Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Cupcakes for Christmas (Return to Willoughby Close, #1)” as Want to Read:
Cupcakes for Christmas (Return to Willoughby Close, #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Cupcakes for Christmas

(Return to Willoughby Close #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  711 ratings  ·  136 reviews
Welcome back to Willoughby Close, with four new residents and happy endings to deliver…

Olivia James has always been happy running a tea shop and bakery in the Cotswold village of Wychwood-on-Lea, and helping her friends find their happily-ever-afters, topped by the perfect wedding cake. But as Christmas approaches, Olivia is home alone and questioning her choices while eat
Kindle Edition, 212 pages
Published October 25th 2018 by Tule Publishing
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Cupcakes for Christmas, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Cupcakes for Christmas

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  711 ratings  ·  136 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Cupcakes for Christmas (Return to Willoughby Close, #1)
DJ Sakata
My Rating:


Favorite Quotes:

It had been a lovely surprise to find unexpected friends in a village where a single woman pushing forty was considered a bona fide spinster, someone who should invest in a plaid wheelie bag and a tabby cat.

“You are grossly undercharging, then. Cupcakes the size of a small rodent go for nearly five pounds in London.” “What an unappealing comparison,” Olivia returned with another laugh. “And this isn’t London, it’s the Cotswolds.”

“He’s a bit of a crazy cat.” Which was
Oct 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Kate Hewitt is an author that I’ve lost count of how many books that I’ve managed to read at this point but seeing I’m reviewing yet another you can probably guess that I do enjoy her writing. The last book I had read was more of a domestic drama but Cupcakes for Christmas returns to what I’m most familiar with of her work, a contemporary romance with this one being set during the holiday season.

Olivia James is the owner of her own little tea and sweet shop that had once belonged to her mother.
Dec 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Pleasant contemporary romance set around the holidays. A little thin on plot, with not very well developed characters.
Deanne Patterson
What is more fun than reading about Christmas and baking, baking cupcakes at that. Olivia James runs a tea and bakeshop on Cotswold village of Wychwood-on-Lea. Olivia is always the bridesmaid but never the bride, she bakes the most delectable cakes but will she ever get to make a cake for herself? As she works she meets new to town, Simon who returns each day to buy a cupcake from her. Simon and Olivia each have some things going on in their life that they are dealing with but it doesn't affect ...more
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley, 2018
An absolutely blissful setting - a teashop in the Cotswolds and delicious cakes! It really sets the scene for a wonderfully cosy read. Romance is in the air but will the secrets in the past be overccome to provide a happy ever after.
There are some very touching moments and some more serious issues are also explored. I love Christmas books and I'm really glad that this one joined my festive reading list. I always enjoy Kate Hewitt's books and this one was a real winner
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
I have read a couple of books in the previous Willoughby Close series so was great to be back in the lovely cosy setting of the small village. This series focuses on a different set of characters though so you don’t need to worry about not having read the previous series, although I guarantee you will no doubt want to when you have devoured this book.

Be warned, if you have a sweet tooth, reading parts to do with the different flavoured cupcakes was torture. I’m partial to a cupcake or two and th
Nov 22, 2020 rated it liked it
This was kind of a melancholy Christmas story. I didn’t really care too much for the characters but I also didn’t hate them or the book. It was just ok
Nicola Clough
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book it's quite a quick read and throughly excellent from the first page. Has you in tears at times and laughing at others it's so well written. The characters are brilliant and the story is so true to life and shoes how we have many challenges to face but with friendship we can do. It's heartbreaking, heartwarming and romantic and about family and friends. Of course full of lovely cupcakes as well you just want one to eat.
Olivia has been living about her cafe in a small t
Nov 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-books
fun and easy, but not overly fluffy or unrealistic romance and real life situations without becoming dramatic.

i would defiantly say give this a read if you just want something entertaining and nice to read.

it’s not an overly christmas-y feeling book more of a typical romance that takes place during december and shares a few christmas moments so it might be disappointing when picking this book up, or maybe i have too high expectations regarding christmas feelings and descriptions in a book that h
Lenore Kosinski
Dec 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: xmas, netgalley

I received a free copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased review/opinion.

3 stars — Well, I ended up disappointed. This one just didn’t follow any formula I know, and I ended up feeling like I was slogging through the reading. Part of that is that the writing style isn’t a good match for me…it felt a bit verbose, and that’s not to my personal taste. Which is not to say it was badly written, I just have a low tolerance for that. It was
Lisa M
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
A lovely festive book that touched on sad topics that are not always the norm for seasonal reads.

We meet Olivia and Simon in this delightful read. Olivia has taken over her mum's cafe, with a little help from a schoolgirl friend (who is an aspiring entrepreneur!) who advises Olivia to run a '12 days of Christmas' cupcake competition. Simon buys a cupcake one day but there is an instant spark between them which leads to him returning for more cupcakes and maybe a few dates! You will need to read
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
First time I was reading a book from Kate Hewitt. I really enjoyed her writing and really enjoyed the story. This is a feel-good book that takes place around Christmas time and that is full of yummy cupcakes made by the lovely Olivia who up until now has a cozy life. She is single and has many good friends. One days comes in her little shop an interesting and charming man who will start to buy a cupcake from her everyday. This is a book full of cupcakes, romance but it also talks about a serious ...more
Sandra Hutchison
Dec 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fun-romances
This is a light sweet romance and that's all I expected from it, but it has an unusual heroine (slightly older, slightly rounder, and generally more mature than average -- meaning mature in terms of her temperament, not that she's a senior). It also makes some nice, compassionate use of real life problems (Alzheimer's and depression, though that second one is resolved a bit fast). Very good first person voice. I had read another, earlier Willoughby Close book years ago and forgotten almost every ...more
Three and a half stars.

It's nearly Christmas and Olivia James is feeling a little melancholy. All her friends are happily married and planning new futures, her mother has moved into assisted living accommodation in Witney and her cake shop/cafe is struggling to stay in the black. Then a chance encounter with a stranger brings some Christmas hope and magic into her heart. But in the real world things aren't always fairy lights and tinsel, there are problems and family and other issues.

This was a
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cupcakes for Christmas, written by author Kate Hewitt, is the perfect feel-good holiday romance. I am a fan of Kate Hewitt's books, and especially loved her Willoughby Close series. Cupcakes for Christmas is the first book in a new series, Return to Willoughby Close. Although reading the previous series is not required, I strongly recommend it. Kate Hewitt writes characters that we can all relate to...ones that live ordinary lives with everyday struggles.

Olivia James is almost forty-years-old,
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I love Wynchwood-on-Lea and am so glad for the chance to read the stories of more of its residents. I enjoy seeing the familiar places and returning characters through new eyes. This time around, we get to peek into Olivia James' life as she takes ownership of her mum's tearoom and implements new schemes to increase business. Olivia faces situations common to everyday life. We see her backstory develop as she copes with the curves life throws her way, treating mental health issues in a hopeful b ...more
D Call
Dec 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Good women's fiction

My Rating System
5 stars--WOW
4 stars--would read again
3 stars--was good, won't read again
2 stars--read it, but didn't enjoy it
1 star--didn't finish, it was so awful

Do I need to read books before this one: no, but I get the impression her friends each have a book, but I can't find them
Cliffhanger: no

39yo Olivia has taken over her mom's tea shop, and Tina (mom) has moved to a retirement community nearby. Olivia's friend's teenager suggests she run a Twelve Days of Christm
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Cupcakes for Christmas: The most uplifting and unmissable feel good love story of Christmas 2018! (Return to Willoughby Close Book 1) by [Hewitt, Kate]I was given this book by NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

I always enjoy a fun Christmas book and when it is mixed with cupcakes, who can say no?

This is a part of a series but I was able to read, understand and enjoy it even though I had not read the other books in the series.

Olivia James owns a tea and sweet shop which had previously be
Sally Coles
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Olivia has taken over the teashop in Wychwood-on-Lea from her mother when she retired and is determined to make it a success. Just before Christmas she decides to do a promotion of the twelve days of cupcakes which turns out to be a success and one new customer that it brings in is Simon who she feels an instant rapport with. Simon is a music teacher who left his previous school under a bit of a cloud but can he open up to Olivia and is there any sort of future possible for them?

It is lovely to
Ingrid Holzman
Dec 31, 2020 rated it liked it
I would give the book a 3.5 stars, if I could. Unlike all the other Kate Hewitt stories in the Willoughby Close series, I was disappointed in this one. Perhaps it’s because too much was going on in a shorter novel. I was looking forward to reading about Olivia, but found her less interesting, not enough levels. Again, it’s possible that was due to the short length thus elements seemed rushed. This won’t deter me from reading others in this series. Overall, I enjoy Kate Hewitt’s writing and her s ...more
shannon  Stubbs
Dec 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Very cute

The story was a very cute Christmas romance. It was about two people meeting over a Christmas cupcake sale. The story has a few little deep issues about dementia with family members and also dealing with it during the holidays. Without giving too much away it also touches on other issues that are tough not just during the holidays but anytime of the year. I enjoyed reading it.
Jessica Adams
Nov 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Dealt with heavier issues than I expected. I didn’t dislike , but didn’t really like it either ....kind of a meh read. Don’t plan on going on with the series
Rebecca Lloyd
Nov 29, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book was very simple and slow moving. I would skip it and find something else as there are so many other choices out there!
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
A happy little Christmas romance.
Nov 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Set in Wychwood-on-Lea, Olivia James owns a tea shop called Tea on the Lea which she’s been running for two years. She’d taken over her mother’s tea shop six months ago after helping her out for more than a year before her mother moved to her retirement flat in Witney. Her shop offers made-to-order wedding cake service, a venue-for-hire option, and Mum’s Morning Out which she offers once a week.

Lately, she’s started offering cupcakes 🧁, a step up from the scones and sponge cake 🍰 she usually off
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
(slight spoiler alert) Kate Hewitt's novels - even the ones not centered around Christmas - are perfect to read during the holiday season. Though they deal with sobering issues (like the failing health of a parent, growing up in a single parent home, and depression in this book), the books never feel heavy or dark. Instead, the have a light-hearted, uplifting tone that is perfect for the holidays (and any other time of year, of course!) Though I haven't yet read the intervening Willoughby Close ...more
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cupcakes for Christmas by Kate Hewitt
Always the baker, never the bride…
Olivia Williams has always been happy running a tea shop and bakery in the Cotswold village of Wychwood, and helping her friends find their happily-ever-afters, topped by the perfect wedding cake. But Christmas approaches, Olivia is home alone and questioning her choices while eating too many of her own specialty confections.
But when Simon Blacklock, a handsome, whimsical stranger breezes into her shop and buys a cupcake and
...more blog~
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs, christmas
4 Stars...

This book was sweet. I enjoyed it despite the first half of the book being a bit slow and boring at times. But after reading the entire book, I appreciated the slower pace because it made me appreciate the ending all the better. In addition to being a warm-hearted Christmas romance, this book was emotional. Life was not perfect for either Simon or Olivia. Each had their own emotional baggage. And while we are aware of Olivia's from the beginning, it is Simon's life that is slowly revea

With thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for this ARC in exchange for an open and honest review.

This is the first book I have read in the Willoughby Close series. I enjoyed the story and was surprised to find I have another two books in the series in my TBR stash.

Olivia James had taken over her mother Tina`s tea shop a year earlier. The shop was called Tea On The Lea in the Cotswold village of Wychwood On Lea.

Olivia was struggling when her best friends daughter Mallory suggested she held a 12
Oct 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Olivia James loves baking and has recently taken over the running of her mother’s café and bakery. Although she had been assisting her mother for a while before her mother’s retirement and her takeover, she had never really had the time to join any of the village activities or clubs, but now she decided she must make more of an effort. Christmas was coming and she hoped that would give her the opportunity of making more friends. She loved her small flat above the shop in the Cotswold village of ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • 'Twas the Kiss Before Christmas (Christmas Mountain Clean Romance Series Book 4)
  • Maple Sugar Crush (An Autumnboro Sweet Romance #2)
  • Ready for Whatever (The UnBRCAble Women Series Book 1)
  • Christmas Gifts Collection
  • A Perfect Christmas Gift (Kringle, Texas #1)
  • Christmas on Main Street (Santa’s Secret Helpers #1)
  • Snowed In (Christmas With A Billionaire Novella Collection)
  • The Sheriff's Christmas Angels (Texas Lawmen, #4)
  • A Lindstrom Christmas: Two Small-Town Holiday Romances (The Lindstroms, #1-2)
  • Mistletoe at Moonglow (Moonglow Christmas, #1)
  • Christmas Kisses
  • Merrily Ever After (Second Chance Fairy Tale Book 1)
  • Merry Me (Holiday Romance Novel, #1)
  • Coming Home to Glendale Hall (Glendale Hall, #1)
  • Pumpkin Everything (An Autumnboro Sweet Romance, #1)
  • Snowflakes at the Little Christmas Tree Farm: A cosy and uplifting Christmas romance
  • Texas Christmas Bride (The Gallaghers of Sweetgrass Springs #6)
  • A Sweet Montana Christmas (This Old House #2; A Marietta Christmas #6)
See similar books…
Kate is the USA Today-bsetselling author of many books of both historical and contemporary fiction. Under the name Katharine Swartz, she is the author of the Tales from Goswell books, a series of time-slip novels set in the village of Goswell.

She likes to read women's fiction, mystery and thrillers, as well as historical novels. She particularly enjoys reading about well-drawn characters and avoi

Other books in the series

Return to Willoughby Close (4 books)
  • Welcome Me to Willoughby Close (Return to Willoughby Close, #2)
  • Christmas at Willoughby Close (Return to Willoughby Close Book 3)
  • Remember Me at Willoughby Close (Return to Willoughby Close, #4)

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
35 likes · 8 comments