Friday, October 11, 2019

A Typical Family Christmas, by Liz Davies

Independently Published, September 2019

Kate wants a happy, stressfree, family Christmas.

Unfortunately, she has two teenage daughters, a son on the edge of being a teenager too, a husband who is stressed at work and thinks her part-time job plus three kids who need to be supervised, fed, and ferried everywhere is easy and stress-free, a mother-in-law who after twenty years still thinks Kate isn't good enough for her son and makes snide comments whenever she visits, and a mother who "hates Christmas." And who says so constantly at Christmas time.

Most years, only her mother-in-law comes for Christmas. This year, her mother his coming, too. And along with everything else, the two mothers hate each other.

Her mother-in-law, Helen, normally arrives on Christmas Eve, but her mother, Beverly, has decided that she will arrive five days early. When Helen finds out, of course, so does she.

And all of her family keep making more and more demands, and having tantrums when she can't deliver everything they want, exactly how they want it, exactly when they want it. Kate has reached her limit with being taken for granted and disrespected, but doesn't know what to do about it.

She loves her family, all of them. Well, maybe not Helen. But the rest of them. Yet she needs a break, and she needs some recognition and respect for all she does for the family, as well as for her "part-time job," that her husband dismisses, working in a charity shop, keeping it running and taking care of their customers. When one of their regulars, a homeless man she has tea with sometimes, suggests that she needs to take a few days and go to a seaside town, leaving her family to discover for themselves what she does to make the household run and make Christmas happen, initially she dismisses the idea as just too irresponsible. When things ramp up even further at home, though, she decides he's right.

This is a wonderful look at a family who really do all love each other, but who are taking each other, and especially Kate, for granted. Her husband, her children, her mother, her mother-in-law all have a lot to learn about how important Kate is to them--but Kate, also, needs to remember what she loves about them, and how important they are to her, despite all the hassles.

It's a tremendously engaging and satisfying story.

Enjoyable, and recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the publisher, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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