Three years ago, I was a little bruised and battered – I’d lost my lovely dad in October, it was becoming obvious that everything wasn’t quite right with mum, and we were starting to dismantle the family home so she could move closer. Reading was so difficult – I just couldn’t manage a full book for a while, so I turned to short Christmas reads instead. And that’s when I first discovered the lovely writing of Sharon Booth. I read Baxter’s Christmas Wish, and I couldn’t have picked up anything more perfect – thoroughly gorgeous, and the cuddle I really needed (you’ll find my review here).
So when I heard that Sharon had published another “short” this Christmas – The Other Side of Christmas was published for kindle on 22nd September, just 99p – I immediately put in my pre-order, and was so looking forward to reading it. Would it warm the cockles of my heart the way Baxter did?
Katy’s driving home for Christmas – except an empty, cold caravan hardly seems like home, and it’s not feeling much like Christmas.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this: a few months ago she had her dream cottage, a loving fiance, and big plans for a perfect wedding. Now she’s in her car, travelling through the snow along dark, country lanes, heading towards a Christmas spent by herself, with nothing more to look forward to than a frozen turkey dinner and a box of Quality Street.
With her friends busy with their guests, her parents on a cruise, and her ex-fiance miles away, the only person Katy is expecting to see at all is Luke, the builder who has been working hard to transform Katy’s cottage before it goes up for sale on the other side of Christmas.
Arriving at last in the Holderness village of Weltringham, she’s disappointed to find both the cottage and the caravan in darkness, and Luke nowhere to be seen. It seems everyone in the world has abandoned her to her gloomy fate.
Is she doomed to have the worst festive season ever, or is someone about to save Katy’s Christmas?
After all, it is the time of miracles…
Just sometimes, a story is just as long as it needs to be. At 72 pages, this one is perhaps more a long short story than a novella, but I loved every moment.
Katy’s rather destined for a miserable, cold and lonely Christmas, when her life really should have turned out rather differently. Is there anything much sadder than a frozen turkey dinner for one? Unless it’s eating it in a cold down-at-heel caravan in the snow? The book tells us the story of everything that went before – all her hopes and dreams that turned to dust, the ex-fiance who showed his true colours, the wrong choices she made that led up to her lonely drive across the moors.
And didn’t her dad warn her? He’s such a wonderful character – that dour Yorkshireness, telling it straight, any airs and graces distinctly absent, balanced by the well-meaning interference of her lovely mum.
The Yorkshire setting is beautifully done, the cottage one that anyone would dream of living in, particularly when renovated by a builder who loves it every bit as much as Katy does. I really took her to my heart, and so wanted her to have some real happiness before the story’s end – and anyone who’s read the author’s books before will know that she never ever lets you down.
I thoroughly enjoyed this one – a thoroughly perfect Christmas read.
And finally, the really good news. There’s a new paperback available – Home for Christmas – with BOTH stories (Baxter’s Christmas Wish and The Other Side of Christmas), and a gorgeous Christmassy cover, for just £6.99: I bet you know someone who’d love to find it in their Christmas stocking!
About the author
Sharon Booth is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes uplifting women’s fiction — “love, laughter, and happy ever after”. Although a happy ending for her main characters is guaranteed, she makes them work for it!
Sharon grew up in the East Yorkshire town of Hessle, where her enduring love for all things Yorkshire was born. She now lives in Kingston-upon-Hull with her husband and their much-loved German Shepherd dog.
Since giving up her admin job at a medical practice, she spends a lot of time assuring her family of five children, assorted in-laws and hordes of grandchildren – not to mention a sceptical mother and a contrary hairdresser – that writing full-time IS a “proper” job and she HASN’T taken early retirement.
She has a love/hate relationship with chocolate, adores Doctor Who and Cary Grant movies, and admits to being shamefully prone to all-consuming crushes on fictional heroes.