The Little Cottage In Lantern Square | Helen Rolfe


Previously published as four separate seasonal novellas, this is the entire, cosy Lantern Square year in one heartwarming volume.

Author Helen Rolfe

Author Helen Rolfe

What could be more perfect? Hannah runs her own fledgling care package company, Tied Up With String. She creates thoughtful, bespoke parcels for distant relatives, students starting university or anyone needing a pick-me-up. She’s an expert at helping uncertain well-wishers pick the perfect selection of lovely little gifts and creating something truly special.

And now she’s moving into a gorgeous little cottage in Lantern Square, in the heart of the Cotswold village of Butterbury. This book starts with a happy ending, it seems.

She greets her suspicious new neighbour with a radiant smile and writes off the sharp-suited young doctor, roaring past in his sports car, as flashy and not worth her time.

However we learn gradually that Hannah is attempting to move on from a past in which betrayal and loss loom large. She throws herself into her business, and into the thriving Butterbury community scene. She becomes a well-loved regular at the local care home, moving on from her role as a befriender to events organiser – not to mention engineering friendships for a lonely resident. Oh, and she agrees to run a wreath-making workshop for the WI.

Could she be taking on too much? Will some of her spinning plates fall?

Adding to her stress is the reappearance of a number of faces from her past.

It’s little surprise that her ex-boyfriend Luke shows up – she first fell in love with the village while visiting his parents there. But her former best friend Georgia is suddenly keen to make amends too. Surely Hannah should give her a second chance?

Just like the enticing scent of cinnamon churros sold from the food cart on the Square, a feelgood vibe drifts pervasively through this story. It softens the emotional dramas and moments of genuine sadness.

It’s so easy to imagine yourself joining in the dancing at the summer fair, munching hot mince pies on a chilly night or composing the perfect care package box (actually, I suspect a great many of Helen Rolfe’s readers will now be having a go at creating their own, and why not!)

But will Hannah end up with Rhys, the lovable, easy-going gardener? Or is the time now right for her and Luke to rekindle their relationship?

Dr Joe, with his seemingly endless procession of female visitors, is definitely not a candidate – though Hannah has to admit she is not entirely immune to his unsettling magnetic charm…

At a time when the world has, for many of us, been reduced to our local community, this is a reminder of how things could be.

Elderly folk cherished, grumpy people understood and quietly helped, and everyone looking out for each other – it’s just lovely. We could all do with some Lantern Square love in our lives.

Now, I’m off to try and make some churros….

The Little Cottage In Lantern Square by Helen Rolfe is published by Orion, £7.99 PB, £3.99 Kindle

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Sarah Proctor

I've worked on a variety of regional newspapers and national magazines. My Weekly and Your Best Ever Christmas are fantastic, warm-hearted brands with an amazing, talented team. I'm a sub-editor and particularly love working on cookery, fiction and advice pages - I feel I should know all the secrets of eternal life, health and happiness by now, but hey, we all need that regular reminder!