#TsundokuSquad Book Club – December 2021 – Underneath the Christmas Tree

Hello fellow bookworms!

At the start of the year I announced that I had joined a book club (#TsundokuSquad) and today I am sharing our groups thoughts on our last read of the year. How have we been doing this for a year already? We decided to read a Christmas book for our last one of the year.

Title: Underneath the Christmas Tree (Wynmouth #2)

Author: Heidi Swain

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Romance

Goodreads Rating: 4.36

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

#TsundokuSquad Average Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Source: ARC

Synopsis:

Wynter’s Trees is the home of Christmas. For the people of Wynmouth it’s where they get their family Christmas tree, and where Christmas truly comes to life.

But for Liza Wynter, it’s a millstone around her neck. It was her father’s pride and joy but now he’s gone, she can’t have anything to do with it. Until her father’s business partner decides to retire and she must go back to handle the transition to his son Ned.

When Liza arrives, she discovers a much-loved business that’s flourishing under Ned’s stewardship. And she’s happy to stay and help for the Christmas season, but then she has other plans. But will the place where she grew up make her change her mind? And can it weave its Christmas cheer around her heart…?

#TsundokuSquad Review:

A few of the group members had talked about Heidi Swain’s books before so a few months ago I decided to check them out. If you are not familiar with Heidi Swain then she has three books series and this is the second in the Wynmouth collection. Don’t panic you don’t need to of read the previous books in the series as each one focuses on a different main character. I’m so pleased I checked Heidi Swain out and I am kicking myself for not doing it earlier so far I have read 5 of her books and I plan to read the rest next year.

Our book club usually splits the book into 4 sections and discusses each section on a Saturday night. As the fourth Saturday falls on Christmas Day we decided to wrap this one up sooner. I usually do a complete breakdown of week to week and our groups thoughts but today I am going to share an overall review.

Liza Wynter has just been made redundant again and is frankly feeling lost, although she probably won’t admit that. She has a business plan and wants to go on a big trip, maybe to see the northern lights but to do that she needs money. When her deceased dad’s business partner calls to invite her to Wynmouth, to see her dad’s Christmas tree plantation, Liza see’s this as the perfect opportunity to cuts ties with the place once and for all.

Lets face it, we all know exactly where this one is leading and this is often the case for Heidi Swain’s books. I can tell you from the synopsis where the romance element will lead but it is all about the journey. Yes Heidi wants you to root for that romance and will her characters together but her books, for me, are all about the community and the twists and turns along that journey.

By the time we had finished this read most of us in the group were ready to go shopping at Wynter’s Trees, we could visualise the beach huts and the seasonal merchandise on sale. The wooden lodge with endless cups of Liza’s delicious hot chocolate sounded perfect to wake up to on Christmas Day. If Ned was there then that would be a bigger bonus, obviously the towel would have to be included! (if you’ve read this then you’ll know what we mean)

Heidi Swain’s books have depth. Her characters are imperfect, flawed and quite often have no idea what to do with their life. The stall holders, Mya, Liam and of course David were the perfect cast to help Liza find her way. It just made so many of us crave that idyllic, quaint seas side living. If you are looking for a book with all the Christmas vibes, traditions and magic then yes this is for you. However it is so much more than just a Christmas book with cosy and fuzzy feelings. It’s a book about grief, guilt, friendship and community. Be prepared to fall in love with Wynmouth, Wynter’s Trees, Liza and the entire community.

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