovers. It’s a bit of a lazy, relaxed day – with the added joy of sharing stories
Which author, dead or alive, would you like to invite for Christmas dinner?
Terry Pratchett. I love his Discworld, and my partner and I had our first date standing in line to meet him.
If you could travel anywhere you want in the world where would you like to spend Christmas day?
At home. With the people – and critters – I love the most. I quite like the idea of celebrating in a remote castle or something one day, but I love the cosy little village home we’ve built, and will be happy here.
What would make a perfect Christmas for you?
Is it too cliché to say ‘peace on earth?’ Honestly, I’d love to wake up on Christmas morning and the big news of the day is something nonsensical and silly, and unimportant… like or reporting on a charity event because – and this is the important bit – nothing bad or newsworthy has happened. Anywhere. Then a chilled out, happy, relaxed day and the chance to hang out with my partner, Dad and Aunt & Uncle (who introduced me to the Discworld and many other wonderful authors).
It sounds wonderful, Ella.
Ella’s been obsessed with books for as long as she can remember, and family lore has it that her parents used to tuck books into her crib with her – because it was the only way they could get a decent night of sleep!
She grew up in a world where fairies left gifts in her grandmother’s wishing well, and evenings were best spent curling up and reading with her family.
When she’s not living inside a world of her own making, she writes funding bids for children’s services, and specialises in emotional health and wellbeing. She lives in Warwickshire (where’s there’s probably more fairies in the garden), with her ever-loving and patient husband who makes endless cups of tea.
Author contact links
I’m on Twitter @ellacookwrites and at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13637129.Ella_Cook
I do have a website, but not a landing page yet. But here’s the TinyURL https://tinyurl.com/yth4udm8
Thanks for dropping by to talk to us, Ella. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.
Karen King – Writing about the light and dark of relationships.
Amazon Author Page: https://tinyurl.com/y2q5audb