A Life Of Discovery
One Day I’ll Fly Away by Nick Evetts is a poignant bittersweet contemporary novel that I enjoyed.
We follow a middle-aged man who is having a crisis of identity. He leaves his home and travels to the south west of England. We see a broken man who is transformed by kindness and compassion as a community figuratively nurses him back to health.
The fresh air of the Cornish landscape contrasts with the stifling urban landscape.
We are also privy to the life he left behind. We see a wife and two young children, struggling to cope without a husband and father.
Helping To Catch The Wind
The Lodge On Holly Road by Sheila Roberts is the most delightful contemporary festive offering. It is the sixth book in the Life In Icicle Falls series but can be read as a stand-alone.
This really is Christmas in a book. It is warm and welcoming with all the elements of Christmas – snow, cookies, gingerbread, Santa, trees and family. The reader can ‘see’ and experience a traditional Christmas as we enter the world of Icicle Falls for a few hours.
Christmas can be magical – but it can also be hard – we follow a single parent determined to give her two children an unforgettable time. Their wishes to Santa are not of monetary value but of flesh and blood. One wants a dog and the other wants a grandmother for Christmas – but where will we find those?
Two families are facing Christmas with empty seats around the table. We see how hard loss is – whether it was one or ten years ago. “It was spring when I lost George. I’d hear the birds singing and want to shoot them. I love birds.” We can ‘feel’ the pain and empathise with the character. Why does the world still continue when life as we know it, has shattered? “Every morning I wake up and ask myself, ‘Why get up?’ “ Life is hard alone. We need someone to share it with.
Merry Ex-Mas by Sheila Roberts is a charming, contemporary Christmas novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. It is the second book in the Life In Icicle Falls series but can be read as a stand-alone.
Christmas is a time for family. Family comes in all shapes and sizes, sometimes it includes ex’s, especially when there are grown up children involved. A wedding could potentially be very awkward until everyone realizes that A family pulls together.
Icicle Falls is a place of community. Even the reader feels included in the warm welcome. Strangers quickly become friends.
Various characters have differing skill sets and own shops within the town. The bakery is particularly appealing, especially at Christmas with all the festive treats.
It Takes A Village
A Gift Called Hope by Eva Jordan is a beautiful, poignant contemporary Christmas novel that will tug at your heart.
This is a study of a family and of grief from two years earlier. The family has fractured as each member retreats into themselves as they each process loss. There is no right or wrong way through grief, each journey is unique. Each must ravel their own pathway.
We mainly ‘see’ the loss as experienced through the mother’s eyes. Her arms are empty of her son, as she draws her grandson closer. In her own grief, she fails to see how others are suffering. She fails to see what was under her nose. Her memories are rose-tinted and not a true depiction.
Grief and guilt go hand in hand. Characters feel guilty for what they did or did not do.
There is a community atmosphere as characters offer support where they can. There is also a tense atmosphere at the school gates as mothers try to outdo others.