BOOK CLUB: Christmas in the Countryside

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By Marion Lennox, Amy Andrews, and Meredith Webber
ISBN: 9781489290281
Copy courtesy of Harper Collins Australia

Three lovely short stories about sex, romance and how life’s challenges keep getting in the way.

Christmas in the countryside

From Christmas To Forever? by Marion Lennox is a heartwarming story of a young lady, Dr. Pollyanna Hargreaves who has been born into a wealthy family and although is very much loved, is mollycoddled by her parents and is feeling in desperate need to get out from under their protection. She is strong, smart and wildly independent, if only she was allowed to find her own way.

Polly takes up a locum position at a rural GP practice to cover the Christmas break. All should run smoothly until she finds herself at the scene of an accident and she is winching herself down the side of a cliff to render assistance. Very quickly she is thrown out of her comfort zone and her fiery independence and determination are put to the test.

This is the start of her weeks as a locum and she quickly endears herself to the locals. Is she here for the short-term on her way to achieving her life goals, or has fate got other plans?

Swept Away By The Seductive Stranger by Amy Andrews
Two strangers, an instant attraction and the smooth rocking motion of a train. Felicity and Callum are heading in the same direction, from Sydney to Adelaide on the Indian Pacific. It’s only an overnight trip but so much can happen in that time. Neither of them admits to being a doctor and nurse until an elderly gentleman falls ill and their training is called upon. They work together to help their patient, only to find solace in each other once the drama is over. It’s one night together, the adrenaline is running high, noone need ever know………

This was my favourite story out of the three as it is based in the Clare Valley, an area of South Australia I am familiar with and could relate to. The story was written to keep the reader on edge, will they rekindle their one night stand or is this just a sweet memory for them both. A very enjoyable read.

The Temptation Test by Meredith Webber
Jena “Blondie” is a beautiful model come television host who is helping to produce a documentary about rural hospitals. Her first meeting with Dr. Noah Blacklock, whom she will be working closely with, does not go well as his anger and sexism make for a classic case of ‘foot in mouth disease’. However, the attraction is instant and they do all they can to deny their carnal desires.

This was also a good read but I found the story a bit disjointed. The need to live in a shack to be ‘tested’ for the survival series, both Jena and Noah having romantic histories they aren’t quite finished with, a major domestic incident but the police barely investigate, a major vehicle accident and a patient dying in Jena’s arms, a community of young people in a drug refuge centre and finally the story being tied together by a Christmas parade, There were too many off shoots to the main story which made this a little confusing and tedious to read. The romance at the heart of the story was lovely and made the story worthwhile.

Three beautiful stories written by accomplished Australian authors. Thank you to Harlequin Mira and Beauty & Lace Book Club for the opportunity to read these stories.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Christmas in the Countryside. You can read their comments below, or contribute to the discussion by leaving your own feedback.

11 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Christmas in the Countryside

  1. Personally I am not usually a romantic novel enthusiast but I found these short stories very enjoyable. Easy to read with simple story lines and delightful characters it was pleasurable to have a few afternoons relaxing with this book. My favourite story was the first one “From Christmas to Forever?’because I loved the enthusiasm and vitality of Polly. Perhaps I could aspire to be more like her in my own life. Similar to Deb I spent many years in the Clare Valley so the second story appealed to me . Not sure about the third story, I couldnt really relate to the characters or the story line but maybe by this stage I was running low on romantic enthusiasm. Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I congratulate the authors for their skills in developing strong themes and characters within the limitations of short story writing..

  2. Here are another 3 beautiful books that I absolutely love and I would to give a big shoutout to beauty and lace and Marion Lennox, Amy Andrews and Meredith Webber for the opportunity to read this great book thanks every one

  3. These three stories were really good,
    My favourite was the first book From Christmas To Forever Polly was a great character,
    The second story was also really good
    The third story was not to my liking but saying this was well written

  4. Christmas in the Countryside is a 3-in-1 novel of stories. Although these are not new stories it’s the first time they’ve been put together in the one book.
    Each story begins with a letter from the author.

    From Christmas to Forever? by Marion Lennox.
    We begin our book with the story of Heiress Dr Pollyanna Hargreaves who has been wrapped in cotton wool all her life and now wants to show her independence. She’s ready to leave her family behind and show them that she can survive on her own and that she is good at what she does.
    As she is a Doctor she is taking over the practice of GP Dr Hugo Denver for Christmas.
    He lives out in the country and can’t wait to go on holiday with his niece.
    Story one takes us to a small country town where Polly’s adventures begin before she’s even made it into town.

    This romance story was beautiful and it just flows along so nicely. This is a wonderful first story to have in the book as it’s uplifting and light.

    Marion Lennox is a gifted storyteller who will capture your heart with her story.

    Swept Away By The Seductive Stranger by Amy Andrews

    Felicity Mitchell’s train journey of a lifetime was even more unforgettable when she met Callum Hollingsworth. One hot night spent together then back on with their lives hoping to never cross paths again.
    Except when they disembark they learn that Dr Callum Hollingsworth is about to be Nurse Felicity Mitchell’s new boss. Talk about awkward.
    This story takes us to another small country town where the two main characters work together at the local doctors clinic. Where Callum learns that being a country doctor is a whole lot different than being a city doctor.
    Learning to work together is harder than Flick thought it was going to be.
    Amy Andrews has written a romance story that takes us out of the doctors clinic and into living in a small town.
    A fun heartwarming read.

    The Temptation Test by Meredith Webber

    Jena has arrived in Kareela to film a television show at the local bush hospital. As liason person for Showcase Productions she is hoping to convince her boss to put her on his new TV survival series.
    Kareela happens to be the town where her boss Matt Ryan’s home town and she is staying at his more at Kareela.
    Noah Blacklock is the local Doctor and he used to hang around with Matt Ryan.
    Noah and Jena spend time together working on the tv show and helping out. The fail The Temptation test repeatedly but what does that mean for their wonderful affair.

    Story 3 in the book is a little bit different to the others as the story spends more time in the hospital and with patients.
    The romance part of this story is not as smooth flowing as the other stories but it does still capture you and bring you it.
    Meredith Webber’s story isn’t all hearts and flowers and makes you invest more into the story rather than straight to the romance.

    I really enjoyed all three stories in this book and would be happy to read more from any of these authors.
    This book would be a great Christmas present for any lover of romance stories.

  5. This book is Three stories by Three different writers and all are Australian best sellers.

    The First is From Christmas to Forever my Marion Lennox
    Pollyanna Hargreaves has had enough of her wealthy family trying to control every step of her life. They try to control every aspect from when and what she eats to who she should marry and what she should do as a job. Pollyanna decides that this Christmas she is running away so when she find a Locum position in a small country town to relieve the local Doctor while he has Christmas at the beach. Well she quickly applies and gets the job. The moment she arrives she is thrown in the deep end with a full on medical emergency. She ends up seeing that running away from those that love her was a foolish move and perhaps she does need them after all.

    Swept Away By The Seductive Stranger by Amy Andrews
    Living and working in a small town means that you see the same people and dont have exposure to new ones so as Felicity (Flick) Mitchell takes the train back home to her small country town and meets up with a handsome and very sexy stranger she decides to throw caution to the wind and have a wild and crazy night of sex with no strings attached and no need to ever see this guy again. It all sounds great in theory but things do not go as planned.

    The Temptation Test by Meredith Webber
    Jena is working with a film crew in a small town hospital to film a reality tv show and this is where she meets Dr Noah Blacklock. Well actually she has met him before when he made it clear he classed her just another dumb blonde. She is staying in a very run down and ramshackle property just along from Noah’s home. A drama with the police and a man with a knife and a gun means Jena is forced to abandon her accommodation to stay at Noahs place. One thing leads to another and love is about to bloom.

    Three great stories to read one after the other or spread them out and ration yourself to one each weekend. Either way this is a great trio.

  6. Thank you for allowing me to review these three stories.
    I’m not usually a romance reader but after reading the blurbs I really wanted to read them and I’m glad I did.
    Three authors and three stories all in one book. What more could you ask for?
    I especially liked that every story had a medical aspect to it.
    I won’t ruin each story by telling you what happens but they are all definitely worth a read.
    My favourite was definitely From Christmas To Forever by Marion Lennox. I found Pollyanna to be a great character and I loved all of the medical detail.
    This book of stories is definitely worth picking up if you love romance novels or if you like books with a medical back drop as well.
    This is one book where I’m very glad I decided to try romance.

  7. I love a good romantic book, especially in a country setting and the collection of these 3 short stories definitely didn’t disappoint.

    Easy to read & such delightful characters. Perfect stories for any down time this Christmas!

  8. This was a very enjoyable book. I love Christmas anything and thoroughly enjoyed all 3 stories. Thank you Beauty and Lace Club.

  9. I love to read Christmas stories at this time of year and I thoroughly enjoyed Christmas in the Countryside. As most Christmas book I read are set in snow bound countries it was a welcome change to read these stories that brought the heat and sunshine into Christmas.

    Christmas in the Countryside features three short, each one about 160 pages, romantic and sexy stories by three of Australia’s much loved romance authors.

    From Christmas to Forever – features the farming community and a small town country doctor.

    Swept Away by the Seductive Stranger – features a sexy train trip across the Nullarbor Plain.

    The Temptation Test – Mixes the medical theme with reality TV.

    Three great holiday reads and I love that I’m always guaranteed a happy ending.

  10. Really enjoyed the first two of the three stories, the third was harder to delve into.
    I found the first drew me in very quickly and I love the bond that was created.
    The second was appealing (the meeting on the train, the quick, teasing romance), I found the back and forth – we like each other, but, oh, wait we can’t do this, oh yeah, let’s, nah we better not – got a bit frustrating, but it was still well written nonetheless.
    The final story was ok, just not as much fir me as the other two.

    Thank you for letting me review, apologies that it has taken me time to get this written!

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