The Christmas Menagerie by Minna Howard

The Christmas Menagerie by Minna Howard

This is part of the “catch up” reads that should have been posted before the holiday. It is no reflection on the stories or the books themselves, merely one of the many that got caught up in my life when things went crazy and posting slowed significantly.  My apologies to the authors and publishers: but there’s no rules that say you can’t experience the magic of the holiday season (or a good book) at any time. 


Minna Howard comes to the blog with a story of small towns and neighbours, along with a helping hand as a pet-sitter for newly arrived resident Amelia with  

The Christmas Menagerie 

Widowed only a year, Amelia moved herself and her daughters out of London for a ‘new start”, even as she misses her old life and her husband dearly. A teacher at the local school, she’s met several people, and while she’s planning a quiet ‘at home’ holiday with her two daughters out living their lives with their partners, she’s not really looking forward to it.  But a friend and single mum needed a place for her dog to stay over her own very needed holiday, and the story begins.  

New to the area veterinarian Jules and his young son have arrived in the small village and immediately shut down the local kennels.  This caused no end of consternation for the locals, most feeling that he ‘overstepped’ and him knowing that the established kennels had become too much for the elderly owners.  With no knowledge of pets, not having had any, and a worry that a hibernating tortoise was dead, Amelia needs Jules to explain and help her.  

This was a lovely story encompassing healing, growth, grief and pets: LOTS of pets, and Amelia’s good-hearted yet utterly clueless caretaking.  Bringing into focus the vet’s young son, his own struggles with his own losses, the expansive and wholly lovely family that Jules is staying with and the unexpected (and slightly early) return of Amelia’s daughters; each with their own news to share kept the story moving forward, and Amelia and Jules finding pathways to start a friendship that blossoms into a romance.  A light-hearted (on the surface) story that brings people, animals and hearts into focus.  

The Christmas Menagerie by Minna Howard

Title: The Christmas Menagerie
Author: Minna Howard
Genre: Animals, British, Comedic Elements, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Friendship, Holiday Themed, Humor elements, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain, Small Town
Published by: Aria
ISBN: 1789541581
Published on: 5 November, 2020
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 288
Rated: four-stars
Heat: One FlameOne Flame

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melia usually loves Christmas, but this year is her first one alone since her husband passed away – though she's not quite by herself. Somehow, she's been lumbered with a menagerie of pets over the holidays, no thanks to the new village vet closing the local kennels.

Between a parrot, two tortoises and god-knows-how-many baby mice, Amelia ends up seeing a lot more of Jules the vet than she planned to. And despite her neighbours' fury for the man who shut down a local institution, she can't help enjoying every moment she spends with Jules.

She tells herself it doesn't really matter as surely Jules will be driven out of the village by this time next year. But as Amelia's about to discover... isn't just for Christmas!

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.




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