Not Just for Christmas by Alex Brown
Publishing Date: 3rd November 2016
Source: Copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 88
Genre: General Fiction, Women’s Fiction
Buy the Book: Kindle
Kitty, who runs the Spotted Pig Tea-rooms in the picturesque village of Tindledale, thinks she’s come to terms with her husband Ed’s death on active duty. When she learns that Ed’s army dog, a black Labrador named Monty, is being retired and needs rehoming, it awakens her heartache once more.
Amber runs the pet parlour, but her love of dogs extends to rescuing abandoned pooches and now her tiny cottage is overflowing with homeless hounds. The only answer is to open a proper rescue centre but where will the money come from?
Kitty knows she could never take on Monty – it would be too painful, but with more than one dog needing a home this Christmas, is a miracle too much to hope for
To be totally honest, when I read what the story is going to be about, I was not sure if I want to read it – those of you who follow my reviews already know that when there are animals in the book, there are tears from me, no matter if it’s a happy or a sad story – it’s just guaranteed. I am a very sensible person, I love animals and only reading and imagining all the situations makes me cry crocodile tears. And heck, Alex Brown herself promised me on Twitter once that I am for sure going to cry when reading “Not Only for Christmas”! But then I thought, oh well, it’s Alex Brown, and I love her and her beautiful stories so much and yes, I am going to read this short story, no matter how many tears involved. So there.
I read this novella in under two hours – firstly, it is – yes, you’ve guessed – short, secondly, I didn’t want to put it down for a single second, because I loved it from the start to the end. It was poignant, it was so incredibly touching, it had a lot of depth and it had some very important messages. And it took place in Tindledale, probably the most gorgeous and sweet fictional place in the world! And Alex Brown can write animals, oh boy – there were so many feelings in each and every word!
We know Kitty, the main characters in this story, from the previous Tindledale books – she’s the one running The Spotted Pig Cafe. She’s a single mum to Teddie – Ed, her husband, was a soldier and died during one of his last assignment. Kitty is trying to come to terms with her loss and on the surface it looks like she’s adapted to the new situation, but deep under you could see that it’s not easy to her, not at all, she has dreamt about a happy life with her family. She’s also severed the contacts with people who could remind her of Ed, and Mack is one of them – he was Ed’s best friend. So it is a great surprise when Mack calls Kitty – something happened. And this “something” is Monty, Ed’s old dog, who has retired and is in a need of a forever home. Will Kitty be able to look at Monty without thinking about Ed? Will it be too much for her and for her little girl?
The storyline was beautiful, so very emotional, moving and uplifting and I adored the end! We get a glimpse of some of the already beloved characters living in Tindledale, especially Taylor, and many of the others are mentioned, and it leaves such a great, warm feeling inside you because you feel that those are your old friends being mentioned, not forgotten. Thanks to Alex Brown’s wonderful writing I immediately felt at home when started reading and very quickly the story just worked its way to my heart. A lovely festive novella about love, grief and second chances – I absolutely loved it, with it bringing happiness, heartbreak and hope. Alex Brown writes in such a realistic way and she brings the characters – both those with two and four feet – to life so easily and effortlessly. She is never afraid to write about important issues, about things that we should never forget and yet make the book entertaining and full chick – lit, and hats off to her for pulling it off. I am so thankful to her for writing this story, which shows what is really important, and for making Monty and other animals the centre point of it – thank you, Alex!