Cross Stitching by Holly Pritchard | AD

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AD – PR Product | Okay I couldn’t wait any longer! I have been dying to tell you about Cross Stitching by Holly Pritchard ever since I last mentioned it to you back at the start of September. Holly was looking for some bloggers to read her latest novel and share their 100% honest thoughts.

As I say, Holly was asking for some readers to share her latest novel, Cross Stitching. The minute I read the blurb, I knew I needed to read it! It’s been a long time since a book (that isn’t a Bridgerton book) has grabbed my attention well enough to devour it, however Cross Stitching managed to do it.

But before I tell you anything about Cross Stitching, let me introduce you to the author, Holly Pritchard.

Anime women standing close together on front cover of Cross Stitching by Holly Pritchard

Meet The Author: Holly Pritchard

Holly Pritchard is a 27 year old author & blogger based in Wales, UK. After a lifelong love affair with creating stories, Holly pursued her passions of sharing her stories with the world through the self-publishing medium (like me and Calm By The Christmas Tree!). Holly previously worked under the name Holly Stockport until July 2020. She also runs a blog under the name The Little Landeg, alongside working in the marketing industry full time. She lives with her partner Morgan and their terrier cross, Patch.

When she’s not sat at her computer writing novels, Holly can be found drinking copious amounts of vanilla soya milk tea and changing her hair colour every five to ten minutes. Her debut novel, The Ascension of Melanie Winters, was released on the 19th February 2018 to positive reviews, being described as “a real page-turner” & “a solid, intriguing debut novel”. The sequel, The Evolution of Melanie Winters, was published on the 4th December 2019. Her third novel, Cross Stitching, will be published on the 27th September 2021 – set those reminders now!

To keep up to date with her work, you can visit her official website.

Cross Stitching book cover shown on Kindle screen held against a brick wall.

When Holly was first writing Cross Stitching back in November 2020 (and subsequently drafting it in the following months), she listened to a lot of specific music. Music is such a huge motivator and inspiration bank for Holly when it comes to writing; certain tracks by particular artists can help her to convey the exact emotions that she’s after and lets her imagination run wild. Although not a regular user of Spotify, Holly thought it would be a fun little idea to create a Spotify playlist with the music that was a big factor in why Cross Stitching took on the form that it did. You can check it out here! Personally, I chose not to listen until I’d finished reading Cross Stitching.

A paperback copy of Cross Stitching lying open, pages down, on a bed

Cross Stitching: Giving You The Details

Cross Stitching is a story idea that Holly has had the bare bones of since she was around 13 years old, but only came to fruition during NaNoWriMo in November 2020 (where she won with a personal best!). For anyone unaware, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. It began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel during the thirty days of November. NaNoWriMo has grown into a nonprofit that runs year-round programs across 646 regions around the world and in thousands of classrooms, and empowers nearly half a million people to access the power of creative writing. With such an incredible challenge as the kickstart, Holly penned Cross Stitching. So, let’s dive in…

Cross Stitching: The Blurb

Erin had a story. But what was the story?
21 year old Isabelle isn’t having the best time; dealing with her parents unexpected divorce and therapy sessions that seem to hinder more than help have left her at her lowest.

But when she accidentally stumbles into a strange and unusual world, she encounters Erin – a bubbly girl under a shy surface that has demons of her own.

As Isabelle gets to know Erin and thw world she inhabits, she comes across secrets that hint at Erin’s past and threaten to tear apart their relationship

From the author of The Ascension Series comes a story of love found in the most unexpected place.

From the description alone, it’s easy to see that this is a very different story to what I would normally read and share with you all. Holly had wanted to challenge herself and write something completely out of the box from what she’s already done, but still have her own touch to it. Personally? It was a lot more in line with what I would normally read than you might expect.

A table top with a glass bottle, a vase, and a copy of Cross Stitching by Holly Pritchard

My Initial Thoughts

Okay so first up I know we’re told to never judge a book by its cover. And to be fair to me, I didn’t. I judged it from purely the blurb and what I had seen of Holly’s Twitter feed. Needless to say, I was curious. Not sure what to expect, I began to find myself envisioning an LGBTQ+ version of Narnia. Don’t ask why, but that was my initial thought process. Then, when my copy of Cross Stitching arrived, I couldn’t get over how adorable it is! I mean, look at it! It was at that point I realised Cross Stitching is 506 pages long, and it feels it in your hands… I tried hard not to think about how long it’s been since I last read a book this long. Determined not to be put off, I curled up on the sofa under a blanket and waited to be transported.

A wooden tray holding a coffee cup and a copy of the book Cross Stitching by Holly Pritchard on a white bed.

Cross Stitching: My Thoughts While Reading

I won’t tell a lie, at first I struggled to get into Cross Stitching. I can’t quite place my finger on why, though. And after reading for what felt like just 15 minutes I was suddenly enthralled and couldn’t put it down! In fact, before I knew it we had met Erin and I didn’t want to stop reading. Holly’s writing style has a way of snarling you up in the conversation to the point you feel like a third person standing witness to what is happening. I found my fingers itching to turn the page, dying to know what would happen next.

Balls of grey and brown wool lying beside a copy of Cross Stitching by Holly Pritchard on a white fluffy rug.

My Final Thoughts

Wow. Okay. Admitting this now. I wrote this paragraph of the post within 5 minutes of finishing reading Cross Stitching. Never one to let the dust settle! Cross Stitching was great. All the characters were easy to relate to, whether through their strengths or their flaws. I found myself resonating with Isabelle quite frequently, and felt all of the emotions she was going through. Holly Pritchard’s writing had me dying to read “just one more chapter” every time my eyes started to burn with reading late into the night, and I’m sure you’ll find the same! As the story reached its emotional heights, I felt my heart pounding in my chest. The characters of Erin and Isabelle play perfectly together. Due to this perfect pairing, you would be forgiven for thinking Lauren as a minor character, however she brings out another side to Isabelle as we learn more about our protagonist.

However, my favourite part about Cross Stitching is not the plot. Nor is it the characters or their progression arc. In fact, what I loved most about Cross Stitching is the simple way it approaches its place in the LGBTQ+ genre. There’s no confetti, no glitter, no rainbows dancing around you shouting “LOVE THIS CHARACTER BECAUSE SHE’S GAY!”. No, in fact, Holly has written what I can only describe as a perfect book in which your main characters are part of the LGBTQ+ community, without shoving it in your face every few pages as so many other books can do. By approaching the topic of who Isabelle might be interested in forming a relationship with in such a way, Cross Stitching becomes more than just a nice little fantasy novel with LGBTQ+ characters. I will be highly recommending Cross Stitching to anyone who loves a fantasy book, and wouldn’t worry about the romance side of it offending them.

Side profile view of a person reading Cross Stitching by Holly Pritchard on an e-reader.

Where To Get Your Copy

Cross Stitching is available now to pre-order from Amazon in both paperback, for £13.99, and Kindle format, priced at £4.99 or free if you have Kindle Unlimited!. Purchase it today and it’ll be there ready for you as of 27th September 2021! What’re you waiting for? Get your copy today!

Cross Stitching by Holly Pritchard open on Kindle, set against a background of Autumn leaves.

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