The Empty House by Rosamunde Pilcher
A couple of chapters into this one it began to dawn on me that I'd read it before, probably four or five years ago. I couldn't remember the ending and it's short so I read it through again. It's about a young mother who is trying to adjust to life with her two children after the accidental death of her husband. She rents a run-down cottage by the sea near an old family friend in Scotland. Also nearby is a farm run by a man she once came close to having a romance with. What happens from there is fairly predictable but the writing that unfolds the story is so enjoyable I didn't really care. It's comforting writing. Pilcher makes you feel like she's writing about your home, your people. She writes characters that stir your interest and sympathy and describes places that call you to them. Every time I finish one of her books I want to get on the first plane to England or Scotland or wherever the story was set. My favourite of her books is "September", and "The Shell Seekers" is also very good. This one wasn't as good, but still a nice diversion for a couple of days.
In Time for Christmas by Katie Flynn
I might as well just say it: I didn't like this book at all. I found the writing awful and the story no better. The story line had potential but fell flat at every turn. The characters weren't interesting, the dialogue wasn't natural and I have no idea why I kept reading. I finished all 455 pages even though I could have chosen to put it down at any time and start one of the 71 books I have waiting to be read. I think I was hoping it would turn into a Christmas story but the title was a little misleading. A few Christmases take place in the course of the story but so do a few springs and summers. Usually I spend December reading a new Christmas story or two and then re-reading some of my old favourites. I should have gone straight to the favourites. It has a pretty cover though.