#ChristmasReads | “A Second Christmas Wish” by Kathryn Freeman #JorieReads her first #ChocLit Christmas Romance whilst enjoying an extension of her holiday reads! #ChocLitSaturdays

Posted Saturday, 6 January, 2018 by jorielov , , 2 Comments

#ChocLitSaturdays banner created in Canva by Jorie.

Why I feature #ChocLitSaturdays (book reviews & guest author features)
and I feature Romance & Women’s Fiction authors during @SatBookChat:

I wanted to create a bit of a niche on Jorie Loves A Story to showcase romance fiction steeped in relationships, courtships, and the breadth of marriage enveloped by characters written honestly whose lives not only endear you to them but they nestle into your heart as their story is being read!

I am always seeking relationship-based romance which strikes a chord within my mind’s eye as well as my heart! I’m a romantic optimist, and I love curling into a romance where I can be swept inside the past, as history becomes lit alive in the fullness of the narrative and I can wander amongst the supporting cast observing the principal characters fall in love and sort out if they are a proper match for each other!

I love how an Indie Publisher like ChocLitUK is such a positive alternative for those of us who do not identify ourselves as girls and women who read ‘chick-lit’. I appreciate the stories which alight in my hands from ChocLit as much as I appreciate the inspirational romances I gravitate towards because there is a certain level of depth to both outlets in romance which encourage my spirits and gives me a beautiful story to absorb!

As ChocLit begins to highlight Women’s Fiction authors and stories under their new imprint Ruby Fiction, I look forward to spotlighting those authors with guest features ahead of seeing their novels go into print as it’s a Digital First imprint for the publisher. Whilst sorting out how promote my book reviews on behalf of ChocLit, I coined the phrase “ChocLitSaturdays”, which is a nod to the fact my ChocLit reviews & features debut on ‘a Saturday’ but further to the point that on the ‘weekend’ we want to dip into a world wholly ideal and romantic during our hours off from the work week!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Acquired Book By: I am a regular reviewer for ChocLitUK, where I hand select which books in either their backlist and/or current releases I would like to read next for my #ChocLitSaturdays blog feature. As of June 2016, I became a member of the ChocLit Stars Team in tandem with being on the Cover Reveal Team which I joined in May 2016. I reference the Stars as this is a lovely new reader contribution team of sending feedback to the publisher ahead of new book releases. As always, even if I’m involved with a publisher in this sort of fashion, each review is never influenced by that participation and will always be my honest impression as I read the story. Whether the author is one I have previously read or never had the pleasure to read until the book greets my shelf.

I received a complimentary copy of “A Second Christmas Wish” from ChocLit in exchange for an honest review! I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

On feeling blessed to read a Christmas Romance in January:

Originally, I had hoped to read this story round Christmastime – however, the Christmas Post held this little parcel in its grasp until the first week of January – whilst a fierce and brutal Winter virus had straggled its grip on me! I wouldn’t have been able to read this delightful story during Christmas as much as I would have wanted; it’s a wonder how I managed to get through those days at all. The best joy though of settling into this story now, on the first weekend in January is how lovely the weather has been outside! We’ve received a lovely dash of cold weather – making it feel evermore like Winter, even if my region rarely feels like it knows what Winter is truly about compared to other parts!

Winter is a time I love to settle into Christmas stories – from the month of Thanksgiving (November) until Twelfth Night (January) or a bit extended til the latter weeks of January – it just depends on the year. This past Winter, I’ve had the joy of highlighting quite a lot of wonderfully exciting Christmas Romances & Contemporary stories set during Yule; many of which I am hopeful to collect in time to read before the next holiday season. This particular novel I’ve been itching to read since I first talked about my thoughts on it’s behalf during it’s Cover Reveal (October, 2016).

Not all the Christmas stories I find I want to read are light-hearted, most this year are more dramatically inclined – hitting on harder story-lines and blessedly find redemption or restitution in the end. At the heart of my #ChristmasReads though is seeking out the relationships which start during the holidays and find traction to hold together afterwards – in essence of what makes the best part of reading Romances set during Christmas!

Reading A Second Christmas Wish marks my first Christmas Rom by a ChocLit author as well – I’ve been happily seeing more Christmas lovelies release (all Digital First) and have hoped more might go into print runs as the years move forward. There is nothing wickeder than seeing stories set during your favourite holiday season have enticed the writers you love reading (or hope to discover reading soon) to write a bit of Christmas into their canon of works.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Notation on Cover Art Design: (as previously shared) 

It’s the quintessential cover for me that speaks about this kind of story! I know it might not be the most popular but ooh! That cover just spoke volumes about why I love tucking inside Christmas stories, Yuletide celebrations and the festive nature of Winter bringing round all my favourite holidays!! It’s such an incredibly magical time of the year and I adore snow even if my state is one of the few that doesn’t get any – I long to live closer to snow country, to be caught up in that treasure of snowflakes and the stillness of a wintry walk. For me it was more the aesthetic of what resonates with this kind of story. It’s the allure of the story for me rather than the specifics.

#ChristmasReads | “A Second Christmas Wish” by Kathryn Freeman #JorieReads her first #ChocLit Christmas Romance whilst enjoying an extension of her holiday reads! #ChocLitSaturdaysA Second Christmas Wish
by Kathryn Freeman
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Berni Stevens
Source: Direct from Publisher

Do you believe in Father Christmas?

For Melissa, Christmas has always been overrated. From her cold, distant parents to her manipulative ex-husband, Lawrence, she’s never experienced the warmth and contentment of the festive season with a big, happy family sitting around the table.

And Melissa has learned to live with it, but it breaks her heart that her seven-year-old son, William, has had to live with it too. Whilst most little boys wait with excitement for the big day, William finds it difficult to believe that Father Christmas even exists.

But then Daniel McCormick comes into their lives. And with his help, Melissa and William might just be able to find their festive spirit, and finally have a Christmas where all of their wishes come true…

Genres: Christmas Story &/or Christmas Romance, Contemporary (Modern) Fiction (post 1945), Contemporary Romance

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Book Page on ChocLitUK

Also by this author: Search for the Truth Cover Reveal, Before You Cover Reveal, Search for the Truth, A Second Christmas Wish Cover Reveal, Before You

Published by ChocLitUK

on 9th November, 2017

Format: UK Edition Paperback

Pages: 221

Published by: ChocLitUK (@ChocLitUK)

Formats Available: Paperback and Ebook

Genre(s): Contemporary Romance | Christmas Romance | New Beginnings & Unexpected Love

Converse via: #ChocLit & #Contemporary #ChristmasReads

The Collective works I’ve Enjoyed Reading by Kathryn Freeman:

Search for the Truth by Kathryn FreemanA Second Christmas Wish by Kathryn FreemanBefore You by Kathryn Freeman

Ms Freeman’s ChocLit Contemporary Roms:

Before You (see also Review)

A Second Christmas Wish (see also Cover Reveal w/ Notes)

Search for the Truth (see also Review)

About Kathryn Freeman

Kathryn Freeman

Kathryn was born in Wallingford, England but has spent most of her life living in a village near Windsor. After studying pharmacy in Brighton she began her working life as a retail pharmacist. She quickly realised that trying to decipher doctor’s handwriting wasn’t for her and left to join the pharmaceutical industry where she spent twenty happy years working in medical communications. In 2011, backed by her family, she left the world of pharmaceutical science to begin life as a self-employed writer, juggling the two disciplines of medical writing and romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero…

With two teenage boys and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to bother buying a card again this year (yes, he does) the romance in her life is all in her head. Then again, her husband’s unstinting support of her career change goes to prove that love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes can come in many disguises.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

my review of a second christmas wish:

Melissa has her hands full with her soon-to-be ex-husband Lawrence – his contrite mannerisms and his cold-hearted declarations would make anyone shudder. He can’t even take himself out of his own affairs long enough to give his son (at the time, four years old) a chance to enjoy a Happy Christmas because he’s too wounded personally to admit the fact Melissa had enough strength to leave him. His parents were quite the bore – they were as unemotionally attached to the situation at hand as Lawrence. How Melissa quieted her nerves just to survive that last Christmas is a credit to her courage though I suspected things might still be on rocky ground even after she officially separated from him; there was something not quite right with how he felt he could control her and their son.

As we re-emerge into their lives three years after the tension of that particular Christmas, we find William is an even shier seven year old but Melissa has firmed her resolve to where she can handle certain crises as they arise. Not all, but some. She wants to encourage her son to try new things but trying to convince him of this is quite the obstacle – which is why she decided to focus on something she loved herself once: indoor tennis. It was by seeking out this sport, she found the encouragement she needed as her son already had a friend who was taking lessons. You could tell by how Melissa reacted to certain moments, the joys she had in life were hard-won – she was still criticising herself if she was doing right by William.

The tennis instructor, Daniel was quite the hoot to see through his sister’s eyes (the mother of William’s friend Simon) – as apparently he had a particular reputation. Even more interesting was watching his reaction to Melissa whilst observing he was immediately aware William was not like the other children he taught. William shrank away from other children, not willing to participate in an activity within a group as it took him outside of his own confidence. Meanwhile, you could see despite the upsets in Daniel’s own life as a tennis player, his true passion these days was the role of a teacher. Mind you, he was also dazzled a bit by Melissa – I think at first for not realising who she was (even after his sister told him the details) but secondly, by her presence alone. She held something within her she hadn’t realised she had to offer someone. He saw potential in her but whether or not it would yield into a relationship was too early to know for sure.

As you see how hard it is for Melissa to talk about her marriage to Lawrence – to explain how she ended up with a man like him, you start to see how her path in life was marred from the beginning. She didn’t have the right foundation in life to understand what she wanted once she was out on her own but evenso, it was how Lawrence had preyed on her when she was too innocent to understand everything going on which rankled the most. It was Daniel who could see why the pieces fell together the way they did – of finding how Melissa as a young teen bride could misinterpret the affections Lawrence provided but now, the hardest part for Daniel seemed to be keeping his distance from Melissa; of not allowing himself to fall in love with her even if it was what his heart was demanding.

Young William was coming out of his shell – finding his own way with his peers and it was all because of tennis. He found something he was good at and it made practice go easier finding he could do something which made him happy. Likewise, because his joy was increasing, his Mum was starting to relax a bit herself except for whenever Melissa second-guessed the intentions of Daniel; a fault in habit she hadn’t yet sorted out how to stop from happening. It was curious – from the onset you could tell Daniel wasn’t the kind who would hold something over someone or be cloy about how to get what he wanted; he was upfront, honest and he talked straight; never in circles or tried to come across under-hand. It seemed the scars of her marriage to me were undercutting how she interacted with men now – almost as if despite their own personalities and character speaking on their behalf, portions of how Melissa understood her interactions were countered against her history with Lawrence. This is of course, understandable to a certain extent, but when she fumbles to knit together the reasons behind some of Daniel’s actions – you start to wonder if she will find a way to leave the past where it belongs and find a way to move forward without the baggage of uncertainty she keeps carrying round.

She wasn’t aware of how much she needed the hug until Alice supplied it ‘Okay, I hear what you’re saying, but love shouldn’t be something you fear. It should be something you cherish. If you spend the rest of your life never allowing yourself to fall in love again, it will only be half a life.’

-quoted from “A Second Christmas Wish” with permission of the publisher.

There is more truth in this statement than what can be attached to this novel – any life lived without love is only half a life. One of the reasons I love reading the stories by ChocLit authors is they root out what is proving to be a stumbling block for their characters to surrender to the love they are finding and of why they are unable to commit to the relationships they find themselves inside. Not always, but most are not ready to settle down or they have a road block towards finding true happiness in romance – something from their past or their present which alters how they view a committed relationship.

Similarly, this is what is affecting Melissa – the emotional damage wrought from Lawrence was leaving her cocooned away from men, even when she was finding a magnetic draw towards Daniel she was still finding a way to pull away from him. Meanwhile, the tennis lessons were allowing William to shine in ways the young boy never suspected he’d enjoy – the sport was giving him independence and a chance to get to know himself outside of the divorce which had impacted him as hard as his Mum. Tennis in many ways was allowing him to heal from having a domineering father who could not see the good in his life but only chose to reveal his criticisms.

It wasn’t enough for Lawrence to sour Melissa’s mind and heart about men (in general) but his relationship – the way in which he approached it (to be domineering, controlling and otherwise, unyielding to her own desires or thoughts about her life and person) set several things into motion. She was determined not to be blindsided again by a controlling relationship, but part of what she mistook for control was one man’s earnest admiration – she was confused on such a fundamental level of understanding relationships, even now she was in a fit of exhaustion to best understand the murmurings of her own heart.

Freeman delves into the mind-play and the psychological effects of being in an unhealthy relationship whilst countering it against a healthy relationships and why patience is a virtue for all involved. Daniel wasn’t used to having to compromise much in his life – he was the kind of bloke who saw something he wanted and he had the confidence to realise he could obtain it. Women and relationships tended to go in the same fashion of thought; although, he never settled down long enough to consider marriage. For Daniel, his life was too short not to live passionately – either in his line of work (professional tennis turnt coach) or in his romantic affairs. The only downside to this kind of confidence is he has a keen fault in listening to what someone is telling him. First it was his sister who tried to persuade him to listen to reason but then, it was Melissa herself – who despite everything she had gone through was not immune to feeling a connection to a man she was attracted too. The only problem there is how her growing attraction was making her feel – she was never confident in love or relationships because of how shattered she was on a soul level after Lawrence. She had re-built her life, moving forward for the sake of her son but in regards of putting her heart out there and becoming vulnerable again to someone else? This is something she felt less inclined to experience ever again – and this is where, Daniel nearly missed hearing what she had to tell him.

As you move through their lives, the holidays are approaching rather quickly because everything started round Halloween and moved into New Year’s – it’s a time of felicity and mirth, but for those who have broken hearts and duct taped spirits – it can be one of the harder times to try to encourage a new relationship to bloom. What I appreciated most about the story itself is how it was paced – everything felt realistic because of how well Ms Freeman gave time and measure to the characters’ honest reactions about how they were feeling emotionally. This is in-part a story of emotional healing, of finding a way to grow from the past hurts in your life and of finding the courage to find love again where you can give it freely whilst receiving it openly.

on the yuletide romantic styling of ms freeman:

Ms Freeman begins her story during Christmas – as a shift in perspective to show how one family was about to separate and how the wounds of one marriage was affecting both the child and the mother. It banks forward by three years and resumes the story-line from the end of October straight through the Christmas holiday season leading into New Year’s. One of the secondary focuses of the novel is the joy of having Father Christmas in one’s life.

As I originally foresaid:

Now in regards to Father Christmas and stories surrounding the magic of Santa, these are some of my favourites as well – there are as many variants for this as the holiday traditions that touch our lives, but one thing remains the same throughout them: you have to believe and have the joy of the season in your heart to see what isn’t always possible. Sometimes that becomes altered by life and the memories of the past, but if you even have a small bit of wonder inside your heart, there is potential for the curious surprises which can arrive inside your life through a story-line of Father Christmas! I am unsure the twist in this story will be – either showcasing Father Christmas or how there are those amongst us who are Father Christmas to those who never expect to be surprised – whichever way it goes, I know I’m in for a special treat of a read!

-quoted from my initial reactions to the premise via the Cover Reveal

This remains true as your reading the story, as you get caught up in the momentum of trying to see if Daniel and Melissa can re-instill a love of Father Christmas to young William. His father, Lawrence wasn’t one for such traditions, which was quite jarring initially to read as he was clearly not paternal or he would have understood how inappropriate he was sounding to rob a young child of the essence of why Father Christmas is in our lives. As the story shifts forward, the concept behind Father Christmas is tested but so too, is an unexpected way in which William chooses to examine his own belief in the legend!

This combined with William’s transformational growth and the zest of a young boy in the story is what made it such a delightful treat to read. Especially as William’s scenes felt authentic and real; they didn’t feel like they were added to remain real to the story but rather, a part of a character who was fully present in the story itself. Likewise, you become one of his cheerleaders in the stands as his skills improve on the tennis court whilst noting his confidence and bubbly personality were there all along; they were simply overshadowed by the trauma of living with his father in his earlier years.

All the while, you have a festive atmosphere in the background – from the trees which are trimmed to the holiday foods being prepared. You can readily get caught up in the joys of the season reading this novel whilst you watch two souls heal through a renewal of hope and love in their life and find one soul find the freedom to finally find someone to nurture through love. It’s a dramatic Christmas story – there are a few humourous things which happen, some of which just make you smirk and smile – but in the heart of the novel itself it’s an honest representation of what you go through whilst trying to repair your heart and still your conscience to accept second chances are out there – but you have to find the courage to accept them when they find you.

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

This book review is courtesy of: ChocLitUK

ChocLitUK Reviewer Badge provided by ChocLitUK

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

Reader Interactive Question:

Have you previously had the pleasure of reading a ChocLitUK Romance novel!? Did you now they regularly release novels with strong female leads and male characters who are a delight to find on the pages? ChocLit truly has found a niche for giving romance readers something hearty to chew on whilst seeking out uplifting relationship-based Rom with just a dash and a hint of intrigue, drama, and suspense! What do you seek out from a romance novel?

The relationship-based drama, comedy, historical, or suspense? OR the strength of the setting, timescape, and dimensional eclipse of the characters therein!?

When it comes to reading holiday romances, what are your personal favourites!?

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

I’m sharing this whilst participating in #WYChristmasReadathon

Christmas Readathon graphic provided by Writerly Yours and used with permission.

via @writerlyyours | writerlyyours.com

I personally love reading #ChristmasReads during the holiday season, I started a bit earlier this year as I tucked inside the anthology of stories by Ms Carla Kelly as well as hosting guest features for a lovely array of new releases feat. the following authors: Linn B. HaltonPatrice WiltonHelen J. Rolfe, Erin Greendiscussing ‘Christmas in a Small Town’; spotlighting Regina Scott as well as interviewing Ms Rock about ‘Christmas at Cade Ranch’; whilst reading ‘Last Christmas in Paris’ and spotlighting Evonne Wareham‘s Romantic Suspense novel set during Christmas!

Even when I’m highlighting a novel I want to read (via a spotlight) I share my notes & reasons why I am keen on reading it. I welcome you to visit me during this festive holiday season to seek your next #ChristmasReads for next year! Merry meet and blessed New Year’s to all.

Here is what I have been reading:

my review of A Cup of Christmas Cheer, Vol. 3

+ my review of The Crooked Christmas Tree

+ my review of Kissing Father Christmas

+ my review of A Christmas Surprise (novella)

As you can see, I had to take a break in my #ChristmasReads this year; shortly after Christmas arrived I fell ill with a serious virus which even now, a full week into the New Year I am still recovering from,… however, there are a few holiday stories I still wanted to read. One of which is this lovely one by Ms Freeman which was delayed in Christmas Post; it only arrived on Friday, the 5th of January! I normally can’t read a novel so quickly – however it provided such a lovely respite from my recovery of this virus, I simply found myself invested in this world Ms Freeman had created. Sometimes stories are the best remedy to what ills us as they can take our attention away from being unwell.

Stay tuned for the final stories I’m reading involving Christmas will be A Light in the Window by Julie Lessman and Hungry for Home Brenda S. Anderson. Also, one of my library purchase requests came through: Christmas at Cade Ranch – I happily read the story leading into this sequel – thereby, I have had quite a few stories interest me just after the turn of the new year, where I can delight in the joys of reading Yuletide story-lines a few weeks after the holidays!

Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set purchased on Etsy; made by rachelwhitetoo.

{SOURCES: Book covers for “A Second Christmas Wish”, “Search for the Truth” & “Before You”; book synopsis, author biography and Choc Lit reviewer badge were provided by ChocLitUK and used with permission. Author photograph of Kathryn Freeman provided by the author Kathryn Freeman and used with permission. Quote from “A Second Christmas Wish” was selected by Jorie and used with permission of the publisher ChocLitUK. Tweets embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. #WYReadathon badge provided by Priya of Writerly Yours and is used with permission. Post dividers are from the art set I purchased on Etsy by rachelwhitetoo (Coffee and Tea Clip Art Set). Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: #ChocLitSaturdays banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2018.

I’m a social reader | I tweet as I read

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie


Posted Saturday, 6 January, 2018 by jorielov in 21st Century, Blog Tour Host, ChocLitUK, Christmas Romance &/or Holiday Story, Contemporary Romance, Divorce & Martial Strife, England, Family Drama, Family Life, Indie Author, Modern Day, Motherhood | Parenthood, Psychological Abuse, Realistic Fiction, Romance Fiction, Second Chance Love, Sports, Tennis, Vulgarity in Literature

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2 responses to “#ChristmasReads | “A Second Christmas Wish” by Kathryn Freeman #JorieReads her first #ChocLit Christmas Romance whilst enjoying an extension of her holiday reads! #ChocLitSaturdays

  1. Kathryn Freeman

    Dear Jorie, what a gorgeous review of A Second Christmas Wish. I love how you manage to get at the heart of the story – and at the heart of what the author is trying to convey. Thank you so much taking the time to read and write such a thoughtful review, I’m so grateful xxxx

    • Hallo, Hallo Ms Freeman,

      My apologies for the delayed response. I wasn’t able to keep up with the comments arriving into my blog for a handful of years – only after the New Year began was I able to finally dig into my archives for commentary and start to respond to all the beautiful notes left for me! It was a combination of factors – mostly health related for the year of 2018/19 whilst there were other things going on as well ‘behind-the-blog’. I wanted to thank you for visiting with me after my review went live for this Christmas Romance – it was my first experience with a ChocLit Christmas story and I truly enjoyed diving into the heart of your story, giving my readers a firm insight into what you gave us to read and also being able to curl into a seasonal romance from a publisher I loved reading.

      The honour was mine, Ms Freeman! I have loved following your career at ChocLit and as your career continues to gain momentum and move forward past ChocLit, it is a wonderful delight to continue to be one of your book cheerleaders! Here’s to next week and showcasing your lovely new release “The New Guy”!! Your words of praise were truly a lift of joy to read as I try to honour the stories I am reading by paying homage to the characters and the impression I had as I read them; I was dearly thankful this was resonating with you as you read my ruminations!!

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