‘A Merry Little Christmas’ by Julia Williams

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“With four children, a Christmas cookbook to write, and her mum suffering from dementia, Cat Tinsall has plenty to juggle. When her eldest daughter, Mel, starts going off the rails, Cat has even more on her plate. Pippa Holliday adores her family, although often finds her hands full. When Dan is involved in a terrible accident, Pippa’s world is suddenly turned upside down. Balancing her job as a school teacher with twins and her step-son Steven isn’t easy for Marianne North. With her husband’s ex causing trouble, life is getting even trickier. As Cat, Pippa and Marianne help each other through a difficult year, they’re all hoping for a much brighter Christmas.”

Published by AVON, 25 October 2012

RRP £5.59

Review by Anita Hunt

This is the story of three families who live in the village of ‘Hope Christmas’. Over the time span of one year we get involved in the drama, the happiness and the sorrow of each of their lives and, as is usual for this genre of book, there is a lot of sorrow that has to be surmounted.

I found the story to be quite easy going. I found myself wanting to find out where the characters were going and how they were going to sort out their situations. I did however find it rather unbelievable in places, particularly in the amount of care that Pippa’s daughter Lucy was portrayed to require. In my experience people with Cystic Fibrosis can usually talk and walk, the severity of disability described here is more suited to a condition like Cerebral Palsy. The situation of withdrawal of funding is all too true in today’s society however and it is good to see it tackled in this way.

In the beginning I also found the sheer amount of characters to be confusing as to who belonged to which family. Once this was sorted I did find it to be a warm and enjoyable read with characters that I cared about and found myself willing them to overcome their obstacles. I’m still wondering where Michael-the bringer of all tidings and information-really fits into the story but for you to find out you will have to read it, won’t you?

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