I’m delighted today to share my review of Christmas with Cary, the third novella in the Home for Christmas series by Sharon Booth: published for kindle on 2nd November, the copy I read was my own, preordered and purchased from Amazon.
Knowing Sharon, I’m sure it won’t be long until the paperback’s available too. But if you’re a kindle reader, and you haven’t already read the other two books in the series, why not download them all? They’re just 99p each, and I can guarantee a few hours of Christmassy reading pleasure for less than a posh cup of coffee (and if you have Kindle Unlimited, they’re all available for free!). I’ve mentioned before that the first in this lovely series, Baxter’s Christmas Wish, saw me through a particularly bad time after the loss of my dad (but I promise you don’t need to be in the midst of trauma to enjoy it as much as I did!) – you’ll find my review here. And last December I thoroughly enjoyed The Other Side of Christmas too – one of those perfect shorter Christmas reads – and you’ll find that review here. So you can imagine how very much I was looking forward to this one…
You never forget your first love.
Molly’s spent every Christmas she can remember surrounded by her family. But this year is different. This year, Molly’s all alone in a strange town. She’s left her family behind, and she’s not sure where she can call home any longer.
All Molly has with her are a few clothes in a suitcase, and a collection of her old friend’s Cary Grant films. Except, there’s one more thing she’s brought along – the whole reason for her Christmas visit.
In her possession is a small, crumpled piece of paper, and on it is written the address of the love of her life.
Molly and Cary have had many chances over the years, but somehow life kept getting in the way and they always ended up apart once more. Yet Molly has never forgotten the first man she gave her heart to, and now she has one last chance to win him back.
But will Cary welcome her home, or will he tell her what she dreads to hear – that they’ve had their chance, and it’s all too late. That’s if she can even find him…
A lovely, festive story about hope, forgiveness, and never giving up on love – however long it takes.
At 57, Molly looks back at a life full of wrong choices and missed opportunities – but at long last, she’s found the courage to try and change things, with one last brave and desperate attempt to put things right. That’s how she finds herself alone in a snowy East Yorkshire village as Christmas approaches, hoping that she hasn’t left it too late to turn her life around, to find the love of her life, and to have one last chance at happiness.
Bravery is something that’s always eluded her – she’s lost it along the way, trapped in a loveless marriage, with a husband and son who’ve made her feel worthless and incapable of making life decisions of her own, and a mother who’s failed her too. And when her hopes are dashed once again, and it looks like she’s destined to spend a lonely Christmas, she has plenty of time to reflect on all those moments when her life could have changed course – while working her way through a dear old friend’s collection of Cary Grant movies, with bitter regret at the way she’s allowed her life to come to this.
But the village of Ferringham slowly works its magic – as the snow falls, and she finally finds the courage to light the log burner in her rented bungalow, she tentatively begins to make new friends, and to experience the kindness of strangers. She has a small Christmas tree with sparkling lights, she has some company, she plans her own kind of Christmas dinner and rediscovers her love of baking: she still yearns for the relationship she allowed to slip away, but there’s always a faint glimmer of hope. And maybe Ferringham will be the key to a different future, somewhere she can be happy – even if a life with Cary remains out of her grasp.
But then… and no, of course I’m not going to tell you any more. But I do have to tell you how very much I loved this book. At times it’s sad and poignant, and some of those key moments in Molly’s life will bring a tear to your eye as they did to mine – I really loved her, and every time she hurt I felt it so deeply too. But it’s also wonderfully uplifting and joyous, gloriously Christmassy, overflowing with love – and those tears of frustration about Molly’s every disappointment turn into tears of real joy.
Sharon Booth is a really superb storyteller. All the characters in this book are beautifully drawn, real and believable, as is every emotional touch – and the village setting is wonderful in every little detail. I loved the way the chapters were tied in with the films she watched – not in the least contrived, and really cleverly done – as Molly reflects on all those pivotal moments when she could have changed the course of her life, while pursuing the possibility of a brighter future.
It might be a shorter read at just under 180 pages, but the story has all the depth and development you could possibly hope for – I thought it was simply perfect, and absolutely everything I wanted it to be. Without question, this was one of my favourite Christmas reads this year – don’t miss it, whatever you do, because you’re going to love it too.
About the author
Sharon Booth writes uplifting women’s fiction — love, laughter, and happy ever after. Happy endings are guaranteed for her main characters, though she likes to make them work for it. Sharon is a full-time writer, a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, and an Authorpreneur member of the Alliance of Independent Authors.
She has a love/hate relationship with sugar (she loves it, it hates her), is devoted to Doctor Who and adores Cary Grant movies.
Sharon grew up in the East Riding of Yorkshire, and the Yorkshire coast and countryside feature strongly in her novels.
If you love stories with beautiful Yorkshire settings, lots of humour, romance and friendship, gorgeous, kind heroes, and heroines who have far more important things on their minds than buying shoes, then you will love her books.