It’s a real pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for The 12 Christmases of You & Me by Jennifer Joyce, and sharing my review: published for kindle on 20th October (free via Kindle Unlimited), it’s also available in paperback, and you can purchase both formats via Amazon in the UK and US. Thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the author for my advance reading copy.
Actually, I need to say another thank you to Rachel – she also said “I really like this author”, and that made it quite impossible to resist! It looked really fresh and different – romance, all the festive touches, but a bit of time travel too.
Let’s take a closer look…
What if you could go back in time and fix the biggest mistake of your life?
Two years ago, Maisie’s best friend walked out of her life and she hasn’t heard from him since. When she wakes up in 1994, she naturally assumes she’s dreaming. But when she finds herself in the past again the next night and her actions in the dream alter her present-day life, she begins to wonder if she’s somehow hopping back in time. And if she is time-travelling, can she save her friendship with Jonas?
When Maisie is forced to relive Christmases of the past, will she face up to her mistakes, or make them all over again?
The 12 Christmases of You & Me is a magical tale of friendship, first loves, and learning to live in the present.
Well, how lovely was this? I really did enjoy every moment. As her best friend Lily’s wedding approaches, Maisie’s getting increasingly het up about seeing Jonas again – they’ve had no contact for two years, and she bitterly regrets what she said and did that blew apart their relationship. Then one morning, she wakes up in 1994 – she thinks it’s a particularly vivid dream, until she finds a favourite photograph has changed because things happened a little differently this time. She returns again and again, to small and significant moments over the intervening years – and, despite everything she’s heard about the butterfly effect, she wonders if there might be a chance of putting right her one big mistake, and to restore her relationship with Jonas.
Maisie’s a quite wonderful character – immediately my very best friend – and something I particularly enjoyed was that, while reliving her experiences, she retains the perspective of a woman in her 30s with all her life experiences. The 90s was quite perfectly recreated – the music, the fashion, all sorts of contemporary and recognisable touches – and I really liked the fact that the time travel never became repetitive or metronomic, with differing lengths of stay both in the 90s and present day. The trigger for her return – the flash of a camera – was a really inspired idea, tying in so cleverly with the changing photos in her album. The shifts were excellent too – always with that awkward moment when she needs to work out where she is, who she’s with, and what’s going on at the time. She sometimes makes mistakes – references to things that haven’t happened yet, that she needs to find a way to cover up quickly before anyone notices.
The whole book is a paean to friendship – I loved Lily almost as much as I did Maisie, ridiculously over-the-top at times but the best friend you could ever hope for. And the way Maisie’s friendship with Jonas develops into something more – before everything goes very wrong – was really touching and entirely convincing and believable.
Is it Christmassy? Yes – and there are those obvious echoes of A Christmas Carol, and the quest for redemption. But I honestly think this is a book you could happily read at any time of year, and enjoy every bit as much. The writing is really excellent – I see Jennifer Joyce has already produced eight other novels (and I really like the look of them all!) as well as a three-part series, and I’m rather kicking myself that it’s taken me so long to discover her.
This book is simply gorgeous – very original, very funny, but really touching too, with the most heartwarming and uplifting conclusion you could possibly wish for. I really do recommend it most highly – I loved it.
About the author
Jennifer Joyce is a writer of romantic comedies who lives in Manchester with her husband and their two daughters. She’s been scribbling down bits of stories for as long as she can remember, graduating from a pen to a typewriter and then an electronic typewriter. And she felt like the bee’s knees typing on THAT. She now writes her books on a laptop (which has a proper delete button and everything).