(Note: A Snow Garden will be published on the 5th November. I got a free advanced proof copy from work.)
After enjoying Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, I was incredibly excited to read her latest work. It comes out next week and is a series of interconnected short stories set around Christmas time. As you will know if you regularly read my blog or watch my Booktube channel, I love interconnected short stories. I also like Christmas and I also like Rachel Joyce, so this was a pretty good combination. And yes, I do realise it is a little too early for Christmas books. But no, I do not care.
The book features seven stories (‘A Faraway Smell of Lemon’, ‘The Marriage Manual’, ‘Christmas Day at the Airport’, ‘The Boxing Day Ball’, ‘A Snow Garden’, ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’, and ‘Trees’). They span in time from the week before Christmas until New Years’ Eve (with one brief jump back to the 1960s). We visit a wide range of memorable characters across the festive season – a middle-aged women reeling from a break up – a twelve-year-old boy who wants a dress for Christmas – a father trying to patch things up with his sons after a divorce – a new pop star not quite coping with his fame – an old man with regrets – and even a brief appearance of Harold and Maureen from Harold Fry. Each story is subtly linked to the other stories in the collection; characters crop up as passer-by’s in other stories, or a song or a Christmas card will tie them together. I loved this aspect of the book. It’s like Love Actually in book form – but a bit deeper and even better.