by Anne Marie Ryan
Publication Date September 27, 2021
Published by Penguin
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Genres: Fiction / Holidays, Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Women
"A heartfelt and lovely Christmas tale for book lovers everywhere!"--Jenny Colgan, author of The Bookshop on the Shore
In small-town England, two booksellers facing tough times decide to spread some Christmas cheer through the magic of anonymous book deliveries in this uplifting holiday tale for book lovers everywhere.
Nora and her husband, Simon, have run the beautiful oak-beamed book shop in their small British village for thirty years. But times are tough and the shop is under threat of closure--this Christmas season will really decide their fate. When an elderly man visits the store and buys the one book they've never been able to sell, saying it's the perfect gift for his sick grandson, it gives Nora an idea. She and Simon will send out books to those feeling down this Christmas. Maybe they can't save their bookstore, but at least they'll have one final chance to lift people's spirits through the power of reading.
After gathering nominations online, Nora and Simon quietly deliver books to six residents of the village in need of some festive cheer, including a single dad of twins who is working hard to make ends meet, a teenage boy grieving for his big sister, a local Member of Parliament who is battling depression, and a teacher who's newly retired and living on her own. As the town prepares for a white Christmas, the books begin to give the recipients hope, one by one. But with the future of the bookshop still up in the air, Nora and Simon will need a Christmas miracle--or perhaps a little help from the people whose lives they've touched--to find a happy ending of their own....
Christmas by the Book by Anne Marie Ryan is full of heart and Christmas Spirit. It’s everything I wanted in a Christmas book, as it’s about people, helping people, and learning how to give and accept help. The first few chapters I was sure I knew what this book was about, but then it turned and it became so much more than I expected.
Nora and Simon run a small bookshop set on the high street of a small village in the Costwolds. The bookshop used to belong to Nora’s late mother, and she grew up in the bookshop. When she met a fellow bookworm, it was fated that they both run the shop together. They raised their daughter Charlotte in the small town, where they ran the shop. Now, Charlotte is on her Gap year, traveling in Asia, and the bookshop is in trouble, and they may have to close the shop after the Christmas holidays.
I’ll be honest here, I requested Christmas by the Book, solely because of the cover, especially that cute dog on the cover. I expected a light, sweet story, but got so much more. It’s rare that a book exceeds expectations as much as this book did for me. I just loved the way the characters pitched in and really helped each other, even when they didn’t know each other very well, or at all. There are serious topics in this book, and they are dealt with in a serious and realistic way. Nobody gets a quick fix just in time for Christmas, but instead, they work together and find solutions to help each other and they all start to find hope and joy.
I will note that the first few chapters are a bit sad, and I just didn’t want to read an entire book about a couple struggling to save their shop with a miraculous solution at the very end of the book. But, after the first few chapters, we began to see the rest of the townsfolk and learn of their struggles and begin to see hope for the entire village. Nora and Simon learn that in order to save themselves, they have to save others first.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a holiday story that centers on helping others. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.