Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Christmas Women by Elyse Douglas, Book Review

Book Summary:(Per Amazon summary)
When 38-year old Trudie Parks learns that her high school drama teacher is seriously ill, she immediately contacts her two best friends in high school, Kristen and Mary Ann. Together, they’d been known as “The Christmas Girls.” They’d produced and starred in the annual high school Christmas show, which their teacher, Mrs. Childs, had directed. Determined to show their love for Mrs. Childs, they plan a 20-year reunion to recreate the Christmas show for her. What they don’t anticipate is the complicated emotions this provokes, as former sweethearts appear and rekindle romance, painful memories and the sting of unrealized dreams. All three women must reassess their lives and their friendships, while struggling to produce the show, even while Mrs. Childs seems to grow weaker by the day. As Christmas Eve approaches, The Christmas Women prepare for an event that will take them and the audience to the farthest reaches of the human heart and resonate throughout the rest of their lives.

My Thoughts:
I loved this book.  I waited a bit to read it because I wanted to read it during the Christmas time and I am so glad I did!  While this would be a great read anytime of the year it was fantastic to read it and enjoy the bits about Christmas plays, carols, the spirit moving everyone to help others, etc.

The three women were extremely easy to relate to.  They all had regrets or thoughts that I think all women reflect on, even men perhaps, as they reach different parts of their life.  What ifs, if onlys, etc. as we see our life go one way or the other.  I loved the struggle that each character faced within family, friends and their past as they worked to move past it to get to where they wanted to be and to help someone they admired and loved from their past.  Mrs. Childs..oh my goodness what a wonderful character and fully developed part of the story.  Everyone should be so lucky to have a teacher who has that type of impact on during and after school.

My least favorite woman was Kristen and the reason is because the writing and development of her character was so on point that I just wanted to kick her.  I mean not making up her mind, being selfish, etc. seemed to be her mo the ENTIRE story...not just high school, but then she finds a way to make me like even her at the end of the story.  Seriously though the route she takes in this story is so convoluted and I loved it. I went from not liking her to liking her to hating her to loving her to only liking her!  No other character had me so torn about my opinion on them.

The men of this story..oh the men...how fantastic was it that these men were realistic and not over the top.  They helped make this story feel like it could happen and that the everyday romance and love could exist.  My favorite was how all the men found a way to address what went wrong or where everyone veered in high school to fix the relationships.  Jon and his role in this story was complex and made him one of my favorites.  At times I laughed at his audacity, gasped at his callousness, cringed when I thought he responded a certain way to Trudie near the end and wanted to applaud when he helped make the ending of this book so fantastic.

This was an easy and immensely enjoyable read.  I did read it in one night, but it also has impressed me with how often I have thought about the main story, the side stories and its characters since I finished it a few days ago.  I would recommend this book and author to anyone looking for a light holiday read.

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Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

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