Christmas is now something of a distant memory, but I’d be failing in my duty – as I catch up on my outstanding reviews – if I didn’t tell you how wonderful this book was. While The Boys of Christmas by Jane Lovering is a perfect Christmas short read – at 108 pages, published for kindle by Choc Lit and available for just 99p – there’s absolutely no reason at all why you couldn’t enjoy it just as much in cold January or icy February.
Who are the boys of Christmas?
Mattie Arden has just escaped from a toxic relationship so when, a few days before Christmas, she receives a letter informing her that she has inherited a house from her great aunt Millie, it’s a welcome distraction.
Except it comes with a strange proviso: if Mattie wants the house, she must fulfil Millie’s last wish and scatter her ashes over ‘the boys of Christmas’.
In the company of her best friend Toby, Mattie sets out for the seaside village of Christmas Steepleton in the hope of finding out the meaning of her aunt’s bizarre request.
Whilst there, a snowstorm leaves them stranded for Christmas, and still no nearer to finding ‘the boys’. But as the weather gives Mattie time to reflect, she realises the answer to the mystery might have been under her nose all along –and that’s not the only thing …
I only have one complaint about this blooming smashing story – I would have liked it to be longer so I could spend more time in Christmas Steepleton with Mattie and her wonderful friend Toby. How about a “what happened next” for a future book, Jane? This is such lazy reviewing, but I’m going to share a few sentences from my review (over a year ago) of The Art of Christmas:
This whole story is so wonderfully written – such vivid descriptions , words perfectly chosen, crackling dialogue, and it’s also very, very funny. But it’s also excruciatingly sad – so much so that it almost hurts.
I just know I can’t find any better words to use for The Boys of Christmas. There’s the darkest of edges in the emotional abuse Mattie is fleeing from – quite chilling – but also one of the best slapstick scenes of revenge and comeuppance I’ve ever come across, laugh out loud funny and quite brilliantly done. It’s a great story, and I loved the snowbound sleuthing to solve the central mystery – and the wonderful relationship between Mattie and faithful friend Toby brought a tear to my eye, a smile to my face and an ache to my heart (yes, honest – all at the same time!). Jane Lovering is the queen of one-liners – but too much wise-cracking can be a strain, and she also has perfect judgement on when enough is enough, with a great instinct for the perfect balance between light and dark. The characters that Mattie and Toby meet are eccentric and superbly drawn, and the setting simply perfect – snowy Dorset, and a house quite perfect in its gothic detail. And as for the ending… ah, what an ending!
So original, so different, really enjoyable – a real thing of beauty, small and perfectly formed.
Yes, ok, I’ve said that before too… but I’ll say it again! This story was just gorgeous…