Poppy Alexander comes to the blog today with a holiday-themed story, an elf costume and plenty of hope and heart in
25 Days ‘Til Christmas
Kate used to love Christmas, but after her husband was killed in Afghanistan, leaving her with their infant son Jack, it’s never been high on her list. Of course, with a young child, she wants to make the holiday special for him – but everything is conspiring against it, and it’s hard to get in the spirit with little money, a dank little flat, a job for a boss she despises who is regularly inappropriate, standing outside in the briefest of elf costumes freezing all of her bits off, and not seeing a chance for things to change. Gritty, honest and far less hopeful at the start than most holiday-themed stories, Kate is palpable and real, breathing in the corner and sharing her woes, worries and challenges. Her biggest challenge is Jack, her young son who is often easily overwhelmed, very excited about Christmas and has gained the ‘attention’ of the school administration – not in a good way. It’s not that Jack is difficult to manage or blatantly a discipline problem, and it’s clear that Kate would do all in her power to make him happy….but the school is trying to place him in an alternative school – little more than a box with punishment where students who are truly angry and acting out are close to running the show.
With no one to bounce her worries off, and her best friends wanting her to meet someone and move on, she’s feeling stuck without options, money or even prospects. But one man has seen her – Daniel who until the start of the year was caring for his sister with Down’s Syndrome and a heart condition after his parents’ deaths. He’s grieving and moving through life in a fog, only remembering the kindness that Kate showed to his sister, and his recognition of loss and grief in her eyes. From a warm hat to gloves and foot warmers, he drops little presents by in lieu of actually learning her name or talking much with her. And then there’s Jack. Like all children, he’s excited by Christmas and desperately wants an advent calendar with chocolate – an unintended and too pricey expense for a budget that already is stretched with heat, food and rent.
What emerges is a 25 day ‘to do’ list for the holidays, with chocolate coins and a knitted advent calendar kindly ‘gifted’ by an older woman who has offered Kate friendship, support, caring and a shoulder to cry on when she needs it. A lovely story grounded by the courage to hope for more, while every struggle feels like a mountain too hard to climb and the ordinary joy in the love between a mother and child. It allows Daniel to open up and try to work miracles for Kate “behind the scenes’ and the subtle (or not so) way that mothers in the school drop off queue form cliques and assumptions, feeling more confident and concerned with ‘appearing’ to be ‘generous’ to those who truly need kindness and understanding. A lovely story that will take you through the emotional gamut- from laughter to tears, all the while hoping that Daniel and Kate will see a light at the end of their struggles – and Jack finds as much joy in Christmas for years to come.
Title: 25 Days 'Til Christmas
Author: Poppy Alexander
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Holiday Themed, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: William Morrow
ISBN: 25 Days 'Til Christmas
Published on: 8 October, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 39 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible
A contemporary, emotional, but ultimately feel-good, festive up-lit novel for fans of Jenny Colgan, Debbie Johnson, and Holly Martin.
Kate Potter used to love Christmas. A few years ago she would have been wrapping her presents in September and baking mince pies on Halloween, counting down to the countdown to Christmas. But a few years ago, everything was different. That was before Kate's husband went away with the army and didn't come home. Now she can hardly stand December at all.
Kate's lonely. She doesn't think she's ready for romance, but she needs more than this, and her son Jack needs a Christmas to remember. What Kate needs is a Christmas miracle, and if there isn't one on its way, she'll just have to make her own.
So begins Kate's advent countdown to the best Christmas ever.
She has it all planned out, but you can't plan for the unexpected, and when the path of the loneliest woman in town crosses with that of the loneliest man, she just might find a way to save Christmas for all of them...
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.