Released: October 2014
A family Christmas tale is most certainly what this recent novel from Katie Flynn is, in all senses of the word. Jimmy and Mo Trewin have lost their mother, and have little hope of seeing their father again after his long-term departure upon the seven seas. They barely survive under the supervision of Mrs Huxtable their cruel care taker, and her crueller son Cyril. That is until they chance upon the foundling that is Miss Glenys Trent, recently made redundant from her teaching job. Together they embark upon a testing journey to search for the relatives they are missing,
The plot in the first half of the book moves along at a good pace, with just enough twists and turns and obstacles thrown up to keep things interesting. The discovery of Jimmy and Mo’s maternal grandparents and their father only half way through the novel was surprising; I had been expecting the search to take up the entirety of the three hundred and eighty odd pages. We see little of the Huxtables again and their early importance dwindles to a mere blight on the memory of the Trewin children, chiefly Mo who retains her fear of her old nemeses.
The second half of the novel moves at more of a dawdle, reflecting the slow pace of life at the farm where Glenys and the Trewin children settle with their grandparents and father, Sam, who has reappeared from his stint upon the high seas. The storyline becomes slightly more predictable in the latter half of the book. The obvious antagonism between Sam and Glenys can mean only one thing, and the novel ends with the foreseeable marriage of the pair, and Glenys’ promise to provide the children with a proper family Christmas at last.
Flynn’s novel is a pleasant enough read and is essentially a tale of good versus evil enveloped in Christmassy wrapping paper, no doubt in an effort to shift a few more copies in the run up to the festive season. There’s nothing challenging here though and the book is a bit of an effort to plough through. If you’re looking for a nice story with a happy ending to read while devouring a mince pie, give it a try. If you’re looking for something that your mind can devour, and makes you forget about the mince pie, then donate this to your Gran and give something else a bash.