Fern Michaels returns to the blog today with a wonderful holiday story, full of healing and hope, and reminding me of a made for television holiday movie, in all the best ways. Please read on for my review of
Holly and Ivy
Holly is eleven years old, and it’s been just she and her father for as long as she can remember. She’s not allowed a radio, computer or the freedom that her friends have, and school is the only time she has to feel ‘normal’, well, as normal as she can. Her father is strict, and she can’t get any information from him about the why…why he won’t tell her about her mother, why he won’t let her sing or play music, why they rarely do anything together. She just wants a mum and to be more like the other girls in her class. Far more mature than her peers, her own home life is rigidly controlled and doesn’t allow for her input.
Ivy has spent the past eight years in mourning and as a recluse, rarely emerging for life. She retreated after the death of her husband and twins in a plane crash and she hasn’t ever found the mechanisms, or need, to move forward. Until now. Her father is wanting to retire, and is planning that she will take over the company and do something more with her life than hide away. She’s understandably freaked out, but this push may just be the key to her starting her life with more than a bottle for company.
With the unusual friendship and support the two have, there is a sense of two lost souls coming together – and when Holly’s father’s input: his closed-off and fearful approach to life, his often immature and reactive behaviors based in that fear come striding into the picture. This is more a story of three lives touched by tragedy that spun out of control onto paths that fed their fears and grief without actually dealing with or acknowledging those issues. There are moments of laughter in what is a somber topic, and the one step forward, three back progression for both Ivy and Daniel are clearly developed and presented. In the middle of all of the tumult is young Holly: not quite adult enough to understand the magnitude of the fears that constrain her father and new friend, but aware that life as she’s known is can’t be all that there is, and somehow, perhaps together they can find a path to a new ‘normal’. You’ll cry and cheer, get angry and worry for them all in this book, but as they find the light at the end of a very dark tunnel, they demand you want the best for them – and to find that light.
Fern Michaels is a master at creating broken characters that have hidden reserves of strength that only shine when they find someone who, whether realized or not, strike that chord of familiarity and need for their unique input. While Daniel and Ivy both have grief and heartbreak in lost family, their issues are similar, but in both of their desires to protect and provide Holly with more, their own fear-based needs seem to take a back seat as the struggle to move forward. Uplifting and emotional, this is a great story for the rejuvenation and hope tied to the holiday.
Title: Holly and Ivy
Author: Fern Michaels
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Holiday Themed
Published by: Kensington
Published on: 26 September, 2017
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 7 Hours: 1 minute
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In a heartwarming novel of secret wishes and family lost and found, acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Fern Michaels creates a timeless Christmas story to cherish . . . The flames of memory always seem to glow a little brighter during the holidays. Perhaps that s why this time of year is so difficult for airline heiress Ivy Macintosh, as she faces thoughts of yet another festive season alone. Since the plane crash that claimed the lives of her husband and two children eight years ago, she s been submerged in grief. When eleven-year-old Holly Greenwood knocks on her door, lost and frightened after a forbidden visit to her singing teacher, Ivy s self-imposed exile is shattered. Holly has an extraordinary voice, and wants nothing more than to perform in an upcoming Christmas musical. Holly s father, Daniel, doesn t allow music in their home, refusing to give a good reason why just as he refuses to talk about Holly s mother. Ivy has no idea how closely she and Daniel are linked by their tragic pasts, yet she s drawn to the warmth she senses beneath his gruff exterior. And as Christmas nears, their shared concern for Holly begins to draw Ivy back into the world again . . . and toward a family who may need her just as much as she needs 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.