Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Mistletoe & Mystery by Daisy James Blog Tour

I genuinely feel so lucky that I get to review some wonderful books and even more grateful that I get the chance to read stories by authors I wouldn't necessarily have been aware of if I wasn't given these opportunities. Daisy James is one of those authors. Her Paradise Cookery School series caught my imagination and I've been not so patiently waiting for each new instalment and now she's back with Mistletoe and Mystery . . .

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Fresh off the successful opening of the Paradise Cookery School in St Lucia, Millie Harper is headed to the Cotswolds for Christmas!

Co-presenting Claudia Croft’s famous Festive Feast cookery course at Stonelea Manor is a dream come true for Millie…as is reuniting with gorgeous estate manager Zach Barker.

But arriving in a winter wonderland Millie learns the manor is under a mysterious threat. It’ll take a holiday miracle, but Millie is determined to save the school and get Zach under the mistletoe to finally finish what they started in the Caribbean!

It's no secret that I have absolutely adored the previous two books in this series and if you haven't yet read Sunshine & Secrets or Confetti & Confusion, I highly recommend that you do that ASAP.

Review

Now one of the reasons I actually love this set is because actually you can just jump right in, they could easily be read as stand alone books and Mistletoe & Mystery is perfect for the festive season which is upon us.

Welcome to the Cotswolds Festive Feast cookery course...


From start to finish it is wonderfully heart-warming and filled with a mix of wit and humour. We start again with the main protagonist Millie. After her successful time at the Paradise Cookery school she has now been asked to help her friend Claudia Croft to present her annual festive cookery course at her home in the Cotswolds. 

A chance not to be missed especially because a certain estate manager is going to be there, could there be a Christmas kiss or two under the mistletoe?

Of course as is the way with Millie, disaster never seems to be far behind her, not all her own fault of course. But as people drop out of the course and Claudia's mood plummeting, it seems it may be up to Millie to step up again and lift everyone's spirits.

With loveable characters and a touch of romance, Daisy James has managed to write something quite simple yet thoroughly entertaining. I've fallen in love with each person and as chaos ensues, there's a real sense of community, family and friendship.

If you are looking for a book to inject you with something comical with a touch of festive spirit, then Mistletoe and Mystery is just what you need to be reading right now.

Excerpt

Millie followed Claudia into the oak-panelled hallway, smiling at the clickety-clack of her host’s heels on the polished parquet flooring. The whole room looked like a 1920s murder mystery film set, complete with a magnificent grandfather clock standing to attention like a soldier on parade. Straight ahead of her stood the most magnificent mahogany staircase, its banister just crying out for a session of unrestrained sliding when no one was watching. 

A surprisingly modest fir tree, dressed in twinkling fairy lights and a tasteful selection of red and gold baubles and almost concealed from view by a painted Chinese screen, was the only nod to the fact that it was the Christmas season. Where were the holly wreaths, the pine-cone-and-mistletoe garlands, the tinsel draped over the picture frames? It was another mystery to add to her lengthening list.

“Wow, this entrance hall is amazing!”

“Wait until you see where we’ll be delivering the Festive Feast course on Monday! Come on.”

A whoosh of heat whipped into Millie’s cheeks as she realised she was still wearing the voluminous wax jacket Zach had insisted she put on. Whilst Claudia’s back was turned, she quickly shrugged it off and stuffed the offensive-smelling garment underneath an antique console table, causing a Clarice Clift vase to wobble precariously. All thought of the strange absence of festive decorations vanished from her mind as a pirouette of excitement began to wind through her chest, culminating in a blast of unadulterated pleasure when Claudia pushed open an oak-panelled door to reveal the house’s engine room in all its splendour.

Millie couldn’t prevent her jaw from gaping as she feasted her eyes on every modern appliance a professional chef could possibly ask for; stainless-steel food mixers, liquidisers, juicers, copper pans of various sizes, and pots filled with every utensil imaginable from balloon whisks to spatulas, slotted spoons to cake slices. Two enormous American-style refrigerators stood sentry at a second door which Millie suspected would lead to an old-fashioned pantry filled with a kaleidoscope of ingredients, more than any self-respecting chef could ever need. 

The whole room was a veritable Aladdin’s cave for the passionate culinary junkie and she couldn’t wait to spend a few hours familiarizing herself with every last corkscrew and cheese grater. However, her eyes were drawn to the central island unit topped with white marble – so familiar from the Claudia Cooks… cookery books, but what the glossy photographs hadn’t shown were the four identical workstations facing the island unit, decorated in a variety of pastel shades, each with its own sink and swan-necked tap, from where the students watched Claudia demonstrate her recipes before attempting to recreate them for themselves under her expert guidance. 

When Millie had finished drooling over the facilities, she switched her attention to the French windows that stretched the full width of the wall to her left forming an orangery-like extension presided over by a twelve-seater white marble table where the amateur cooks could sit down and sample their creations.

“Claudia, it’s…” 

Millie struggled to choose an adjective sufficient to describe how she was feeling. In that precise moment, her decision to change career direction from working as a pastry chef at √Čtienne’s patisserie to presenting her own cookery courses - even if it was at the local school or college - crystallised. She knew it was time for her to grasp her courage by the scruff of the neck and embark on the next chapter in her culinary story.

 “No words necessary, Millie. Your face says it all!” laughed Claudia, the delight evident in her voice. “Now, grab a seat and I’ll get you that hot chocolate.”

Cosy up with this fun, festive visit to the Cotswolds premier cookery school! Perfect for fans of Jenny Oliver and Sarah Morgan

Keep following the blog tour for more reviews, excerpts and interviews, let the festivities continue!

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so very much for the wonderful review, Chantelle. I'm thrilled you enjoyed your visit to the Paradise Cookery School! Love Daisy x

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