I have a great love of Christmas books and read a lot over Christmas. I may have just finished my last one last week. I have gotten behind with posting reviews with the business of the season. I’m hoping to catch up with blog posts over the next few days.
25 Days ‘Til Christmas was a fun book to receive and review. My book club, Rogue Book Club, was chosen by the TLC Book Tours Book Club Contest to all receive a free copy of the book. We handed it out in November and hoped to discuss it at our December meeting. Unfortunately, bad weather cancelled our meeting, but we did discuss it at our rescheduled meeting yesterday.
Kate Potter is a young widow trying to make ends meet in Bristol England. Her husband Tom died while serving in the military and she is stuck now in a dead-end job selling Christmas trees outside a store. She’s trying to keep Tom’s Grandmother in a nursing home as her health is failing and she has dementia, but Kate may not have the funds to keep her there. She wants to make Christmas special for her son Jack. Her friend gives her the idea to have special items to do each day of Advent as they count down until Christmas. Will Kate be able to have a Merry Christmas with Jack?
Daniel has lost her sister Zoe. She had Down Syndrome and a heart condition. After his parents’ death, he was her caregiver. He used to love to celebrate Christmas with her, but he now finds himself alone for the holidays. Daniel tries to keep himself busy by volunteering at a suicide help line. The holidays are always a busy time for the hotline. Daniel fondly remembers the Christmas tree girl from years past and is delighted to see her out again this year. Will he work up the nerve to talk to Christmas Tree Girl?
With the duel narratives it was easy to determine at the start of the story that Daniel and Kate would end up together, but it was interesting to see how the story would play out. It was a sad story for this time of year, but realistic. I was particularly drawn to the story line of Kate discovering Jack was autistic and trying to find a good school for him. The way it all works in England was different. One of my children was recently diagnosed with high functioning autism. Much of the description of Kate grappling with Jack, I have experienced as a mother. Suicide, depression, workplace harassment were just some of the themes covered in this book.
It was interesting in book club to see different people’s take on the book. It was called a “Hallmark Christmas” type book, but I pointed out that the dark themes had more depth than a typical Hallmark type book. Sure, there was a romance, but I find it interesting that even women are often dismissive of a book if they think it is a romance. It also provided interesting discussion about how kids are viewed from a parent or teacher point of view. I looked at it from the parent’s point of view with Kate and her autistic son while the teachers in book club looked at the story completely differently.
“She was a star too: cold, remote, distant, and lonely.”
“I love Christmas. It’s just like real life . . . only more exciting.”
Overall, 25 Days ‘Til Christmas was a surprising Christmas romance novel that took a deeper look at how Christmas can be a sad time of year for a lot of people for many reasons. I personally liked the look at how the main character dealt with her son’s autism.
Book Source: Harper Collins Publishers as part of the TLC Book Tours Book Club Contest. Thank-you!