Not Just for Christmas by Alex Brown – A Book Review

image001Kitty Clarke has been in mourning for four years.

Ever since she lost her husband Ed, she’s been mourning him. She’s found solace in running The Spotted Pig Café in Tindledale and in her daughter Teddie. The pain has gotten easier to deal with but she still misses Ed something fierce but life continues on.

She remembered him in small ways. Every year in the run up to Christmas, she would light a candle at the war memorial in his honour. Ed had died during his last tour in Iraq but she missed him every day. He had never even seen their daughter who was just beginning to realize that her father would never come home.

She gets a surprise when she gets a call from Mack, Ed’s best friend, the best man at their wedding and the man who was with Ed when he died. Ed lost his life when a land mine had exploded and Mack had lost the lower half of his legs and was bound to a wheelchair.

Mack has a favour to ask. Ed’s service dog Monty has been retired from the force. Would Kitty be able to take him in and care for him? Monty lost an eye in the blast from the landmine and he walks with a limp.

Kitty’s heart goes out to the dog and she realizes that Monty is her last real connection to Ed so she agrees to take him in. Kitty has no idea how much that one act will change her life for the better…

I loved this book so much. Alex Brown manages to fit a full novels worth of happiness, heartbreak, joy and miracles in this novella. I am constantly amazed by her power with words. She writes such believable characters that I feel as if I know them when I’ve finished one of her books.

Kitty is a wonderful protagonist and her daughter Teddie is so adorable that I wanted to reach into the book and hug her. There is also a secondary protagonist, Taylor from Paws Pet Parlour in Tindledale where Kitty goes to get help with Monty.

Taylor and her mother live in a cottage that has become a wayward home for lost animals. Taylor knows that she has to do something to alleviate the strain on her mother and her home. Monty might just be the answer to her prayers.

She always tackles tough issues, blending the lines of women’s fiction until it is something different. Not everyone could write a tale of moving on, of finding love during the Christmas season and combine that alongside the ways that war affects those that are left behind and the plight of forgotten animals and make it work.

When I finished Not Just for Christmas, I was left with a feeling of hope and of happiness, of joy and cheer. Above all, I was left with a feeling of thankfulness that I had been through this story with the characters and all the folk in Tindledale.

I only with it was a real place. Well, you know what they say: sometimes, wishes do come true. Read this book and feel the magic of the Holiday season. It left me wanting to read the next Tindledale book!

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