25 Days ‘Til Christmas
by Poppy Alexander
25 Days ‘Til Christmas was nothing like what I expected. It’s much more complex than any other Christmas books I’ve read, dealing with some tough issues like depression, death, lonliness, suicide, and learning disorders.
In this story we read about Kate and Daniel, both living in Bristol, England, who are now suffering grief after loss. Kate’s husband (Tom) passed away after leaving for the army and she’s left to care for their young son (Jake) with little support. Daniel lost his sister (Zoe) due to a heart condition that was left untreated.
The holidays are a trigger for sadness and depression for many people, and Christmas is just another day–one that Kate would love to avoid altogether. Having Jake though, it seems obligatory to celebrate Christmas, and Kate wants him to be happy. The issue is that Kate’s depressed and misses her husband. Not only that, even though Kate works very hard selling Christmas trees and has some side work, she’s living paycheck to paycheck and consistently has to count pennies to be sure there’s enough food on the table. What she needs is to find a social connection, to get outside her comfort zone, and to get back to living life. With the help of a friend and by using an advent calendar, she makes an effort to do something Christmassy with Jack every day in December leading up to Christmas day. With new problems on the horizon, Kate isn’t sure she can manage all these struggles, and questions how anything can possibly work out.
Daniel’s story is also unfortunate. After losing his sister just under a year ago, he can’t stand the thought of spending this next Christmas without her. In his spare time he volunteers on a crisis helpline that assists people who are struggling with mental health issues–mainly suicidal thoughts. He genuinely wants to help others. Daniel strives to connect with someone he’s met in the past, someone he calls ‘The Christmas Tree Girl’, but he isn’t sure the best way to go about it.
I was invested in these characters from the very start. The story felt realistic and believable because every conflict faced by these characters is logical and part of everyday life for many of us. As much as I love the holidays, they always seem to evoke some sadness and depression in me due to lost loved ones, and that made the book feel relevant to me. My emotions were running high throughout.
The author’s writing is great, but the story was honestly somewhat of a slow burn for me; it was insufferable at times because it was so depressing. For once, I just wanted something to work out for Kate, Jake, and Daniel, and situations just seemed to gradually get worse. With that said, there were some happier parts within the story, and the final pages of the book left me totally satisfied, so I’m glad to have made it through. This book brought me down, but it also built me back up again. Even though the ending was rushed, it was lovely.
- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 8, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062958798
- ISBN-13: 978-0062958792
In this heartwarming, feel-good holiday novel, one woman needs to find a little inspiration in the 25 days leading up to Christmas to help her remember the magic of the season and the magic of falling in love—perfect for fans of Jenny Colgan and Josie Silver.
Kate Potter used to love Christmas. A few years ago, she would have been wrapping her presents in September and baking mince pies on Halloween, counting down the days and hours to Christmas. But that was before Kate’s husband left for the army and never came home. Now she can hardly stand December at all.
Kate can’t deny she’s lonely, yet she doesn’t think she’s ready for romance. She knows that her son, Jack, needs a Christmas to remember—just like Kate needs a miracle to help her finally move forward with her life. So she’s decided if there isn’t a miracle on its way, she’ll just have to make her own.
As Kate’s advent countdown to the best Christmas ever begins, she soon realizes that even with the best laid plans, you can’t plan for the unexpected. For when the path of the loneliest woman in town crosses with that of the loneliest man, these two destined hearts might find a way to save the holiday for both of them.
This is book #4 for the 20 Books For Christmas reading challenge. To see my progress, you can click the image below.
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