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Enchanting Christmas Story of Three Women at Major Crossroads in Their Lives
What a fantastic read! I read a lot, and I’ve rarely been so engaged with a book. I tend to read fast, but I do to choose some books to sip and savor. This is one of those.
The author has done an excellent job setting up a very complex story. It is told from the viewpoints of the three main women in the book: mother Maggie, older daughter Katie, and younger daughter Rosie. The whole book is kicked off when Rosie calls her mum in England from the United States, stating that she is now engaged and will be married at Christmas in Aspen. While her mother doesn’t mention her disappointment, the older woman had been planning for their big family Christmas that she does every year. We find out a little later why this is even more important to her this particular year. When older sister Katie finds out, she is determined to stop the wedding because she believes her sister is too impulsive and is making a mistake. The doubts Katie expresses in that first phone call shatter Rosie’s happiness, and now the bride-to-be is beginning to doubt herself, her relationship, and her actions. The women’s parents, Maggie and Nick, have been separated for a few months though their daughters don’t know about it. They decide, at Maggie’s insistence, that they will not let on about this development during the wedding preparation and the wedding. She doesn’t want anything to ruin her daughter’s big moment.
This setup is all done rather slowly, and we don’t learn all the details about everything for a while. Katie has her own secrets as well. It isn’t easy to see right away what has caused a rift between the parents as they seem to get along well for a couple who is divorcing.
I feel like I may have already given away too much. This is a complex tale of three women who are each at a crossroads in life, so each has her own story arc and lessons she needs to learn as the story moves forward. There are some wildly funny moments, like when the parents get off the plane in Denver, and Mum is very drunk when she meets the fiancé. She hates plane rides and drank a LOT of champagne during the flight. There are actually some emotionally gripping moments that will have you reaching for a tissue. The book kind of feels like a combination of chick lit and romance.
Now about some characters. I like Dan, the fiancé, because he just seems to be able to roll with anything that happens with his fiancée’s crazy English family. The older sister was harder to like. She is a very intense character, and even though she tries to be protective, she ends up being hurtful more often than not. I enjoyed seeing the way the relationship between Maggie and Nick—the girls’ parents—evolved during the course of the book. (I also love it when an older couple gets “screen time” in a book.) The author made what happened between them seem completely natural and fitting for their characters. I also liked watching the new relationship developing between the mothers of the couple. Both women have some trepidation on several fronts, but they soon become allies.
The story was in parts predictable, but the author made the characters so unique and individual that even if what happened was predictable, you still felt for the characters and saw it to be natural for their story. The setting of Aspen is well integrated into the story. It almost felt like another character. The author’s description painted a very vivid picture of what this city is like in the winter; I could feel the chill! I love it when a fiction book brings a little armchair travel into the picture. The fact that the story takes place around Christmas isn’t quite as well integrated as the setting, but you still get the sense that it is a Christmas story.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It brought all the feels. I highly recommended it.