The Gingerbread Christmas Village

A totally uplifting and romantic seasonal read

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Pub Date 31 Aug 2023 | Archive Date 25 Jul 2023

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Everyone deserves a Christmas treat...

The annual Wheaton gingerbread exhibit (a model village made of gingerbread) and grotto has been an important part of the sleepy Cotswold hamlet’s Christmas celebrations for decades.

For years the gingerbread exhibition drew visitors from across the region and each year the model town grew more elaborate and ambitious but recently, interest has been dwindling. The gingerbread grotto needs to be rehomed or close forever.

Sixty-four-year-old Margi, the event’s founder, has had enough of village life (and its total lack of eligible men) and is planning to sell up and head to Birmingham to live closer to her niece.

She has lost her spark and her Christmas spirit and decides this will be her last gingerbread village, but despairs when she finds her only support is her old friend, Izzy, her niece Lucy from Birmingham, and Fern, the shy young farmer’s daughter. Oh, and Patrick, the gorgeous, reliable school caretaker.

As if this wasn’t enough, Lucy is determined to get her out dating again and persuades her to try some online dating apps but Margi’s had her heart broken too many times and wonders if she has just missed her chance.

Can they save the Gingerbread Grotto and can Margi get her old spark and her Christmas spirit back?

A cosy, totally feelgood seasonal read that will have you smiling. The perfect read to snuggle up and have you feeling festive! Fans of Jenny Colgan and Trisha Ashley will love this book.

Readers can't get enough of Kiley Dunbar's cosy, warm, festive reads:

‘What an adorable, emotional, and beautiful read!!...made me believe in the Christmas magic all over again…This is certainly one of my favourite holiday reads and a book that will stick with me.’ Diary of a Book Fiend

‘Wow!!...This is a must read, heartwarming Christmas story. I would easily give this book hundreds of stars.’ Little Miss Book Lover 87

‘The epitome of Christmas, winter wonderlands, sleds, warm fires and the coziest of romances…If Kiley keeps writing holiday stories like this I may give up all other genres of books.’ Reading Girl Reviews

‘With plenty of Christmassy feel-good vibes and cute puppies, it's a wonderful holiday romance.’ Ellesea Loves Reading

‘Full of festive feeling, fabulous characters, friends, family, and snow…I just loved every second of this book.’ Rachel’s Random Reads

‘There's many types of Christmas books. But the best ones? Those are the ones that leave you feeling things...Kiley Dunbar managed to make me fall in love with her characters and left me with actual tears in my eyes.’ Walking Through The Pages

'It's so festive and wintery and simply gorgeous!...The characters were enjoyable to get to know and I loved the location.’ The Cosiest Corner

Everyone deserves a Christmas treat...

The annual Wheaton gingerbread exhibit (a model village made of gingerbread) and grotto has been an important part of the sleepy Cotswold hamlet’s Christmas...

Available Editions

ISBN 9781804364581
PRICE £1.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 119 members

Featured Reviews

A wonderful, feel-good book that I very much enjoyed reading while having tropical temperatures here in the NL.

It took me a bit to warm to this story, but with when Lucy (who is able to read Margi as a children's picture book) enters the story things take off with a different speed.
Indeed, aging women (dye the hair, don't dye the hair) and even those who are not yet considered middle age are burdened with other do's and don'ts about their appearances (Drop a Dress Size for Christmas)...
Just do as you please and don't let others dictate how to behave (be noisily or even mischievously) or how to look (frog green nail polish, anyone? Makes my day!).

Often I make a point of inclusion or diversity when it lacks in a book I read, but in this case I was happily surprised by the variety (for want of a better word) of people being part of the community of this small town. Without all of this being emphasized as a theme of the book. Instead, simply them being there.

I'm hoping The Gingerbread Christmas Village to be the first in a series. For that, all we need is a character being a chronic or disabled :)

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of the book.

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A lovely read . A little slow to get going but got better and better.. A lovely story of tradition and pulling together as a community. I loved the difference in generations over dating and crowd funding . Made me laugh. The way peoples attitudes changed especially the headmaster Leo was great. Nice setting in the Cotswolds. I love the gingerbread measurements. Read it.

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4.5 stars

Kiley Dunbar is an auto-buy author for me so imagine my delight to get my hands on an early copy of her latest book!

I went into this story blind and was DELIGHTED that it feature an older heroine! How refreshing that Margi, in her mid-60s, isn't relegated to be a supporting character but is the leading lady of this story. And a vibrant leading lady at that -- she may have misplaced her spark when we first meet her but she gets it back. Not a spoiler as it's a HEA type of book.

Lovely Christmassy book that's definitely a feel-good read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Hera Books through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you, Hera Books.

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The Gingerbread Christmas Village by Kiley Dunbar is a wonderful and festive contemporary fiction that I truly enjoyed.

I have enjoyed Ms, Dunbar’s books in the past, so of course I wanted to read this gem. (And I have to mention that I love, love, love gingerbread…like big time.)

I loved the concepts of friends, community, hope, promise, love, kindness, and evoking the spirit of what the Christmas season can bring. It was so nice to read something uplifting and positive. It was also very awesome to be able to follow along with a MC in her 60s, Margi. She was relatable, likable, and realistic, adorable, imperfect, and oh so funny and…did I say awesome already? One couldn’t help but be a fan in her corner. As a female reader nearing 40, it is hard to find books where the MC is the rightful star of the show that is middle-aged. I loved this.

I loved the whole cast of characters in the little village of Wheaton in the Cotswolds. Sure it is picturesque and quaint, but the author holds no punches in that it is just like any small town, and you are what you make of it. I loved the inhabitants and the transformations that overtake this village physically and also within each person. I loved Patrick, Izz, Lucy, Fern, Shell, Sully, Leo…and I can go on and on. Yes, this is a Christmas book, but I think it can easily be enjoyed at any time of the year.

The ending was perfect, and I would love to see another book to follow. I really feel these characters have more in them and more to say…it would be very exciting.

I finished the book feeling warm, cheery, hopeful, and smiling.

Another home run from Ms. Dunbar.

5/5 stars

Thank you NG and Hera Books for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.

I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 8/31/23.

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This was such a great warm cozy read. I loved how it focused on a older protagonist which unfortunately you don't see to much of anymore.Without giving to much away it had a beautiful storyline, great cast of characters, and beautiful scenery. I loved every moment and I know our readers will too! Kiley's books are such a treat! Looking forward to her next title!

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A really lovely book about the power of community and that we are better together. When everyone clubs together to save and piece back together the gingerbread village after it is destroyed. A really lovely christmassy book and one not to be missed this festive season.

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“The Gingerbread Christmas Village” is a delightful exploration of community, multi generational friendships and love. It is full of seasonal warmth, the scent of cinnamon and the spark of Christmas lights.

When disaster strikes and the gingerbread village of the title, is destroyed, a whole community of people help to save the situation. The main character Margi is in her early sixties, the book follows the complex emotions she goes through as she battles with the anxiety that society sees older women differently. She believes that she should move, settle down and not continue being the exuberant, joyful woman who has put all her energies into building the community gingerbread village every year that she can remember. However, she is encouraged to to embrace who she is by her young friends, even trying online dating to prove that age doesn’t change you, you can work, play, travel and find true happiness just being yourself. That being said the main question is, will she also dismiss love when she finds it based on her perceived expectations of society or will she go for it?

I loved reading this heartwarming book. It is always refreshing to read books that ensure that people understand life doesn’t end at 50 and that fun, laughter and romance continue and blossom with age. It gives us all something to look forward to.

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Having loved the borrow a bookshop series by this author I couldn’t wait to get t stuck into this and I normally do Christmas in July but this made me start in June this year and I wasn’t disappointed. This was a beautiful festive read which really gets to the heart of Christmas and the community spirit and shows what can be achieved with a bit of help from friends and the community.

Loved that the book contained a mixture of multi generational and relatable characters and that a lot of other real life themes were intertwined in the story.

This book was uplifting and positive and brought happiness to the reader and also some early festive cheer.

I hope this is going to become a series as I would love to hear more about how the lives of the characters and the gingerbread village progress.

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Truly a perfect wintery fiction read full of heart & community spirit. This book encapsulates all that is wonderful about intergenerational friendships, and celebrates older women in such a positive way.
I really loved Kiley Dunbar's author letter at the end and I think so many readers will appreciate her message and this being an uplifting, kind read with no tragedies, something that's more important than is often realised when people who are going through grief or tragedy at Christmas just want an escapist book that guides them tenderly through. Wonderful book!

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Sweet characters and the setting is fabulous. Dunbar has nailed the perfect Christmas book! I was reading it for a Christmas in July book challenge and it was spot on for those cozy vibes I was desiring. Four stars. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

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Christmas in July, filled with cinnamon, hot chocolates and gingerbread. It brought together the community spirit, friendship, love and kindness, which is what Christmas is all about.

'... where life is guaranteed to be as sweet as Christmas gingerbread and where no matter the time of year, we let love happen'.

I enjoyed the multi-generational characters (and their views on dating), the heartwarming community / friends aspect, and how true happiness is found within yourself, no matter your age.

It's an overall feed good Christmassy book. Grab yourself a hot chocolate, no matter the weather, and get cosy to read this.

Thank you to NetGalley and Hera Books for this copy. This review is voluntary.

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This author is an auto-read author for me; I’ve enjoyed all three of her Borrow-A-Bookshop books!

What’s not to love about reading a Christmas book in July?! Right?

How about a chance to smell the gingerbread? How about a chance to stroll through a Cotswold village? At Christmas? Sign me up!

As I read about Margi getting her Christmas spirit back, mine increased, too!

In addition to the festive spirit you’d expect from this book, you’ll also read about women, friendship, aging, romance, and community togetherness.

Dunbar explores the problems society creates around expectations on how women are supposed to age. In opposition to the invisibility women in their 60s and 70s feel, Dunbar’s starring roles go to these spectacular women of a certain age. She crafts them as bold and beautiful with plenty still to contribute to society.

Dunbar also highlights intergenerational friendships and shows that they are mutually beneficial, encouraging readers to reach out and create cross-generational bonds.

I appreciated her message about loving yourself first so that you can give and receive love.

I was gifted this copy by Hera Books and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

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The Gingerbread Christmas Village - Kiley Dunbar

Really enjoyable characters and the feeling of community ran through this book for me. I feel that there could be a follow on book from this one, and would love it if there was. I felt it was a cosy easy read book, that would be perfect for Christmas time. I adored the setting being in the Cotswolds as that area is very fond to me. This was my first time reading a book from this author, and I very much look forward to reading more from them. Thanks so much Netgalley and Hera Books for this e-arc in return for my honest thoughts ans opinions.

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I love diving into Kiley Dunbar's books, and I was looking forward to this latest one, and it didn't disappoint.
Margi, our main character, is a 64-year-old woman who is in a bit of a dilemma in life. She feels like the laughingstock of Wheaton Village after a messed up shortest-ever marriage the previous year and wants to start afresh. Only she has a huge responsibility on her shoulders, in the form of a gingerbread village that she creates annually with the help of some friends. It is a tradition started by her mother and one she can't bear to stop. However, circumstances seem to be pushing her in the direction of ending it.
I am not going to regurgitate the story as my review, as that won't be fair on any prospective readers.
What I will say is that if you want a feel-good romance with heart, and a HEA, then Kiley Dunbar is definitely the author to turn to.
Kiley has also written a slightly different character as her main one, this time, in the form of an older woman, not quite in her twilight years but feeling past it.
Women in their 60s are not perceived as how they were a couple of decades ago. They aren't all automatically a part of the blue rinse brigade and only fit for knitting, tea and low walks with zimmer frames. Margi, I feel, thinks she is not worthy of another shot at happiness, especially with someone younger than her, and I loved the morphing of her thinking towards the end of the book. (Even though doubt is never far away.)
And all the reading about gingerbread made me crave some, in the middle of the summer, too! I'd love to see a gingerbread village like the one Margi's mum and then Margi created.
A wonderful festive read!
Many thanks to NetGalley and Hera Books for an ARC.

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LOVE!! Margi has lost her Christmas spirit but she’s about to get it back ten fold. Omg I love anything Christmas, I’m one of the most festive people around so the fact I got to bring a little Christmas into my life in July made me so happy. The community feel, the Christmas setting , everything just screamed cosy feel good vibes to me.

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I received a free copy of, The Gingerbread Christmas Village by Kiley Dunbar, from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 64 year old Margi has lost her Christmas spirit, she lives in a beautiful town of Wheaton in the Cotswolds. This Christmas they have a to make a huge gingerbread Christmas village. Margi has a love interest, but will she brave enough to actually act on it? Margi has great friends especially Izz. I really enjoyed this book by Kiley Dunbar, she is one of my favorite authors,

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A lovely story about friendship, community and aging without apology. I enjoyed these great characters and this relatable story.

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What a cozy, uplifting holiday read. This is the first book I've read by this author and I will definitely be going back for more.

Margi has taken over the tradition of creating the town 'gingerbread village' (a tradition that had been carried on by her mother before handing over the reins to her daughter).as the years have passed and 'life' has started to harden the heart towards Christmas, Margi has started wondering if her future includes gingerbread , or if it's time to move away from her beloved community and start living a life solely for herself. As the holiday season continues, disaster strikes the beloved tradition. As the community navigates some holiday challenges, Margi (as well as her friends and family) learn that relying on each other is just the thing they all need in moments like this.

This beautiful story gives you ALL of the holiday feels - romance, traditions, friendships, family, community and of course the holiday beauty of bakeries, quaint cafes, Christmas markets and gingerbread. This is the kind of book to cozy up with in front of a fire while sipping some hot chocolate. ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for this wonderful holiday book!

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This was 💯 adorable! It was sweet and I absolutely fell in love with it! I loved this so much!
I just reviewed The Gingerbread Christmas Village by Kiley Dunbar. #TheGingerbreadChristmasVillage #NetGalley
[NetGalley URL]

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Absolutly love Kileys books and this one certainly didn't disappoint. A massive big hug of a book, just right for winter nights.

Margi and her elderly friend Izz head up the Wheaton annual gingerbread exhibition....the village made out of gingerbread and displayed in the village hall, alongside Santa's grotto. With the gingerbread recipe handed down from margi s mum, the whole village love this busy time of year.

However, having had her geart broken, margi us set to sell up and move to Birmingham to be near her niece.....except her niece suddenly arrives on margi s doorstep, thwarting her plans.

This beautiful story leads us through not only the whole village, but curtesy of the Internet, the whole world coming together when the village hall collapses, leaving the exhibition destroyed. Will they ve able to pull off a rebuild in a bed venue and will Margi ever find the true love she yearns for.

A magical Christmas story....highly recommend a read.

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What a cute Christmas romcom !

Kiley Dunbar chose unusual characters for this novel.

As readers of romances, we are used to characters in the twenties, when their life is just starting, or in their forties, when they're starting over after a divorce or the death of their SO, frequently with a kid or two.

The Gingerbread Christmas Village is something completely different. It is a romance but it is mostly about friendship, transgenerational relationships, community, finding what really matters for you and the right people to share your life.

I've read several books by this author before and keep coming back for her depiction of sceneries, and for the feelings she expresses so well.

Thank you to Netgalley and Hera Books for provinding an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Who doesn’t love a book that gives you those warm, cozy, Christmas vibes?🎄 This book was super cute and I really enjoyed it! I know once we get closer to Christmas, I’m going to read it again near the fireplace.

Sadness occurs when disasters strict but in this case. It can show how powerful a community really is.

The story had very relatable characters. The sense of love, support, community, and friends really captured the beauty of the story. The perfect rom com!

I enjoyed how the main character was older which I don’t normally see in the books I read. I highly recommend this book.

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Ah I love a Christmas themed novel! This is a great story of community life, I also loved the fact that the main character was older than normal (64) - a heart warming emotional Christmas read, I adored it!

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3.5 rounded up. I loved all the gingerbread themes throughout this book. It was wonderful how the whole town....and world came together to help out their gingerbread village. I loved Patrick in the story as well as a lot of the other characters. Their date was really cute! I also found the online dates and plot line to be quite humorous. I wish the reason Margi gave for not being able to be with Patrick was more than just her being older than him. It got a little old after awhile especially since they got along so well together and had such great chemistry. It just seemed like she shouldn't have worried about it so much. All in all it was a great Christmasy book and I would read books by this author in the future.

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Yes I am reading this in July when the rest of Europe is melting under 40+ temperatures and I've got a fan on because I'm too warm. So what a perfect time to read a Christmas book!

I could practically smell the gingerbread from the page. I love baking (even though I don't do it as much now), and especially Christmas baking, so this was a major hit for me. The very idea of a small village at Christmas time, with the waft of freshly baked gingerbread...oh it's just idyllic.

What I love is there's space for every age group in this book. Margi isn't old by any means - 60s - but we have people her age, people older, and people younger. It is a community where everyone is valued. And you don't get many books that gives equal billing across characters like that. There's also an underlying romance between a man in his 40s and a woman in her 60s and I loved that. If it was the other way round - and we frequently see that - no one would bat an eyelid. So it's refreshing to see it the other way round and it be normal.

The whole cast of characters - Margi, Izz, Patrick, Fern, Lucy, Leo, Sully, Shell, and many more, are all fabulous. They're diverse and they all go through their own transformations in this book, whilst still working perfectly around Margi's main story.

This isn't a one size fits all love story. There's romantic love, both heterosexual and homosexual, friendship love, parental/guardian love, and a general love for yourself.

Kiley deals with potentially complex topics in society, such as older people and loneliness, relationships, breakups, age gaps, same-sex relationships, budgeting concerns, community breakdowns etc. in a sensitive way where they make sense in the story, but still seem appropriate for the reader. There just isn't a scene or character or word out of place. Kiley is definitely one of my go-to authors for a warming happily ever after book.

I read it in a matter of hours. Once it grabs hold of you, you don't want to leave until you've reached the end. My first Christmas book of the season (if you can count July as the start of the season) and it sets it up very nicely.

I don't know if this is a standalone novel or if she's thinking of expanding it into a n ew series. I can understand why it could be a one-off as it's a satisfying and comforting ending. But equally, I would be more than happy to visit this village year after year.

Kiley's books are so uplifting and this is no different. Whether you read it in the height of summer like I did, or save it for a cold winter's night, it will wrap you up in a cozy hug and make you have a smile on your face constantly.

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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC. Who doesn't love a feel good Christmas story. 64 year old Margi has lost her Christmas spirit, this is her story of getting it back. It truly was an adorable and enjoyable read.

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This is an absolutely gorgeous Christmas. Although it was August when I read it, I felt cosy and festive.
I really love all things Gingerbread, so I knew that I had to read this book. It didn't disappoint. It is such a lovely heartwarming read.
It was refreshing to read a book with an older protagonist. Margi. There is a multi generational cast of characters who all come together to help Margi.
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for my ARC.

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My goodness, if you – like me – are a fan of Christmas reading, this gorgeous book really is going to give you all the feels you could possibly be looking for. It really is the loveliest story, with that wonderful feeling of community that the author always does so well – and, as if that’s not enough, lead character Margi is a 64-year-old who entirely embodies that “never too late” spirit that I always so enjoy.

Last year, Margi made a big mistake – swept away by romance, a man who promised so much – and is still hurting about the humiliation that followed. She feels everyone is now laughing at her – or pitying her, which might just be worse – and (although no-one else knows yet…) she’s seriously contemplating leaving the lovely Cotswold village of Wheaton for a fresh start in Birmingham, living closer to her only family. But first, there’s an important job to do – her mother started the annual tradition of constructing a gingerbread Christmas village and, this year, Margi really wants what may be her last to be the best they’ve ever built.

Even the initial fundraising for the ingredients proves difficult – there’s strong competition from the Christmas extravaganza at nearby Dunham Gravey, with its lightshow and fireworks – and the community seems to have forgotten (and there are those who don’t even want to find out) the way their display at the neglected Village Hall has always drawn the community together. With the help of the most supportive friends – Izz at the cafe, her new employee Fern, niece Lucy (visiting unexpectedly), local handyman Patrick – they’re almost there, when disaster strikes. And what happens next… I really mustn’t tell you the story, but the way individuals step forward and the community pulls together made this book the most perfect Christmas read.

And running through it all is Margi’s own story. There are days when she feels distinctly past her best, accepting the onset of old age, feeling there’s little left to look forward to – but it doesn’t stop her heart beating rather faster when Patrick is around. But he’s a fair bit younger than her, and she’s sure he’d never see her as more than a friend – so niece Lucy encourages her to try some on-line dating, with a few experiences that convince her that her coupling-up days are over. But yes, there is a romance – and, with a few very real obstacles along the way, one that was absolutely everything I wanted it to be.

And then there’s the whole community of the village – the characterisation in this book is just superb, every individual (however minor their role) so wonderfully drawn, every one of them with their own stories. And I really loved the way they’re drawn from across the generations – the lovely relationships between them, the friendships so real, the warmth and support and small acts of kindness so very moving. There’s a particular authenticity to the emotional content – there were moments that broke my heart – but plenty of lightness and humour that made my heart sing. And was it all as Christmassy as I wanted it to be? Oh yes, it was simply perfect – infused with the aroma of baking gingerbread, and with that all-embracing warmth of the season.

Emotional, beautifully observed, written from the heart, and the most wonderful story, this is one you really must add to your Christmas reading list – I promise you’ll love it as much as I did.

(Review also copied to Amazon UK, but link not yet available)

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This was a really good Christmas romance. It has all the feels good, cozy vibes you'd want for a Christmas read. Margi, the MC, is in her 60s. She is not in the Christmas spirit this year. She lives in the small Wheaton village and has a special part in the annual Christmas celebration. She puts together a Gingerbread Village Exhibit. Now she feels like it's just not as popular as it has been in the past. She gathers some of her friends and family to help her out this year to try and bring back some enthusiasm for it. She also has a man that she's interested in which makes for a cute romance. I really enjoyed these characters and the setting was fun.

Out August 31.

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the gifted copy. All opinions are my own. My review will be posted on Instagram, Bookbub, Goodreads, and Amazon once it publishes.

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A Christmas rom com is good for any time of the year and this one definitely did not disappoint! This touching story was wonderfully created and crafted in such a manner to draw you in and turning pages until the end. A wonderful story of finding your way, no matter your age, to the path that you have been drawn to follow and not letting preconceived notions (of others and yourself) keep you from living your best life with the person that makes you happy. As with most Christmas stories, a happily ever after is included, but it won't look the same as all happy endings. Some will find comfort with a significant other while others find comfort in themselves. This story is especially compelling as it is multigenerational and for once the younger characters are the back story characters that impact the story, but leave the older characters to be front and center. As an aging reader, it was nice to see older characters getting a "part two" to life. While I am not yet the same age as the central characters, I do often worry about what the future will hold and whether I'll walk into my golden years hand in hand with my love or on my own. This story brings hope, independence and standing up for yourself to the forefront and makes this story all that much more compelling. I am quickly become a fan of this author and can't wait to see what she writes next.

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This was my first festive novel of the year, and what a great one to start with. It gave me all the cosy feelgoodness that I wanted, as well as a massive craving for gingerbread.

Margi is in her sixties and has been carrying the gingerbread village tradition in her village for most of her life. After being left by her new husband she has lost her love for Christmas and village life and is looking to move away. With limited help to create the gingerbread village she decides this will be her last year, and then disaster strikes and even that is under threat.

I loved the characters in this book. They represented multiple ages and friendships across different generations. The main group of characters, Margi, Patrick, Izzy, Lucy and Fern are all lovable and are each facing a different struggle but pull together which not only helps them individually but also to save the gingerbread village and pull the community together.

And I absolutely love this cover!

This is a typical Kiley Dunbar book. It is easy to read, there are great characters in a lovely setting, it is festive and feelgood and all of this left me reading it with a smile on my face.

Grab a blanket and a hot chocolate and cosy up with this festive book.

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I quite enjoyed this book although I felt it was a little slow in parts. But the characters were great fun and I loved the way there was a big age difference yet everyone supported each other x a proper feel good xmas read x thanks Netgalley x

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A story of traditions; traditions passed down through families and towns, and how they can be both a blessing and a curse. I enjoyed The Gingerbread Christmas Village and it is the first for me by this author. The main character, Margi, has come to the point where she is tired and weary of bearing the load of creating the gingerbread village. The story weaves the history and the current happenings well, giving the reader some insight as to how Margi comes to her own expectations based on memories from her youth. A good reminder for all of us to keep it simple. The "Christmas light spectacular" scenes were some of my favorites, as I loved the details and magic they conveyed. A good read!

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Thanks to the Publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy.

I loved reading this book which has an older person as a main character.

It was lovely to see different age groups uniting together to save the gingerbread village and Christmas. Each character was relatable, and was interesting reading about their stories, seeing their growth throughout the story.

The story had romance, a sense of community and heartbreak.

I highly recommend this book.

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I loved this Christmas women's fiction book, which is about Margi, who is in her sixties. Margi is a baker, and she is in charge of the annual gingerbread exhibit and grotto in her local area. She is not feeling very Christmassy this year, especially as her gingerbread village is not as popular as it used to be. She asks for help, and her friends and family pull together to try to help her out. Will she be able to save her gingerbread village, and better still, will she perhaps even find some romance?

This is a great book, which is perfect to read on a cold day, snuggled up in front of the fire, with a hot cup of tea and a favourite treat. Highly recommended!

Many thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for a copy of this book.

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What a beautiful story, I am sure everyone will enjoy this. It is a bit different from other Christmas stories and this is well worth 5 stars, I recommend this to all.

Thanks to Netgalley and publisher for this ARC

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Thank you to Hera Books and NetGalley for an Advanced Reader Copy of The Gingerbread Christmas Village by Kiley Dunbar.

64-year old Margi has lived in Wheaton all of her life, and has been passed the honor and responsibility of creating the town’s annual gingerbread exhibit each year. She has always loved Christmas and the excitement creating the gingerbread grotto brings, however, since the abrupt end of her second marriage, Margi has not felt much Christmas spirit. She has made the decision that this year will be her last - for the display and for living in Wheaton, but she wants to keep her plans secret for now from her best friend Izzy, her niece Lucy (who has just suffered heartbreak of her own), Fern (the newest recruit to the gingerbread committee), and her long-time crush Patrick (who is 15 years her junior). As the group prepares for this year’s exhibit, roadblocks begin to appear that could ruin the longtime Wheaton tradition. This Christmas, Margi is not only leading the gingerbread committee in creating the perfect grotto; she’s coming face-to-face with her pride, her loneliness, and her expectations for this season of her life.

I LOVED this book!! Margi is a great character who Dunbar has accurately written to sum up how many of us as women feel going into their menopausal and post-menopausal lives. The Gingerbread Christmas Village is a sweet story of friendship and what it means to live a full life - even when it looks differently than what you might expect. I will definitely be purchasing this book for my shelf and for my friends, and will be adding the rest of Kiley Dunbar’s books to my TBR list!

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I love Christmas and Christmas themed books. So this one jumped out at me and I had to read it. And I am glad I did as it is such a nice, warm Christmas read.

This is a real feel good read with a beautiful, warm and fuzzy Christmas setting and some great characters. Margi is a great character that just wants to move on but Her friends and the community want to help and want to save the Gingerbread Grotto.

This isn't just a Christmas read but a book about people, community, friendship and society. It really hits the mark and with the undertones of Christmas spirit and a bit of romance it is the perfect book to snuggle up with on a cold day with a cuppa by your side.

Thank you NetGalley and Hera Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.

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What a lovely, heartwarming, festive read. I finished this book with my heart so full of love for Margi and the residents of Wheaton. It was just so lovely to see the community rally round and help out. There were some real heart felt moments along with some laugh out loud ones (Margi's dates were so cringe worthy, I couldn't help but laugh). Let's not forget to mention Patrick. What a sweet, lovely man. The perfect festive read. I'd love to see a follow up with Lucy as the main character.

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Ooooh this was wonderful. I loved reading a book with an older main character who still felt young but not too young that her age and behaviour didn't make sense. I loved all the different generations coming together to save Christmas and the gingerbread village. I now want to set up a gingerbread village in my town! Every character felt very real and well developed and their backstories were very interesting and the growth they all went through was wonderful.

The book is filled with humor, romance, heartbreak and community and I had a blast reading it, I did struggle a little bit in the first chapter to get into it but once I was hooked, I could not stop reading. I also shed some tears while reading which in my book means this is just a great holiday read.
Kiley is such a good storyteller, her Borrow a Bookshop series is filled with wonderful characters like Margi, Izz, Lucy who are all very relatable and I love following them on their journeys of self-discovery.

Thank you to NetGalley, Kiley Dunbar and Hera Publishing for the advanced copy, all opinions are my own.

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This is such a gorgeous and cosy story that is perfect for the upcoming season i would highly recommend!

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What a beautiful Christmas read. I loved the whole idea of a gingerbread village, I wish more villages did it. The friendships, both old and new were very touching, I liked all the different generations finding common ground, and through forging new friendships Margi was able to bring the Christmas spirit back to Wheaton and her mothers legacy of doing something with and for the community.

The relationship between Margi and Patrick was very interesting, I could see how she thought the age gap was too big and that people might talk, but Margi didn’t seem like a woman past her prime, she was full of life and seemed very young, age is just a number and not really relevant to her and Patrick, they were meant for each other. Patrick was a great, loving character and I loved how nice he was to people and how he brought out the best in people. That date he set up for Margi with the help of his work friends was so romantic and thoughtful.

I loved this from start to finish.

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I really enjoyed this unusual story. It is tinged with sadness but friendships and community spirit shine through. The Christmas Gingerbread Village is a long standing family tradition passed on from Mother to Daughter. Originally a main annual village event interest is now dwindling and Margi is determined to make one last effort to make this, possibly the last one, shine. A really good story that I would recommend.

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The Gingerbread Christmas Village is a heartwarming story full of goodness and laughter! I love the main character Margi (with a soft g), and I hope to be just like her when I'm her age. I appreciate that the author, Kiley Dunbar, wrote a love story from the perspective of a woman's in her 60's and that it's an age-gap romance. However, that's not the only romance in the story! There's also the relationship/romance between Margi and herself, Margi and her town, and Margi and her baking. I loved all of the side characters and stories, especially Fern & Shell and Izz. This is a slow burn all around, but the author takes the time to develop the characters in a way that you can't help but love them. This book is also very inclusive and it doesn't feel forced. If you're looking for a cute, interesting and hopeful seasoning read, The Gingerbread Christmas Village is it! #netgalley #arc #kileydunbar #kindle

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This is a light-hearted but emotional and perfect seasonal read. With interesting characters and a good storyline. Although it also has some good laugh out loud moments too.

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This was a lovely feel good Christmas romance that was the perfect antidote to a busy day at work, I’d sit back and relax with a mug of hot chocolate and my kindle and be sorted!

All of the characters were lovely and even though Margi is an older MC, which I love in books, there was a younger feel with the surrounding characters especially Lucy and Fern. The community spirit has been tucked away for a while but the ending of this was so magical and just put a smile on my face.

It also made me think of Dunham Massey near me and their light trails at Christmas - I’m already looking forward to heading to another one of these this year!

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"The Gingerbread Christmas Village" by Kiley Dunbar is a heartwarming journey into the enchanting magic of Christmas, where community, friendship, and the rediscovery of oneself blend seamlessly in the picturesque setting of the Cotswold hamlet of Wheaton. Amidst the twinkling lights and festive cheer, you'll follow the spirited Margi, a 64-year-old with a heart full of dreams and a gingerbread exhibit in need of revival, on a touching quest to reclaim her Christmas spirit and redefine her sense of purpose.

Kiley Dunbar's masterful storytelling weaves themes of love, self-discovery, and the joy of human connections against the backdrop of a village preparing for the holiday season. In the heart of this tale, you'll stand alongside Margi as she challenges societal norms and the limitations of age, realizing that every moment is ripe for new beginnings. The warmth of intergenerational friendships between Margi, her niece Lucy, and the reserved farmer's daughter Fern demonstrates the incredible strength that comes from forging bonds across generations.

A delightful blend of humor and romance, "The Gingerbread Christmas Village" offers you a festive escape into a world where gingerbread grottos and twinkling lights create a backdrop for personal growth and heartwarming transformation. As you immerse yourself in the characters' journeys, particularly Margi's, you'll find a connection that resonates deeply. Kiley Dunbar's vivid portrayal of the village and its vibrant community radiates warmth, inviting you to experience the holiday magic and the rejuvenation of the Christmas spirit. This novel is more than just a seasonal read; it's a heartwarming embrace that will leave you with a renewed appreciation for the beauty of the human experience, making it a perfect addition to your holiday reading list.

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The Gingerbread Christmas Village was a lovely read all about small villages, traditions and the type of characters that make you wish you could just step into the story.

I love Christmas books that make you feel all festive and cosy and this book does just that - a perfect christmas read.

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Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. The Gingerbread Christmas Village is a heartwarming seasonal read. Good plot and charming characters.

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Margi is getting ready yo make the annual Wheaton christmas village made out of gingerbread. Her mum started it but its now got bigger and she doesnt want to do it any more. She has help from her friends Izz and Patrick but decides this will be her last year

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What an easy and adorable read. This book just made me smile and I couldn’t put it down. It really puts you in a festive spirit and makes you want to curl up with it and a warm drink.

Margi was fantastic and made me laugh. Love her ❤️ would definitely recommend for this holiday season!!

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I really enjoyed this book. I am a huge fan of Christmas books and this didn't disappoint.

64 year old Margi has lost her Christmas spirit and interest in love.
When everything goes wrong with the gingerbread display does Margi stay or go.

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In America, there are approximately 30.8 million women over 65. Yet, if you were to look at the population of Hallmark movie heroines, you'd think there are about 10 (or less). Which is why I was delighted to read The Gingerbread Christmas Village, about a women in her 60s who is at loose ends. Dunbar really captures that "what do I do now?" that happens after you retire and are looking at the rest of your life. This eventually segues into the standard Hallmark formula: chaos, disaster and a community drawing together to do the right thing. A very sweet and gentle read.

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My first Christmas read this year and what a wonderful way to start! The love and friendship in this lovely village in the Cotswolds and indeed all over the world is stunning, bring on the gingerbread!

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Margi Frost has run the Wheaton Gingerbread Christmas Grotto since she took over the role from her mother. But as time has gone on it has become more of a chore and less of a fun tradition. Coupled with some personal Christmastime tragedies and she is completely disillusioned by the whole season. She used to be a leather-clad punk woman - how has she become old and invisible?

Enter her niece, Lucy, and Fern, the new employee at Margi's bestie's cafe. Together they get both Margi and the Gingerbread Grotto online and when things go spectacularly pearshaped she discovers a wealth of support and love from unexpected sources.

This was a bit of a slow burner of a book, and a little difficult to get into initially, however it did significantly pick up with the addition of Lucy and Fern as supporting, encouraging characters. It was funny, moving and romantic all in the right places. The character of Margi frustrated me at times, but ultimately I really enjoyed this.

Kiley Dunbar's books are always ones Iook out for, and this one was a lovely addition to the mix. The different demographic showcased in this book made an interesting change from the standard 20-30-something romcom heroines, and added a different perspective to the women in my life (those punk rockers masquerading as middle aged, community minded ladies -I see you!)

~Many thanks to NetGalley and Hera Books for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review~

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Definitely a different kind of romance story. Great to read about someone older finding romance and Kiley tells of how finding love is possible regardless of age. It did take me a while to get with the back story and a Christmas gingerbread village but stuck with it and in the end thoroughly enjoyed it. Would recommend this to get you into the Christmas spirit.

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The Gingerbread Christmas Village is a lovely, cosy Christmas read that I thoroughly enjoyed and sped through! It brings a mix of inter generational friendships and warm festive tradition that worked really well together and the whole feel of the book brought up feelings of nostalgia for me.

It was very refreshing to have a main character in her sixties and I don’t believe that I have read a book from a similar perspective before. I loved the humour that Margi and her friends had and I really enjoyed the closeness of the friend group. Patrick stood out as my favourite character, I really liked the way he was written and I am glad that the story had such a happy ending.

I was pleasantly surprised to see a good amount of representation of LGBT characters. I felt that this was done very naturally and flowed seamlessly with the story as a whole. Considering that this is set in a village, it was nice to see some diverse characters.

The setting was great and I really enjoyed the descriptions of the Cotswold village and the lovely feel of community that it brought with it. It now has me pining for Christmas time!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Hera Books for allowing me early access to this title.

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