Cover Image: Christmas at Lock Keeper's Cottage

Christmas at Lock Keeper's Cottage

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Member Reviews

Dear Santa,

Thank you so much for the early Christmas present you sent in the form of this lovely novel, Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage, by Lucy Coleman. This story hit all my favorite holiday buttons: a plausible romance, a cozy setting near the water, a beloved older relative, a bit of family drama, and a weather disaster.

And it even opened with a letter to you!

Santa, I really loved the main character of Immi – Imogen. She was so realistically written with such a big heart but without being at all naive. Her  partner, Gray, was also a wonderfully dimensional creation. Tollie, Fisher, the innkeepers, and all the other townsfolk felt like the kind of people you really would run into in a cafe or a pub, serve on committees with, and interact with in any number of ordinary ways. So vibrant a picture did author Coleman draw, that I wanted to step into the book, and be a part of the festivities.

I’m a sucker for a good Christmas story, and this novel is a great story for the season, with a narrowboat tricked out for the holiday, and little kids getting to sail with Santa Claus, but this was hardly Hallmark fare. Rather, it was a compelling parallel drama – Immi looking for truths about her mother, and Gray facing truths about his father – that were made all the more compelling because of the time of year, and festive background.

If you want a holiday romance with adult characters who feel like real people, one with a bit more depth than the usual Christmas fluff, this novel, Christmas at Lock Keep Cottage – should be the first thing on everyone’s list, Santa.

It would go well with a locally brewed beer and and a hearty stew or chili.

Thanks again for putting this novel on my radar, Santa. Looking forward to seeing you this December.

Don’t forget my pony.
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This is just the book to get you in the mood for Christmas reading. It captures the run up to Christmas through the eyes of Immi. She has come to appreciate the community she has been brought up in and has a caring and unselfish nature. There are issues from her childhood which come to the fore. She is also a young woman at a crossroads as her relationship with Gray is going through a difficult spell. Gray's mother has been ill and he has been spending time with her. Both Immi and Gray feel a responsibility to their family and put others first.
A lovely part of the story centres around the charity work which Immi, Gray and the community organise in the form of Santa Ahoy voyages for children. When you meet Immi's grandfather, you realise where she gets her unselfish nature from, as he is the driving force behind the cruises. There is a strong sense of changing roles within a family as people age and hand over the baton to the younger generation. As Christmas itself arrives, there are some surprises in store for Immi. The ending seemed quite abrupt at the end but there is plenty of scope to continue with her story.
In short: Community, family and friendship.
Thanks to the publisher for a copy of the book
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I love Christmas stories, I find it very soothing to read about wonderful snowy Christmas settings where there will be some disaster but everyone will pull together and make it wonderful. Wasn't my experience growing up so its good to dream. I enjoyed this book, the characters are great, Immi whose mother left when she was little is nervous about the festive season and desperately wanting more commitment from her boyfriend who has been caring for his sick mum. Immi lives near her grandfather who helped raise her in a close knit community based near a canal, so its very green and quiet. I enjoyed the way the story unfolded and the way that Immi and her boyfriend Gray talked about things. Slightly abrupt ending which was a little jarring but wonderful Christmas story. 

With thanks to Net galley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I adore Lucy Coleman's books and so when I was given the opportunity to take part in the blog tour for Christmas at Lock Keeper's Cottage I accepted. 

A Christmas novel is always welcome and the place this is set is original. I have reviewed books set on canal boats, and in quaint riverside towns but never in a lock keeper's cottage and the surrounding area. 

The importance of the river and waterside way of life is evident and it was a new and different way to experience a riverside location. 

Having lived in places with rivers all my life, and in a town in the past that has a lock not too far away, I have always wondered what went on inside a lock keeper's cottage. 

Lucy Coleman never fails to disappoint in terms of attention to detail and originality in setting in any of her books I have had the pleasure of reviewing, whether it's France, Italy or England, she takes a setting and makes it her own. 

The characters are endearing and realistic and there are plenty of ups and downs in the novel which Lucy Coleman deals with expertly and in a compelling way while the characters are fleshed out accordingly. 

Love, fun times and hardship at a lock keeper's cottage. This novel is a relaxing way to spend a few days. I cannot tell you how much I was waiting for Lucy Coleman's latest and it did not disappoint. There were some aspects I wanted wrapped up, but that leaves room for another novel which I hope we'll see soon. 

Overall, compelling, relaxing setting and a well balanced plot. 

Thanks to Lucy Coleman, Rachel's Random Resources and Boldwood Books for my ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. 

5 stars.
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I really wanted to enjoy this book but there were a lot of characters, each of whom had their own story to tell, and it made the overall book difficult to follow or to feel any connection with any of the characters or the storyline.
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Lovely enjoyable read about Christmas in the Cotswolds. Imogen never knew her mother and after an accident takes away her father she goes to live with her grandfather tollie in the lock keepers cottage by Asbury marina.
As she grows up Imogen starts a relationship with Gray. But they don't get to spend a lot of time together as his mother is ill.
So after a rough start and putting others first will she get her happy ever after and a perfect Christmas. 
This book has a real community feel.
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It took me a little while to settle into this story. I’m not a huge fan of first-person present-tense narrations – blame it on my age! – but this narrative style seems to be increasingly popular so I guess I’ll just have to move with the times! And anyway, once the action got underway I stopped noticing it so much.

The book is principally character-driven, and we have some fascinating ones in this novel. Like real people, all these fictional creations have back story, foibles, strengths, problems and dreams. They interact believably and give a strong sense of community.

The waterside and boat setting is unusual and interesting, and introduces those of us not well acquainted with such a way of life to different experiences.

The festive element is all it should be for a  Christmassy story.

An enjoyable, easy read that will start making you think about getting that Christmas shopping done early!
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If you’re looking for a cosy, festive read then you don’t need to look any further. With a wonderful community, Christmas spirit, and a beautiful setting to match. It’s an uplifting read perfect for Christmas reading.

Lucy Coleman has a wonderful writing style and I have absolutely loved reading her previous books. I’m normally drawn in from the very beginning but this seemed to take much longer for me to feel invested in the characters and the story. Not a lot happened until around 60% through the story and then lots seemed to happen towards the end.

There were some jaw-dropping moments in this book and the ending was certainly full of surprises. There were many loose threads at the end that weren’t tied up that I am desperate to find out what happens next. There has got to be a sequel!

The story even has canal boats with Santa Ahoy cruises! It’s such a gentle, easy read that it is perfect for the Christmas period. A heartfelt book that shows the importance of family, life and good friends!

Thank you to the book’s publisher for my copy of this book which I voluntarily read and have honestly reviewed.
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Uplifting is right! 

I loved Immi, Gray, and Tollie! This isn't the beginning of a love story ... it's one that's already in progress. Gray and Immi are clearly meant for each other, but because of his mom's illness, they haven't been able to be together more than just on the weekends. But that's all about to change! 

The Santa Ahoy cruises were such a lovely touch to this story. And I really liked how the entire community wrapped around it, everyone participating in some way. It's definitely a tight-knit community. 

Each new character that was introduced wound their way into my heart as I read this book. I loved Fisher and his mornings after two cups of coffee ;) And Tollie was a real favorite of mine. What a wonderful granddad! Then you have quiet Mrs. Price/Valerie ... I'll say her revelation at the end definitely surprised me.

The only thing that kept this from being 5 stars was the fact that the ending did seem a little bit rushed. I would have liked to see a little bit more on a certain subject and the last chapter flips to Gray's perspective when the entire book has been about Immi. Other than that, I really enjoyed this book!
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I adored this novel by Lucy Coleman it uplifted my spirits and oozed festive feelgood vibes throughout.

I have a fascination with life on a canal boat but this isn’t a story about living on a canal boat it’s a story about a whole community living within and on the canal side. It is also about a special bond with a granddaughter and her grandfather and of their kindness in sharing their free time bringing the spirit of Christmas on a specially adapted narrow boat that travels up and down the canal hosting Santa cruises to children.

Immie has lived with her grandfather most of her life since her father died when she was younger. It took Immie a little while to cope with her grief and new adjustments but the life she shares now living at Lock Keeper’s Cottage with her grandfather, Tollie, sounds so idyllic.

Immie is happily in a relationship with her boyfriend, Gray, but at the moment they can only see each other at the weekend as Gray helps his mother during recovery from an illness. This long distance relationship brings swings of emotional highs and lows to Immie and she doesn’t know when her love life will become settled.

With the run up to the festive season life for Immie becomes frantic as preparations for the Santa Cruises take shape. A team of willing helpers chin in to make the excursions run smoothly.

Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage is such a cosy, comforting read I felt pangs of nostalgia listening to the children captivated with the Santa Cruises, it was almost magical the spell the Santa Cruise helpers were having on the little ones. I was also heartened to read the strength of the community spirit and the selfless acts of helping one another in times on need. The author Lucy Coleman has written a story of love, family, friendship, a few twists and turns along the way and plenty of festive feelgood factor.
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Lucy Coleman is a favourite author of mine. I loved her previous novels Summer in Provence, A Springtime to Remember, and Magic Under the Mistletoe so I was excited when I heard about Christmas at Lock Keeper's Cottage.

Christmas at Lock Keeper's Cottage has a cast of characters: the inhabitants of the fictional village of Aysbury in the Cotswolds. Lucy Coleman has the ability to write real characters with flaws and hang ups but takes them on a journey to an ending or new beginning. Whilst the main focus of this story is centred around Immi, her grandfather Tollie and her boyfriend Gray, the other characters go on their own journeys.

One thing I love about Lucy Coleman’s writing is her ability to drop you into the story from the beginning and definitely makes me connect with the female protagonists instantly. Her writing always speaks to me. There are little sentences that jump out at me. Lucy Coleman always throws in words of wisdom too.

Lucy Coleman's book are never what they seem on the surface and Christmas at Lock Keeper's Cottage is no exception. Lucy Coleman is good at writing stories that go much deeper. This one definitely took a turn I didn’t see coming. I love it when an author throws in a curve ball to challenge what you’ve read and the thoughts you’ve formulated up until that point.

Christmas at Lock Keeper's Cottage explores some important themes including being honest and communicating in a relationship, not letting your past dictate the future. Not giving up on your dreams and the importance of community.

This book is such an easy read - not easy to write - that I could dip in and out of it without having to concentrate too hard. It felt unusual reading a Christmas story in the middle of the hottest July and August so I probably didn’t connect with the magic of it as much as I would have, had it been in the build up to Christmas. This is definitely a story for reading curled up under a throw with a hot chocolate.
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I have to be totally honest, I do love Christmas books from around mid-august, as it's still steaming hot here in America and this Brit can't handle the heat, so when I saw the story Christmas at Lock Keeper's Cottage I knew I needed to read it, as it combines two of my favorite things! My love of Christmas and my unhealthy obsession with anything narrowboats and life on the canals! As my husband can attest too with the amount of YouTube Narrowboat vloggers I follow, but I digress.

I jumped in with both feet knowing I would have strong feelings about this book and I did...I loved it! The story of Immi really connected with me, I understood her feeling alone in a room full of people, the loneliness and anger when a parent is absent from her life, and not wanting to become attached when so many had let her down so many times, but Grey, Immi's boyfriend gives her hope that things can change.

The Community around the cottages, the narrowboat, and marina is everything I see on the vlogs, I really enjoyed how the author wrote about the community spirit, the community fundraising, and give back is everything I would come to expect from my fellow Brits.

But wow! What an ending, it really shocked me, it was nothing like I was expecting, but it feels like this is not going to be the only book, but the start of the new series, at least I hope there is. I personally found the book well written, though a little slow in some parts.
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Christmas in September! Christmas at the Lock Keeper's Cottage in my first festive novel of 2020. It's time to find a cosy spot to read and indulge in a favourite drink while enjoying Lucy Coleman's latest tale. 

All Imogen "Immi" Tolliman wants for Christmas is to be with the man she loves but will circumstances overrule what her heart desires? 

A long-distance relationship where love conquerors all… eventually. This gentle narrative meanders along as we get to know Immi and the people she identifies as her "family". 

Ms Coleman has written a heartfelt story about daily life and struggles within a beautiful rural setting. There's a strong sense of community within Ayesbury. It's a place where life-long connections are made regardless of background. It's a close-knit group of people, watching out for each other, just like relatives do within a large family unit. 

Festivities and celebrations bring everyone together and the adorable Santa Ahoy Christmas Cruises are a lovely example of getting into the spirit of things whether you're young or old. It's also a time to make plans for the future and to work and assist those who need it the most. The author's written relatable and likeable characters just like we are; working hard to do our best for those we love. 

Overall, the ending is satisfying in that Immi and Gray are together, however, some loose ends leave me wondering if Ms Coleman plans to update us on life in Ayesbury in the future… fingers crossed, it's a yes? 

***arc generously received courtesy of Boldwood Books via NetGalley***
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This is a lovely festive slice of community spirit, friendship and love. Immi has faced a lot of grief in her young life, but she's showered with love by her grandfather and the community where they live, she feels blessed. Her love life is peachy with Gray except they don't see each other as much as they like, so she writes a  letter to Santa.

The two protagonists are quirky characters, but they are good people and as the story progresses you like them more. This story emphasises the meaning of Christmas, family and coping with what life throws your way, and the result is a heartwarming and ultimately satisfying festive read.

I received a copy of this book from Boldwood Books via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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I adore Lucy’s work.  I have read and loved every single book that she has written to date.  I read the synopsis for ‘Christmas At Lock Keeper’s Cottage’ and it sounded like a fun and festive read.  I soon dived into the story and boy, was it a cracking read or what?  I thoroughly enjoyed every single second of the story but more about that in a bit.
I have to say that as soon as I started to reading ‘Christmas At Lock Keeper’s Cottage’ I just knew that nothing else would be getting done for the rest of the afternoon.  I literally couldn’t tear myself away from the book.  The book wasn’t exactly glued to my hand but it might as well have been because it travelled everywhere with me.  I think that I had taken so well to the different characters and I couldn’t help but hope for the best for them.  I felt compelled, in the nicest possible way, to keep reading.  The pages turned at a fair old pace as I worked my way through the story.  I reached the end of the book a lot quicker that I had intended to.  The book was just too darn good to put down.
‘Christmas At Lock Keeper’s Cottage’ is superbly written but then that is true of all of Lucy’s books to date.  I love the very vivid and realistic way in which she tells her stories.  Now I am usually a bit of a Scrooge where Christmas is concerned (I lost my father shortly before Christmas 15 years ago and since then I have had a bit of a ‘bah humbug’ attitude where Christmas is concerned), but this book even made this Scrooge start to feel Christmassy.  I loved the way in which Lucy grabs your attention from the start and draws you into the story to the extent that you feel as though you are part of the action yourself.  This was one of those books that gripped me from start to finish and made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Christmas At Lock Keepers Cottage’ and I would definitely recommend this book to other readers.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.
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Christmas at Lock Keeper's Cottage is a lovely slice-of-life novel in which problems are solved and secrets are revealed. Immi is a young woman who lives with/near her grandfather. He loves in the cottage, she lives in a refurbished outbuilding, but their lives are unabashedly intertwined. She is in love with a wonderful young man, Gray, who visits on weekends as he has had to leave to care for his mother, who has cancer. Immi works at a nursery and as a bookkeeper to a boatman; Gray is a composer who composes anything he can be hired for, from commercial jingles to movie soundtracks. This is their life, life in a small town, live among friends. 

As in any small town, the personalities are varied and rich and they all stick together, in this canal town near the Cotswolds in England. The time is now, the life is modern. The story is entertaining, although not exceptional. The people are ordinary, not exceptional. But the whole thing comes together into a feel-good, entertaining novel, which a reader will be happy to have read. People come together in the way people do, supporting and helping one another, in such a joyous way it is difficult not to smile. This was such a pleasant book. I recommend it. 

I was invited to read a free ARC of Christmas at Lock Keeper's Cottage by Netgalley. All opinions and interpretations are solely my own. #netgalley #christmasatlockkeeperscottage
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A lovely feel good book, set in a beautiful setting with lots of characters to find yourself bonding with.
A gorgeous community feel, perfect for Christmas 🎄 
Lots of intrigue kept me turning the pages!
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Now, I know I always say you can read a Christmassy book at any time of year (well, I can anyway!), but I’m going to make a bit of a suggestion. Download this book now – just in case you forget – then keep it until you’re starting to get a bit frazzled in that run up to the big day. And when the family are hogging the TV and there’s no chance of chilling out with a Hallmark movie, settle down and enjoy it – it’ll be exactly what you need in so many ways.

It’s overflowing with love and community and people being so lovely to each other, the second largest snowfall the Cotswolds have ever had, Father Christmas and his elves (not the real ones, but hey…), so much sparkle, a romance that makes you all warm and fuzzy… and so much more. If you’re looking up at the bare beams of your barn conversion, it’ll give you some great ideas how to decorate them: if your turkey’s too big for your roasting tray and you only have a vegetable paring knife, your problems are over: and if your dining table’s not big enough for all your family and hangers-on, you’ll be absolutely fine (so long as you have a bit of marine-ply in your garage).

The author’s always had a particularly special touch where Christmas is concerned – but she’s really excelled herself with this one (goodness, and I haven’t even told you about the Santa Ahoy cruises on the narrowboats on the canal – or the particularly special ones they put on for their Little Stars…). Aysbury is the perfect setting, so vividly drawn – and the cast of well-defined characters is quite wonderful. And there’s nothing I enjoy much more than a story like this where people pull together when the chips are down, but there might just be a few well placed secrets just waiting to be uncovered.

I will admit that the last 10% or so of the book did come as a bit of a surprise – one of those rather jaw-dropping twists, perhaps just a little bit unexpected after all the loveliness that had gone before – but it really does work in context and answers a few questions that lurk below the story.

You really can’t help but like Immi at the book’s heart – once a troubled teen, now blissfully happy in her relationship with Gray, a wonderful relationship with grandfather Tollie, happy to do anything for anyone and universally loved. I did have a couple of small niggles about Gray – his concern for his ailing mum perhaps a tad OTT, and all that humming and finger-tapping (he’s a composer…) would have distinctly put me off – but their romance is real and entirely convincing.

This was just such a lovely, lovely book – but maybe not for September, although I know it’s so very difficult to get the timing of Christmas releases exactly right. Yes, definitely one for the run-up to Christmas – and you’ll love it too!
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Christmas at Lock Keeper’s Cottage was such a wonderful story about family, friendship, secrets and community. It left me feeling very festive, I mean, who wouldn’t want a white Christmas?

This was a gentle story about the people in the fictional location of Aysbury during a Christmas that does not completely go as planned. I really loved the relationship that Immi had with her grandfather Tollie, and the other members of the community who had treated her like a member of their own families. The friendship that grows between Immi and Valerie was lovely, and the sense of Christmas spirit really brought them together. The romantic connection between Immi and Gray is solid and connected from the start, and I thought their official engagement was perfect, surrounded by their friends and family. In a way I would have liked more of their story, but I don’t mean that as a negative, I think that is the sign of a good story, I found myself completely immersed in the story.

This book provided a snapshot of a beautifully connected community, in an idyllic location, with the most perfect (and not necessarily planned) white Christmas, and honestly, what more could you want from a festive read? This book made me want to curl up with a hot drink, under a blanket, with a scented Christmas candle burning, and that to me is the sign of a perfect Christmas read.

I loved the depth of the personal stories, the characters were so well-rounded and multi-dimensional, and I would love Lucy to take me back to Aysbury one day. I was left wanting more, needing more.
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Thank you to Netgalley, the publishing house and the author for the opportunity to read a complimentary advance reader copy of this book in return for a review based upon my honest opinion.

This book was a nice Christmas story. Wasn’t a whole lot of story there, I feel like the book could have been much shorter, as nothing really happened until the end. That being said, maybe I just didn’t mesh with the characters, I didn’t really care for Imogene or Gray at all, I did like some of the supporting characters though. I have read other books by this author but I very much enjoyed. This one just wasn’t my thing.
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