Christmas Every Day by Beth Moran
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publishing Date: 17th September 2019
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 408
Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction
When Jenny inherits her estranged grandmother’s cottage in Sherwood Forest, she has nothing to lose – no money, no job, no friends, no family to speak of, and zero self-respect. Things can only get better…
Her grumpy, but decidedly handsome new neighbour, Mack, has a habit of bestowing unsolicited good deeds on her. And when Jenny is welcomed into a rather unusual book club, life seems to finally be getting more interesting.
Instead of reading, the members pledge to complete individual challenges before Christmas: from finding new love, learning to bake, to completing a daredevil bucket list. Jenny can’t resist joining in, and soon a year of friendship and laughter, tears and regrets unfolds in the most unexpected ways.
Warm, wise, funny and utterly uplifting, what one thing would you change in your life before Christmas comes around?
Jenny has though she has everything under control: her job, her private life, friends, family… That is, until her scheming twin sister gets engaged to Jenny’s “secret” boyfriend at the firm Christmas party, when it was Jenny who was actually expecting the proposal. Ouch. Jenny takes herself to Sherwood Forest – it is there her estranged grandmother left Jenny’s mother a house, and as she doesn’t need the it anymore, she gives it to Jenny. Full of plans and optimism, she turns out at her new place to find it not only in the middle of nowhere, but overgrown with brambles, hence impossible to enter. While trying to force the doors, she meets her neighbour Mack, reclusive, mysterious and very handsome.
After moving to Sherwood Forest, Jenny meets so many brilliant local people – yes, at the beginning some of them are rather sceptic, but quickly she gets drawn into their worlds and lives and becomes a part of their community. For example, the book club (I loved the meetings of the book club as you couldn’t foresee how they’re going to end every time, it was more like a challenge/unexpected situations club, the members of the club were hilarious and I couldn’t wait who’s going to choose the next book and what’s going to happen then.) Or starting a job as a nanny to 5 children, ha. However, Jenny’s biggest worry is getting the house cleaned and cleared, as she doesn’t want to sleep in the tub in the bathroom anymore, and solving the mystery of what Mack is doing, holed up in his house and always appearing on the scenes when Jenny needs help. I quickly guessed what it actually is that Mack does but it didn’t spoil the reveal of this in any way.
The characters had so much depth to them, they were so richly developed, allowing us the view to their lives. Jenny was brilliant. She was full of flaws, she was not perfect and she always kept losing her glasses – she simply felt real in all she did and said – as well as all the other characters. Sure, there were moments that some of their actions felt a bit caricatural but it worked in this book, this craziness was a part of it, of the characters and their world. Jenny’s strength of character and the way she really tried hard – after so many falls, after being held down by others, after being pushed to her limits once too many – were surprising, but it was a positive surprise. She was driven by kindness and loyalty and with the help of her new friends she was growing in confidence, blooming and opening up and facing all the challenges. I kept everything crossed for Jenny, everything, cheering her on the way to becoming New Jenny, to facing her fears and finding the courage for confrontations.
However, don’t be fooled by the Christmassy cover and title of the book, as Christmas itself doesn’t play a great part in this novel. There was only a small part set around Christmas but I think that the general message of this book is to simply make every single day of your life like Christmas, worthful and appreciated, encircle yourself with people that matter and have the courage for new things.
The story intermingle many humorous events and situations with some more poignant ones, and there was also this little mystery about who’s trying to force Jenny out of her house – there was not a single moments flat and I loved how unpredictable it was. One moment I was laughing out loud at the hilarity of the situation, the next I had a lump in my throat.
It was a deep, heartening and uplifting book with unforgettable characters, full of wisdom and lightness. Sometimes bittersweet, sometimes amusing and warming, altogether it was a book that I loved with all my heart and was incredibly sad to see the end of it. The characters in this novel were ones of the best I’ve ever come across in my books, no matter if as a group or a single person. The author has so brilliantly captured all the flaws and virtues and made each of them feel so unique, with all their ups and downs, problems, troubles and quirks, more or less usual hobbies and passions. I was so full of admiration to the way she has written Jenny, and really, she was so well describes, inside and outside that I was able not only to understand her feelings but could easily imagine every expression that she made, and some of her tips on child – minding will stay with me for ever. Shortly, I absolutely loved this book – the more I read the more invested I was. Jenny and the house both needed a clearance, and to be put together, and Jenny’s journey to discover who she really is, to find out more about her past is unputdownable.