25 Days 'Til Christmas

Poppy Alexander has created a Christmas tale reminiscent of It’s A Wonderful Life in this heart-rending story of grief, struggle, hope, and grit.

Synopsis:

Kate Thompson is a war widow that is struggling with some heavy issues (grief, poverty, elder care, workplace concerns, and her son’s school issues). Can she find some purpose and hope in the 25 days leading up to Christmas in order to turn her life around?

Review:

Unpopular opinion and full-out honesty alert: I feel hoodwinked by this novel. Or at least by the publisher’s synopsis. The back of the book says “In this heartwarming, feel-good holiday novel, one woman needs to find a little inspiration in the 25 days leading up to Christmas to help her remember the magic of the season and the magic of falling in love.” I was expecting a corny, fluffy Hallmark-worthy Christmas movie in book form…

I’ll admit that, by the end, my heart was warmed. But there is no way that this is a “feel-good holiday novel” in the slightest! Poor Kate needs a whole new outlook on life after the death of her husband, her son is facing school troubles, they’re struggling with poverty, she’s paying out elder care for a dying woman, and her working conditions are horrendous. These are huge issues (that I feel were addressed with great compassion and realism) that really weigh down the mood of the book. She definitely – and understandably – needs more than “a little inspiration” to muddle through all of that to find the spirit of Christmas.

Perhaps with a more realistic set of expectations, I would have liked this book more. It really is full of heart and perseverance and hope. But the love story was such a slow burn, that halfway through, I’m not sure they’d even had a conversation yet. There was 90% struggle, and only the ending was uplifting.

Overall, an okay read. It plodded along, but had some really beautiful elements of grit and hope. I did chuckle and tear up at some parts, so points added for that. I think the meat of the story is solid, but it could have done with a bit more pep to live up to promises of the back cover blurb.

 
25 Days ‘Til Christmas
by Poppy Alexander
Paperback, 352 pages
Published October 8th 2019 by William Morrow Paperbacks

Summary

Poppy Alexander has created a Christmas tale reminiscent of It's A Wonderful Life in this heart rending story of grief, struggle, hope, and grit. It plodded along, but had some really beautiful elements. I did chuckle and tear up at some parts, so points added for that. I think the meat of the story is solid, but it could have done with a bit more pep to live up to promises of the back cover blurb. Overall, an okay read.

— Cassie
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