Wednesday, December 21, 2016

A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Monroe

Title: A Lowcountry Christmas
Author: Mary Alice Monroe
Read by: Mary Alice Monroe
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: Approximately 5 hours and 46 minutes
Source: Simon & Schuster Audio Digital Review Copy – Thank-you!

A wounded veteran has returned from Afghanistan with wounds that no one can see – PTSD.  Taylor McClellan is struggling to make it now that he has returned to the U.S. and finally goes back home to Sullivan’s Island South Carolina to celebrate Christmas.  When he returns home, he discovers that his family is in dire straits.  His father is the captain of a shrimp boat that has been docked and he is struggling to find jobs to make ends meet.  His mother Jenny is trying to keep the family together.  Taylor’s young 10-year old brother, Miller, is having a particularly hard time.  Miller really wants one of his friend’s puppies for Christmas, Sandy Paws.  Sandy costs $300 and his father makes it clear that their family cannot afford Sandy for Christmas.  Instead Miller gets the return of his brother for Christmas.  A brother that spends all of this time in his room drinking.  As the McClellan family Christmas heads towards catastrophe, a special gift for Taylor might help to turn things around.  As disaster strikes, the family remembers what the most important things are for Christmas.

I really enjoyed this audiobook.  The story was very compelling.  I liked the look into the struggles of a wounded veteran and in particular the look into how service dogs can help people with PTSD.  I also loved 10-year old Miller’s story.  Miller is the same age as my oldest son.  As I would tell my family snippets of this book as I listened to it on my way home, the boys were quite intrigued with Miller’s story and his love of Sandy Paws.  I’ll admit that I wasn’t so sure about Mary Alice Monroe as the narrator when I first started listening to the book.  The story is told from three different narrators, Miller, Jenny, and Taylor.  I thought she nailed Miller and Jenny’s voices and characters, but I had a hard time with her as Taylor and kind of wanted a man in that role.  As I continued to listen to the book, it grew on my and Monroe’s voice for Taylor was Taylor.

I have not read any other books in the Lowcountry series and thought this book worked well as a stand-alone novel. In the Epilogue it did flash forward to Christmas 2015 (five years in the future of this book) to see where the McClellan family was at that point and to introduce new characters.  It intrigued me and made me want to find out more of Taylor’s story.  I definitely need to read more of this series!

I enjoyed how the start of each chapter had a quote from one of my favorite Christmas books – A Christmas Carol.  I also liked the recipes at the end of the book.

Overall, A Lowcountry Christmas had unforgettable characters, dogs, and the true meaning of Christmas wrapped up in a cozy tale.  I enjoyed this one and hope that you do to!


  1. Laura, I'm glad you enjoyed this audio book as a stand-alone novel. I like that it has quotations from A Christmas Carol as well as recipes at the end; it sounds like a wonderful book!

    1. Wishing you a very merry Christmas, Laura! :)

  2. It was a wonderful book - Merry Christmas to you as well!