Erin Green returns to the blog with a story from three women at three different stages of life, and how the holidays and hope make changes in their lives in
The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm
A small tree-growing operation, just named the “Best of Britain’ is the centerpoint of this story, and our three characters, Nina, Angie and Holly all have moments at the farm that will be pivotal in their lives moving forward. Starting with Nina, at 25 she’s been working at the farm since leaving school. Mired in grief after the loss of her father to MS a year ago, she’s stagnated and separated herself (even more than before) spending her days trudging to work and coming home to a house that hasn’t been changed (or cleaned) since her father left for hospice care. Moving to the little village as a child after her mother left, it was only Nina and her father against the world, and if it weren’t for her friends – and the constant admiration of Bram and Zach, the farm owner’s twin sons, one could easily see her as anti-social and reclusive. But she is holding her grief and anger tightly to her chest – using her work at the farm to stay busy and avoid the circling drain of her grief for her father.
Angie decided a year ago that her marriage of 18 years was stagnant and it was time to go. Packing two bags, moving out and essentially leaving her husband and now 17 year old son behind, all in an effort to ‘find herself’. Of the three characters, Angie at 40 something was my least favorite – she’s selfish, demanding and stroppy – and utterly unable to process the hurt and anger her actions caused, expecting that now she wants back home – her son and ex-husband will just welcome her with open arms. Uncoincidentally, Angie works with Nina’s long-disappeared mother – who has never made an attempt even some 20-ish years later to find her.
Lastly is Holly – the eldest of 6 girls, she’s being harassed by the ‘mean girls’ at school, and considers only one person truly a friend. Even though this friend, Demi, is fast and self-centered, prone to dropping Holly when a boy, or someone ‘better’ comes along. She’s trying to navigate her life at school, work a shift at the chemist’s and avoid situations that leave her no option but to go home and cry. When the cutest boy in school shows interest, and the two discover that they can talk to one another, a budding romance is started.
Using the season and a search for a ‘tree’ and holiday spirit, with three women who all want to find that one person who makes their stomach flip – these three move through the season incorporating minor and major changes, see growth and backsliding happen, and start to find a new way to face the world and their own choices as they move through the holiday. All three come into contact, as Holly is dating Angie’s son, and helping out at Christmas Tree Farm for extra pocket money – where she encounters Nina. I’m of two minds about this story – I disliked Angie intensely and completely understood Alfie’s frustration and anger with his mother. And Nina’s grief (and her slow realization that it was not healthy for her to stagnate, with a helping hand from the twins in clearing out her house – also helped to clear out, in small ways, her own path. And Holly, perhaps the most mature of the three – even with her age – observant and caring, she’s got most of the usual ‘teen’ angst, but her own experience with a houseful of sisters and two dedicated (if often run in 6 different directions) parents who obviously love and care for one another – she’s got the most solid view of relationships and the possibilities, helping to curb the worst of Alfie’s cynicism and hopelessness where love and relationships are concerned. There’s a ton going on here, and Green does a lovely job trying to build characters as they are and as they change and grow, opening themselves to revelations and possibilities – perhaps even to reach for their dreams.
Title: The Magic of Christmas Tree Farm
Author: Erin Green
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Holiday Themed, Romantic Elements, Setting: Britain
Published by: Aria
Published on: 4 September, 2018
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
The scent of pine fills the crisp air as local villagers select their perfect tree. Picking the tree is the easy bit, creating a perfect Christmas is a bit trickier...
Nina has the most magical job in the world, matching customers with their perfect Christmas tree. Working at Christmas Tree Farm is always fun and full of laughter but the weight of past tragedy bears down on her. Her admirer is a great distraction, but is he the right man for her?
Holly is just trying to be a normal teenager, having to deal with the mean girls in her class. But then the most handsome boy at school takes an interest in her. Have all her Christmases come at once?
Angie is trying to bring her family together and save her broken marriage. It's not something she can force, but it's the only gift she craves. Will her Christmas wish come true?
It's the season of goodwill, and at Christmas Tree Farm anything could happen...
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.