Book Club: A Very Country Christmas

Author: Various (Fiona Greene, Alissa Callen, Rachael Johns, Juliet Madison, Victoria Purman)
ISBN: 9781489248244
RRP: $29.99
Publisher: Harlequin
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

A Very Country Christmas is a sweet little selection of Christmas treats from some talented Australian authors. Looking at the authors included I knew that I had to have this book, I may think it’s way too early for Christmas cheer but I couldn’t miss out.

Point to note going in, not all of these stories are brand new but possibly the first time they’ve been in print so still a little special.

I’m not sure if I want to review each story individually because it will make for a very long review, so maybe I will do mini reviews. Each story is a small town romance set in the Christmas season; our leads are damaged and definitely not looking for love and that’s about where the similarities end.

Under Christmas Stars by Alissa Callen is a brand new story set in the rural region of Woodlea and Reedy Creek. I was distracted for the first few chapters because the setting seemed familiar, and then I realised this is the same region as The Long Paddock and some of the same characters.

Freya George is a city girl who has taken on the teaching position at Reedy Creek school where she has fallen for the students, and the tiny town. A mishap with a truck sees her have to leave her accommodation for a while and is taken in by Drew Macgregor, a single farmer married to the family farm.

Woodlea and it’s residents has had a pretty big couple of years and could do with a happy holiday season, Freya loves the holidays and is determined to make it a memorable Christmas for everyone around her.

This is a sweet story of resilience and learning to give yourself a break. You can’t always go it alone and sometimes you just need to take a chance. It’s a story of small towns banding together to get through.

The story has great flow and pacing with just enough information on the characters to satisfy in a story of this length. I was interested and invested and would be interested to see if we get a glimpse of these characters again in Callen’s upcoming release The Red Dirt Road.

Home For Christmas by Fiona Greene is a story that is getting it’s first taste of print, and is the first work I have read by Fiona Greene. I love the premise, it’s a little bit quirky and was very well written. Greene covers a lot of ground in a story that comes in at a little over 100 pages, alright it’s 124 (ish) but it spans over 12 months. This seems like a lot in a short page count but Greene tackles it well and left me feeling quite satisfied with the story.

Layla Parsons comes from a military family and this is her first Christmas on her own; deciding which traditions to keep, which to adjust and which to allow to peter out. One tradition she kept was to send a Christmas gift to an Australian serviceman serving overseas, she changed it up a little and left contact details for the family business Bonsai Christmas, something her father never did.

Sergeant Tate McAuliffe wasn’t expecting a parcel at Christmas and he certainly wasn’t expecting to unwrap gifts that were impersonal but such a perfect match for him. The gift touched him and he felt compelled to send a thank you, sparking the beginning of an email conversation neither knew they were missing.

The Kissing Season by Rachael Johns is a story that I read and reviewed when it was first released back in 2013 so if you want to read my complete review I have linked it here.

Hannah Elliott is the only daughter, she’s also the only Elliott who wanted to expand horizons and get out of the small beachside town she grew up in. Her brothers remained in town; entering the family furniture business, finding life partners and settling down. Hannah travelled the world and has just returned with secrets bigger than the failed Vegas marriage. She is determined to start a new life; sedate, celibate and respectable but she wasn’t expecting to run into Matteo Della Bosca.

This is quite a sweet little romance that is focused as much on family as it is on romance. There is also a follow up from this story about the Elliott family called The Next Season which is available digitally.

12 Daves of Christmas by Juliet Madison is quirky and amusing with quite a different premise, and a completely new take on the 12 Days of Christmas song – which I ended up singing as I read each new line.

I don’t want to say too much because this one is sweet and funny, and could easily be spoiled.

Abby Solomon is a terminally single romance author who discovered her love of the genre through her grandmother, who has recently passed away. The story opens with Abby trying to meet her latest deadline, for which she is extremely behind, when a delivery of her grandmother’s romance collection arrives.

Deadline be damned, Abby sets off on a quest to find a very particular Dave and on her list are 12 Daves, all to be met starting from December the 1st. Will one of the Dave’s be the right one?

I laughed out loud in this one and it was a great read; light and fun but still with a serious side. Loved it and this is the first time the story has been available in print.

Christmas at Remarkable Bay by Victoria Purman is a brand new story set in the fictional South Australian beachside town of Remarkable Bay, the setting for The Three Miss Allens. The two stories are completely separate but there are a couple of cameo appearances by characters from The Three Miss Allens.

Mara is a teacher taking some time out over Christmas in Remarkable Bay, trying to avoid a burn out due to concern for a student.

George is a police officer house sitting for his partner, unused to a Christmas on his own but determined to do all he can for his partner.

A booking mix-up for Christmas lunch sees the two thrown together for an awkward lunch; and then in the way of small towns they run into one another regularly.

Christmas at Remarkable Bay is about two people who are totally invested in their jobs and sometimes maybe care a little too much. The story sees them work together to help a troubled teen and bring the magic of Christmas to all of them.

A Very Country Christmas is book #46 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2017.

A Very Country Christmas is published by Harlequin and is available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harlequin 20 of our Beauty and Lace Club members will be reading A Very Country Christmas so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

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