Also by this author: Beach House for Rent, Beach House Reunion (Beach House #5), On Ocean Boulevard
Series: Lowcountry Summer #5
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio, Gallery Books on October 25th 2016
Genres: Literary Fiction
FTC disclaimer applies, please visit 'About' page
A wounded warrior and his younger brother discover the true meaning of Christmas in this timeless story of family bonds.
As far as ten-year-old Miller McClellan is concerned, it’s the worst Christmas ever. His father’s shrimp boat is docked, his mother is working two jobs, and with finances strained, Miller is told they can’t afford the dog he desperately wants. “Your brother’s return from war is our family’s gift,” his parents tell him. But when Taylor returns with PTSD, family strains darken the holidays.
Then Taylor’s service dog arrives—a large black Labrador/Great Dane named Thor. His brother even got the dog! When Miller goes out on Christmas Eve with his father’s axe, determined to get his family the tree they can't afford, he takes the dog for company—but accidentally winds up lost in the wild forest. The splintered family must come together to rediscover their strengths, family bond, and the true meaning of Christmas.
#SouthCarolinaLowcountry #PTSD #ServiceDog #XOXpertsReview #Giveaway @maryalicemonroe @XOXOAfterDark @simonschuster
This week I’m using my post to review an ARC we received and which I also listened to on audio. To start off the season of family bonding and giving, I’m also giving away a hard copy of A Lowcountry Christmas by author Mary Alice Monroe, so if you can’t wait to read this book after reading my review, look below for how to enter the giveaway.
This story really touched my heart and made me cry! Y’all have probably guessed I’m a sucker for stories with beloved dogs or cats in them. I also love to read or to listen to stories set in the South Carolina Lowcountry because that is where I was born and grew up. When Taylor McClellan returns to his hometown of McClellanville, SC to spend the Christmas holidays with his parents and younger brother, more or less on doctor’s orders, no one foresees the kind of stress this will place on a family struggling to stay afloat as the shrimp business which has supported them for generations slowly goes under. Everyone’s nerves are already on edge when Taylor arrives home and they are unprepared to deal with a young man who has changed so drastically from the friend, son, and brother who left for Afghanistan. The author very cleverly weaves quotes from Dickens’ A Christmas Carol into the storylines as we watch the McClellan family move from difficult times to a full-blown crisis. I think anyone who reads or listens to A Lowcountry Christmas will gain new insight into the misunderstood condition, PTSD, which is affecting so many of our young men and women who return home from war. This is not a condition they can simply “get over”, but one that requires love, understanding, and maybe even a very brave service dog!
Mary Alice Monroe does a fine job of narrating her own work. She is particularly believable as 10-year-old Miller McClellan making him sound just as young and disillusioned as he is. As a native of that area, I might have wished for a more authentic accent from characters whose roots are firmly entrenched in the Lowcountry; however, I know this is an accent that can sometimes be hard to understand, so it might not serve well for every listener. Ms. Monroe does read with great passion and understanding for the players in her story.
If you are looking for an engaging story of hope, healing, and the true Christmas spirit, A Lowcountry Christmas will be a satisfying listen for you. One caveat – there will be characters who make an appearance in the Prologue and Epilogue whose stories you won’t know because they are introduced in other books in the series . I certainly don’t think this detracts from the storyline. You just won’t know their stories if you haven’t read the rest of the series. In fact, the glimpses of them are tempting me to read the other books to find out more about these characters.
How to enter for a chance to win a hard copy of A Lowcountry Christmas:
✔️ Leave a comment with your favorite Christmas memory
✔️ Must be 18 years or older, a resident of the US, and a subscriber to this blog
Giveaway ends at Midnight on Sunday 12/04 – US Only – One Winner