Friday, November 13, 2015

Christmas at the Vicarage, by Rebecca Boxall

Lake Union Publishing, ISBN 9781503948402, November 2015

When publishers specify a font size in ebooks, so that the reader can't adjust it, it makes the book harder to read for many of their intended readers. Being able to adjust the font size is a significant reason to pick ebooks rather than print for many of us, and it's foolish for publishers to pointlessly make the book less readable.

I'm instituting a new policy of mentioning at the start of a review when a publisher, such as Lake Union in this case, does this, and pointlessly makes it harder for me to enjoy their books.

Rosamunde Pemberton, after fifteen years of travel abroad, returns home to Potter's Cove, the English coastal village where she grew up, in time for Christmas. Her father is still the vicar, Mrs. Garfield is still his housekeeper, and Rosamunde id finally ready to return to a more settled and home-oriented life.

It was a twice-broken heart that sent her traveling, and in alternating chapters, we get her painful earlier experiences, and her warm but sometimes confusing return home. Her father, Bernie, her sister, Rachel, and her best friend, Kizzie, are all still there. Kizzie is married and has children, as is Rachel. Kizzie's brother Benedict, who came out as gay a few years ago, is also still in the neighborhood.

And Rosamunde still has her memories of Stephen, her first love, whom she lost--twice.

The stories of the past and present are layered together, building our understanding of Rosamunde's past as she grows in understanding of her present, and takes the last few steps to real healing. Meanwhile, around her, everyone around her is moving forward, too, healing from old hurts and growing in love and understanding. It's a gentle, enjoyable book that leaves a warm glow.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.