November 12, 2008
'Tis the Season!
'Tis The Season! by Lorna Landvik
Contemporary Fiction - Epistolary
2008 Ballantine Books
Finished on 11/2/08
Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)
Bestselling author Lorna Landvik shines in this delightful holiday novel of redemption and forgiveness.
Heiress Caroline Dixon has managed to alienate nearly everyone with her alcohol-fueled antics, which have also provided near-constant fodder for the poison-pen tabloids and their gossip-hungry readers. But like so many girls-behaving-badly, the twenty-six-year-old socialite gets her comeuppance, followed by a newfound attempt to live a saner existence, or at least one more firmly rooted in the real world.
As Caro tentatively begins atoning for past misdeeds, she reaches out to two wonderful people who years ago brought meaning to her life: her former nanny, Astrid Brevald, now living in Norway and Arizona dude ranch owner, Cyril Dale. While Astrid fondly remembers Caro as a special, sweet little girl left in her charge, Cyril recalls how he and his late wife were quite taken with the quick-witted teenager Caro had become when she spent a difficult period in her life at the ranch as her father was dying.
In a series of e-mail exchanges, Caro reveals the depth of her pain and the lengths she went to hide it. In turn, Astrid and Cyril share their own stories of challenging times and offer the unconditional support this young woman has never known. The correspondence leads to the promise of a reunion, just in time for Christmas. But the holiday brings unexpected revelations that change the way everyone sees themselves and one another.
At once heartfelt and witty, ’Tis the Season! bears good tidings of great joy about the human condition–that down and out doesn’t mean over and done, that the things we need most are closer than we know, and that the true measure of one’s worth rests in the boundless depths of the soul.
I don't usually read "holiday" books, but a couple of weeks ago, as I was helping set one of the Christmas tables at work, I spied the new Lorna Landvik book. The colorful cover caught my eye, so I flipped it open and discovered it's an epistolary. What perfect timing!! I had just set my new end cap and knew this would be the perfect eye-catching book to sit in the #1 position on the display. Of course, I really like to have read all the books I recommend, so I got a copy and brought it home to read as soon as I finished my current book.
What a treat!! I could have easily read it in an afternoon, but as life seems to go around here, I wound up reading it over the course of two days.
It's been a while since I've enjoyed one of Landvik's books (gave up on The Tall Pine Polka and haven't felt compelled to read The View from Mount Joy), but this is a winner! As with most epistolaries, the exchange of correspondences between multiple characters takes a bit of time settling into who's who. But once the characters were established, I quickly devoured the book. And, just in case you're not a fan of Christmas-type books, this spans five months prior to Christmas. I'm tempted to say it really isn't a holiday book at all. Just happens to conclude in December.
This is definitely a quick read, but it's also one of those feel-good books that we can all benefit from during this hectic and stressful time of year.
If I haven't been able to convince you, check out Lesa's review for more details. 'Tis the Season! won't wind up on my Top Ten for 2008, but I'm so glad I took the time to read it. Perfect brain candy after a couple of very long months!