One Last Dream for December
Sometimes, the dream we think we don’t deserve is the one that’s trying to come true…
Esme Blythe has led a nomadic existence for the last ten years, never thinking she fits anywhere, and never feeling she’s earned the right to. But when she moves in above Percival’s, the charming old toy shop in Market Square, Pebblestow, it seems the village is about to weave its signature fairy-tale magic.
Surrounded by wooden toy soldiers, rocking horses, and vintage doll’s houses, not to mention the locals who seem determined to be part of her life – from her endearing grumpy uncle, to warm-hearted co-worker Blodwyn, and smouldering single dad Seth – Esme has to face up to everything she’s been missing, or turn her back on an incredible opportunity.
New friends, formidable foes, and the thrill of a budding romance, conspire to make this the most bittersweet December ever. But when she finally learns the truth about the toy shop’s owner, her elusive benefactor, the mysterious Mr Percival, is it already too late for Esme to change her mind… and heal her heart?
Purchase Link – https://viewbook.at/LastDreamForDecember
Lottie Cardew writes uplifting, contemporary romcoms set around the picturesque village of Pebblestow, and is an advocate for diversity in fiction.
Regarded as the bossy one at Novelistas Ink, Lottie often subdues the other members if they misbehave (they don’t really) including the popular authors Trisha Ashley and Sophie Claire. She is a longstanding member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, scooping their New Writer’s Award in her twenties under a different pen-name. More recently, Lottie also joined the Society of Authors where as an active participant in the ADCI group (Authors with Disabilities and Chronic Illnesses) she interviewed bestselling author Holly Smale in 2021 for the first ever Disability Issue of The Bookseller.
Lottie is diagnosed autistic with suspected ADHD. Her home in North Wales is overrun by husband, not-very-small children, and a ball of fluff masquerading as a Pomeranian, so Lottie frequently takes refuge at her desk.
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How can a story be so entertaining and yet challenging and powerful? I don’t know the answer, but I do know that with One Last Dream for December, Lottie Cardew has created just that.
Let me explain myself: starting with entertaining (which is why most readers pick up a work of fiction). The village of Pebblestow is charming, its resident warm and welcoming (Blodwyn, I’m talking about you), all of which should put Esme at ease when she finds herself living and working at Percival’s toy shop. Yet it’s not that simple. Why? That, you’ll have to wait and read for yourself.
The shop is quintessentially old-fashioned and traditional, and the workshop below stairs where Mr Percival used to craft his toys is a veritable treasure trove of finished and unfinished toys. With Mr Percival now ill and unable to continue making toys, there’s a sense of trepidation that the end is nigh for the toyshop. With Esme believing her time there is only temporary, that foreboding only gets stronger.
However, there are those (Esme’s uncle & Mr Percival) who see something else in Esme’s future, and an end to her nomadic lifestyle. They know – and they convinced me too – that Esme belongs in Pebblestow. It’s just a matter of persuading Esme now. Cue Seth and his daughter Tamika. Having lived through some traumatic times, Seth is also new to Pebblestow, having moved there to allow his daughter to see her grandparents more often. He is as lost as Esme, and their paths seem inevitably entwined – if only Esme can accept she fits in in Pebblestow. Their friendship is thorny at first, and you start to wonder if there will be a happy ending, but persevere as the delights and magic of Christmas are on hand to make dreams come true.
If seeing how that romance develops is not enough for you, then there are some lovely subplots with Blodwyn and a young man, Piotr, which will warm your heart too.
I’ll admit to finding the start to this story somewhat challenging in that I didn’t take to Esme at first, and I found her to be quite negative about everything. Of course, as I saw her character develop, I understood her better, and that’s what made this such a powerful read for me. The author didn’t instantly label Esme as neurodivergent, she showed how Esme viewed the world and her place in it. It all began to make sense when I saw things from her perspective. As someone who has been pigeon-holed since birth, this approach really made me think and reflect. Sometimes it’s too easy to label an individual; it’s much better all round to try to understand them.
A beautiful story on so many levels, and I’m convinced Mr Percival is related to Santa as well 😉
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