Lovely Jan Ruth’s Wild Water series of books have been on my TBR far too long so when Jan told me she had a new novella, Away for Christmas, coming out I thought it was high time I gave Jan’s writing a go. I’m so pleased I did and you can read my review below. Thanks so much Jan for the opportunity to read Away for Christmas in return for an honest review.
Published on 13th November 2017, Away for Christmas is available for purchase here.
Away for Christmas
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?
My Review of Away for Christmas
Jonathan thinks losing his job just before Christmas is pretty bad news. Little does he know there’s much more to come.
Away for Christmas was not what I was expecting. I had anticipated a chick-lit style cosy romance, but although there are some of those elements present, they are minimal in comparison to what is a fascinating insight into being an author and a masterclass in characterisation.
I think it shows how well Jan Ruth writes that I hated Jonathan throughout and yet was still totally absorbed in the narrative. I found Jonathan self-absorbed, delusional and deserving of a really good shake. His attitude to bloggers riled me and his naivety in dealing with his publisher astounded me and yet he was completely believable and real so that he had my full attention throughout and even managed to redeem himself. In fact, I’ve just realised I’ve commented on him as a real person rather than a creation of Jan Ruth which illustrates how convincing a person he is!
Although I think it’s the characters that make Away for Christmas so successful, I was impressed too because although Away for Christmas is a novella, the plot is satisfying and well developed, giving plenty to think about in family and social dynamics, relationships and the way we find our place in the world, making the read both interesting and absorbing.
However, having enjoyed Away for Christmas as a highly entertaining story, I’d love to see it used as a training manual for aspiring and unpublished authors so that they don’t make the same mistakes as Jonathan and instead actually have a flying start in the publishing world. Great stuff!
About Jan Ruth
Jan Ruth’s real writing 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.
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 serenities of rural life with the headaches of city business, exploring the endless complexities of relationships.