Cover Image: Christmas at the Village Sewing Shop

Christmas at the Village Sewing Shop

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

I absolutely loved this book! It was just the right amount of Christmas in June and now I'm counting down the days to Christmas.

This was my first time reading anything by Helen Rolfe and I loved her light and easy writing style
Was this review helpful?
I love a good Christmas book and those one was no different.
This was my first book by Helen Rolfe and it won't be my last. I loved the fact it mentioned places local to where I live as you can picture the exact place. 
The story line was really good being about family and love
Was this review helpful?
It’s the middle of April and I decided to read Christmas at the Village Sewing Shop and I’m now wishing it was Christmas. I absolutely loved every festive minute, the description of Butterby was so amazing I want to walk the streets and visit Lantern Square..
A magical story of 3 sisters Fern, Ginny and Daisy who have all chosen different lives and have sadly become estranged. When their mother Loretta who owns the family run sewing shop Butterby Sewing Box asks them all to come home to spend Christmas with her and their grandad Ivor they realise that life is short and the sister bond is still there just needs a bit of understanding and forgiveness.
Through all finding each other again they also find what they all truly want from their life’s. Can they stitch their life’s back together.

I loved the quilting story that runs through and it’s made me want to look into it in more depth.
This is my first Helen Rolfe book and I’m excited to look out for more. A fabulous book, full of ideas and festive spirit ( even in April) 
Thanks to NetGalley and Orion for an ARC of this beautiful book.
Was this review helpful?
A really great story, charming, atmospheric, great characters. Filled me with warmth and spirit. Well written and flowed nicely, was romantic and funny, charming and full of fun. A great read, i really enjoyed it.
Was this review helpful?
The perfect festive read! The book as a whole really gave me that feel good feeling that you want at what can be for some one of the darkest times of the year but it also it offers an ideal escape away from the hustle and bustle of all the preparations that lead up to the big day. It’s an engaging story about family, friendships, secrets and community. You won’t go far wrong in picking up this delightful read if you need to get away from things for a little while.
Was this review helpful?
This was a brilliant read and is being featured on my blog for my quick star reviews feature, which I have created on my blog so I can catch up with all the books I have read and therefore review.
Was this review helpful?
What a delightful festive treat. Just what I needed to read at the start of the Christmas season. Just perfect.
Was this review helpful?
Not the story I was expecting and it took a while to warm to the characters. I felt a lot of the book was repetitive and there for padding. There was potential for some of the other storyline to be explored better.
Was this review helpful?
A lovely festive story of family, sisterhood, the things that drive us apart as well as ultimately coming back together. I enjoyed the different characters in this book, very different individuals with one thing in common - family. Some surprises and secrets along the way make this a great read.
Was this review helpful?
As a rule, I don’t change my reading matter according to the time of year but I saw this, liked the blurb, & thought I’d give it a go. This is a standalone story although other books by the author are set in Butterbury.

Loretta runs the Butterbury Sewing Box with her daughter Daisy. Her other two daughters, Fern & Ginny, have their own lives away from the village. However, since the death of her husband, Harry, Loretta has realised that they are all becoming more distant, not just physically, & with her father, devises a plan to get everyone together for Christmas.
This is a gentle, feel-good story & yes, I did shed a tear or two. Well written, in a very easy-to-read style, you don’t actually feel as though it’s going anywhere. That’s not a criticism, it flows & takes you where you need to go.
Full of typical family dynamics, shared history & understanding; I’m sure it will resonate with many as it did with me. Yes, it is set at Christmas but that is used more as a lynchpin to hold the story together. Recommended.

Thank you to Orion for a complimentary copy via NetGalley. This is my unbiased review.
Was this review helpful?
This book is a really lovely story about sisterhood and family. If you are looking for a well written and lovely Christmas chicklit book, this one is for you! Just beware, it's a bit slow-paced and that is why I gave a 4 stars (and not a 5 to this book), but you won't get bored. There is also a bit of romance for those who like that!
Was this review helpful?
This is not my normal type of book but it was a lovely Christmas story.  Very enjoyable and a quick easy book with lots of likeable characters.
Was this review helpful?
Butterbury Sewing Box has been in the family for years and Loretta loves running it, and enjoyed all the time she spent with her three daughters in the shop. Creating wonderful family items but also creating memories with her girls; Daisy, Ginny and Fern.

As Christmas approaches once again, Loretta is saddened by how fractured her family has become and that her daughters do anything to spend as little time together as possible. Loretta with some help from her father, hatch a little plan to make this a Christmas more special than any other.

We get to see each of the girls in turn, and the story goes between all of them, including their mother. Daisy the youngest stayed after tragedy struck the family and whilst she knows her stuff in the Sewing Box, photography is her real passion.

Middle daughter Ginny, is a midwife and has spend her years travelling everywhere and spending as little time as possible in Butterbury than she has to. But being back in the village and bumping into past friends and relishing the joy she once got out of creating, Ginny thinks maybe coming home now was the right thing to do.

Fern, the eldest and the one who has to be in control is slowly unravelling it seems. Some simple moments of forgetfulness and the pressure she puts on herself it seems that she is heading for burnout. Going back home is going to be the toughest for Fern.

AS the three women come back home, they discover the past has not been forgotten and that they need to all work out their differences and at the same time get to the bottom of their mother’s request for them to be home at this particular Christmas.

It also turns out Loretta does have a few secrets of her own and they are not what you think they are going to be.

As Christmas looms and their aim to finish their piece of creative collaboration for their grandfather finally comes together, it seems that the three sisters have sewn something else together as well. What a wonderful present for them all.

This is the second visit to Butterbury, first featured in The Little Cottage in Lantern Square and like that one, is full of the wonders that types of craft can bring to a community as well as individuals. This made the book more wonderful for me as crafts is something I love to do as well. I hope there are more tales to come from Butterbury and if they are at Christmas even better!

The perfect book; full of community, cheer, and Christmas!
Was this review helpful?
I think I’ve read only perhaps one or two books previously by Helen Rolfe and after reading this wonderful, feel-good, festive story - Christmas at the Village Sewing Shop, I really do need to rectify that and go back and read so much more from this great author. First of all, doesn’t this cover just scream Christmas and all things cosy and certainly get you excited for the most wonderful time of the year? Then the title just said to me, read me now, you won’t be disappointed and I wasn’t in the slightest. A wonderful setting, brilliantly described with a wide range of characters that capture your interest, a family divided but there is hope they will come back together and a mystery at the centre of it all and all based around the run up to Christmas and not forgetting the community spirit. Well, really you have everything you want and crave in a festive read. 

Loretta runs the Butterbury Sewing Box and it has been in her family for  over 70 years but she has a lot on her mind and is finding keeping up the pretence of everything being a bed of roses quite difficult. What she found out a few months ago could potentially throw the very fabric of her family’s existence apart and there is not much she can do about it. Loretta wants her three daughters to return to the village for the weeks leading up to Christmas. Seems a simple request, right? Well that’s not the case as her three daughters, Ginny, Fern and Daisy, are not the solid sisterhood they once were. Loretta urges them to all get together as their grandfather Ivor, now resident in the local care home, is not the sprightly man he once was and she feels as a family they need to spend more time with him. You could see from the outset that whatever was on Loretta’s mind weighed heavily and reading between the lines there is a good and valid reason for setting her plan in motion. 

Loretta hates that the girls are no longer as close as they once were and she really wants to do something about it but at the same time there is a mystery at the centre of this story. It’s a secret that when revealed you truly appreciate how wonderfully woven it was throughout the story and the way it was developed was brilliant. Loretta wants to bring the happy memories of times gone past back to the forefront of her daughters lives. Has she left it too late and when they discover what she has been hiding will they be able to forgive her? The further I delved into the story the more I just wanted to know what was so big that Loretta felt the need to put a plan into action. Why all the secrecy and plotting? Could she not just come out and say what was troubling her?

The girls are all vastly different and to be honest initially I found it challenging to keep track of who was who and what their back story was. But once I got things clear in my head I was able to really sit back and enjoy the story that was unfolding. That was the only minor issue I had with the story but perhaps it was more so me and my concentration levels when I started to read the book. Fern is married to Everett and they have two sons. She is very dedicated to her job and her home life but cracks are beginning to show in their marriage. She feels like the harder she tries the more she fails and to be honest I found her to be quite unnecessarily tough on herself. She placed such high expectations on herself and what she tries to do for other people that they couldn’t all possibly become a successful reality.It’s normal to make mistakes and to have to let people down but she just places too much pressure on herself to be perfect in every practical way. She feels like she is failing both her family and herself, that she is not completely holding things together and she is no longer happy and in control. Will returning home for an extended period of time and reconnecting with her mother and sisters help her to face the issues that complicate her life on a daily basis?

Ginny gave up her permeant midwifery job four years ago and since then has signed to an agency and moves around and works as a midwife whenever a vacancy comes up. But is the travelling bug deserting her? Has this way of life lost its allure? She doesn’t come home to Butterbury all that often and I sensed a piece of her heart had been left there when former partner Lucas decide to take a job across the Atlantic Ocean. Ginny came across as someone who was drifting and needed direction. She needed to be tethered to the one place for awhile in order to reassess the next steps she wished to take in life. Deep down, you knew that Ginny actually knew what she wanted but didn’t want to upset others by expressing this. Miscommunication or on the other hand not communicating at all really affected how the three sisters dealt with things and a lot of problems could have been easily solved had they been more open.

Daisy was the sister who stayed behind to run the sewing shop with their mother. She loved photography and the reader could clearly see this was her big passion in life but she has taken on the responsibility of making sure that her mother is happy. After all, she has been on her own since their beloved father passed away leaving a gaping void in all their lives. But is Daisy just passing time? Is sewing and quilting really what she wants to spend the rest of her life doing or does she feel obliged to do so? Daisy at times was tense and she tended to almost want to start arguments amongst the sisters. It was evident that all three girls had their own private issues and Loretta hopes that by coming back together that everything will come out in the open. Will it be a success or a complete disaster?

Given that sewing is mentioned in the title of course it would have to feature and it forms a real backbone to the story. To be honest, I don’t have any major interest in sewing or quilting but it’s thanks to the brilliant and vivid descriptions from the author that this pastime came alive for me on the pages. I could visualise this unique, warm and comforting little shop and as the sisters began a quilt for their grandfather it stirred so many memories for them and I just really loved all the little details and Christmas imagery being conjured up. It really was inspirational and gave you that feel good Christmassy feeling inside. One question was always on my mind whilst reading - how had the sisters relationship become so disjointed? How had they gone from such closeness to having lives that rarely crossed? I was keen to discover the answer. The more the book developed I found it to have a real focus on family and sisterhood rather than romance which was such a refreshing change to many books in this genre and this turned into such a lovely, magical and memorable story.

I am always left disappointed when a Christmas read claims to be that and then falls so far short of the mark when Christmas is barely if at all  mentioned. Do some authors just tend to jump on wagon of the Christmas genre which only grows bigger every year as more and more people want to feel that Christmassy feeling in what they are reading? Thankfully Helen Rolfe didn’t fall into that trap and Christmas at the Village Sewing Shop ticked every box when it came to my Christmas reading checklist and I thoroughly enjoyed my time spent with Loretta, Ginny, Fern and Daisy. The themes, issues and emotions explored were carefully considered and the storyline as a whole was well plotted and realistic with one or two surprising turn of events. The book as a whole really gave me that feel good feeling that you want at what can be for some one of the darkest times of the year but it also it offers an ideal escape away from the hustle and bustle of all the preparations that lead up to the big day. It’s an engaging story about family, friendships, secrets and community. You won’t go far wrong in picking up this delightful read if you need to get away from things for a little while. I really do hope that Helen Rolfe will return to the setting of Butterbury in future books. It and it’s residents have captured a place in my heart.
Was this review helpful?
As a sewer, albeit a novice, I found Christmas at the Village Sewing Shop by Helen Rolfe a fascinating and really lovely read.

Daisy, Ginny and Fern are the daughters of Loretta who lives in Butterbury where she runs a shop - the Butterbury Sewing Box, started by Loretta's Nan, Eve. The business has been in the family for more than seventy years but Daisy, Ginny and Fern have their differences. Full of family, forgiveness and love, I took great delight from this Christmassy novel. It was was fun following the sisters and reading about their pasts, their childhood memories and life choices. There was a good community vibe too, centred around the shop. Very highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel at my request from Orion via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
Was this review helpful?
I loved my return to Butterbury, and this entirely new standalone story that has almost made me want to get my own quilt. 

It certainly had me feeling warm and cozy, like I was wrapped up in a loving hand made quilt as I was reading this truly lovely story. 

And you can certainly feel the touch of the season of goodwill while you are reading, as there are strong themes of family, love, forgiveness and personal growth within the pages. 

Loretta is clearly hiding something, you get that feeling from the opening chapter, and is determined to have her three adult daughters back home for a few weeks in the run up to Christmas, in the hopes they will reconnect and feel like a family again.  But just what is she keeping from everyone. I had an inkling really early on and was delighted to be very wrong! 

Fern is a bit of a control freak with her family, but is definitely struggling. She was for me the hardest to gel with initially. Ginny is fairly easy going, but is starting to feel like she doesn't want to keep travelling around the world.  While Daisy is the one working in the family's sewing shop but it's clear she has other passions and some secrets, And just what caused her to go off the rails as a teen.  Ok that one I had a strong inkling and I was partially correct about! 

The three sisters are all so different, and the story is told in 4 alternating view points, each of the siblings plus Loretta.  After about two rotations so about eight chapters I had a grip on the characters at least at which point I started to enjoy the book a lot more, as felt once I knew who was who, it became a lot more interesting, as the family dynamics start to become clear, and change. 

I just loved the whole vibe of this book, and there was plenty to keep me on my toes and thoroughly enjoying everything. I found I loved all four of our main characters by the end, and just wanted good things for the whole family. And there were definitely many moments that made me smile. 

Another wonderful book from the always talented author.  I loved it! 

Thank you to Orion and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
Was this review helpful?
5 Word Review: Family, community, Christmas, expectations, creativity.

When we first meet Loretta in the sewing shop, everything seems to be wonderful. We sharp find out that below the surface it isn't all rainbows and butterflies, and I loved how the story unfolded and the family found a way to bring themselves back together.

The story is told from multiple perspectives, and it gave us a deeper understanding of the characters. I loved being in their heads and seeing how they felt, then having what other characters thought of them displayed. It was beautifully written and a clever way to explore how people can hide their srtuggles and hurt behind a shining exterior.

I don't want to pick favourites, but I think I liked Fern's story the most. My heart broke for her and the immense pressure she put on herself, and out of all of the characters I was rooting for her the loudest. She may not be the most able with a needle and thread, but she is nonetheless amazing.

I loved the crafting angle of this story, it had me itching to dig out my Christmas cross stitch baubles that I'm supposed to be saving for December. I settled for digging out some wool and making pom poms so I can add some to my own tree when it goes up.

Christmas At The Village Sewing Shop by Helen Rolfe was very creative, and I loved how it brought everyone together, as both a community and a family.
Was this review helpful?
This book is told from the perspective of all three sisters and their mum, Loretta, which I was a bit unsure about as I find that sometimes it can get a bit confusing as you flit between characters from previous books. However, I didn’t find that this was the case with this book and was able to distinguish who was speaking by the voice of the chapter and what was happening, I think the fact that they all have rather different personalities helped this to. 

I really liked the shop being the central part of this story and how the community was involved to, it really set off a cosy vibe and made me really want to visit - especially with the final surprise! The shop itself was quite partial to the girls and their stories, helping to revoke those childhood memories and stir something up inside them all, but I especially loved how their mum and Grandad subtly pushed them even closer together. Ivor is such a character and it sounds like he gets up to all sorts of trouble - reminds me of Angus in Heidi Swain’s books! 

The girls themselves are very set in their ways at first and it’s clear that the passing of their father had a massive affect on them all, driving them away from each other rather than together. It was so interesting to see how they’d all reacted in completely different ways and then when we hit the turning point it’s such a lovely moment. I don’t want to say too much more otherwise I’ll spoilt elements of the story!

There were a few bumpy parts of the book and a lot of secrets came out - none of which I was expecting at first but then the little puzzle pieces started to slot together! Such a well written story that has left me craving gingerbread men and makes me want to get my crafting box out!
Was this review helpful?
This was such a lovely book, I really enjoyed the different POV and seeing how the sisters viewed their past experiences and how they then repaired their relationships.

I loved how the sewing shop  was at the heart of the community and the yarn bombing, brought back memories of when this was done in my town.

This book is a perfect Christmas read, family, love and community spirit.
Was this review helpful?
What a lovely heartwarming festive read. 

Lantern Square is a beautiful setting for a beautiful story. I loved the relationships between the sisters and the way they bond over the beautiful craft of sewing and making a gorgeous quilt. 

My sister is my best friend and I couldn't imagine having anything less than the relationship I have now with her. 

I love Helen's writing and this book is a must read.
Was this review helpful?