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  • A Fabulous Christmastime Read

    A dark, stark and emotional Christmas story, but nonetheless, extremely fascinating. This book was always going to be a winner for me with it's Christmas-themed synopsis that sounded a little different from the other books in the genre. '25 Days 'til Christmas' by Poppy Alexander made perfect reading for me as someone who enjoys the odd Christmas novel. Single mother, Kate Potter, is trying to do right by her son, Jack. She is living on the breadline, even though she has a job selling Christmas trees, and their poky little flat is always freezing cold. She lost her husband, Tom - a soldier in Afghanistan until four years ago - and she has not yet come to terms with his passing. Chartered surveyor Daniel has recently lost his Down's Syndrome sister, Zoe, and is consumed with grief. He and Zoe used to buy their tree from Kate, so he and Kate know each other in passing, and a lonely Daniel feels an emotional connection, referring to her as The Christmas Tree Girl. Lonely Kate doesn't think she's ready for romance, but she needs more than she currently has, and her son Jack needs a Christmas to remember. Kate is due a Christmas miracle, and so begins Kate's advent countdown to the best Christmas ever. Set in the Set in Bristol in the run-up to Christmas, this was a wonderful standalone read that brought no disappointments. The opening chapters drew me into the story and captured my attention immediately. Poppy Alexander's writing style is very natural, with a good steady pace and she has done a sterling job of marrying a traditional Christmassy book with several current, poignant and hard hitting topics: exploring loss, austerity, loneliness, poverty, and supporting local businesses. This is a heartrending tale, lifted by a strong sense of community, and seeing Kate's woes gradually diminishing. Whilst this is not in any way escapist or an amusing story, it is still tremendously engaging and delightful to read. A fabulous Christmastime read that I am delighted to recommend. I received a complimentary copy of this novel, at my request, from Orion via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

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