#BookReview ~ Away For Christmas by Jan Ruth @JanRuthAuthor #Novella

Jonathan Jones has written a novel. Losing his job a few days before Christmas means the pressure is on for his book to become a bestseller, but when his partner drops her own bombshell, the festive holiday looks set to be a disaster.
When he’s bequeathed a failing bookshop in their seaside town, it seems that some of his prayers have been answered, but his publishing company turn out to be not what they seem, and when his ex-wife suddenly declares her romantic intent, another Christmas looks set to be complicated.
Is everything lost, or can the true meaning of words, a dog called Frodo, and the sheer magic of Christmas be enough to save Jonathan’s book, and his skin?

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About the Author

The real story began at school, with prizes for short stories and poetry. She failed all things mathematical and scientific, and to this day struggles to make sense of anything numerical.

Her first novel – written in 1986 – attracted the attention of an agent who was trying to set up her own company, Love Stories Ltd. It was a project aiming to champion those books of substance which contained a romantic element but were perhaps directed towards the more mature reader and consistently fell through the net in traditional publishing. Sadly, the project failed to get the right financial backing.

Many years later Jan’s second novel, Wild Water, was taken on by Jane Judd, literary agent. Judd was a huge inspiration, but the book failed to find the right niche with a publisher. It didn’t fall into a specific category and, narrated mostly from the male viewpoint, it was considered out of genre for most publishers and too much of a risk.

Amazon changed the face of the industry with the advent of self-publishing; opening up the market for readers to decide the fate of those previously spurned novels. Jan went on to successfully publish several works of fiction and short story collections and after a brief partnership with Accent Press in 2015, has returned to the freedom of independent publishing.

Jan writes contemporary fiction about the darker side of the family dynamic with a generous helping of humour, horses and dogs. Her books blend the serenity of rural life with the headaches of city business, exploring the endless complexities of relationships.

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My Review

I have spotted this novella on several fellow bloggers sites and it has such an appealing cover and content that seemed ideal for a book lover like me, so I rapidly downloaded it onto my Kindle. It’s only relatively short, just over 100 pages but it crams in a huge amount of detail.

As it’s only days away from Christmas it suited my need for something brief and easy to read while my concentration levels are low. 

Stuck in a rut of going away with friends for the festive season Jonathan has more on his mind this year after quitting his job! I took an instant dislike to this guy, he is a wannabe author who puts his writing before everything else including work, relationships and friends. I could admire his determination to make it in the book world and almost felt like encouraging him until he slags off bloggers/reviewers, that really got my back up! How dare he .. for reference if anyone treated me like that their book would go to the bottom of the pile to be read and stay there!

Anyway, time moves on and he realises that publishing a book isn’t quite as straightforward as he anticipated. He has a lot of influences from Catherine, his partner and Denise the ex-wife who both seem intent on romantic notions which just complicates his life even more. In a very complex situation he ‘inherits’ a book store and that is where my love of the story comes to the forefront. I could visualise this run-down, tired store, on the seafront. The battering it takes from the weather and lack of stock, community and care. Can Jonathan do his utmost and turn it into a haven for readers and visitors?

I really like the intricacies involved so that the story swings from a frustrated author, to the frolics of Christmas, to the darker side of dementia then to the quirky teenage mind of his daughter Lizzie. She was probably my favourite character in the entire book. So nice to see a youngster with her head screwed on wanting to do the right thing in the world.

As I said previously there is a LOT of drama between these pages and Jan Ruth has captured a segment of life in Wales that will appeal to lovers of family Christmas tales, filled with charm, warmth and hope .. oh and just to add to the delight a gorgeous mutt called Frodo.

I’m glad I spotted this book and gave it a chance, a highly entertaining, enjoyable read.

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