Friday 6 November 2015

Book Review - A Snow Garden & other stories by Rachel Joyce - Blog Tour

Amazon UK
Title: A Snow Garden & other stories
Author: Rachel Joyce
Format reviewed: Hardback
Source: Competition Win
Publisher: Transworld
Publication Date: 5th November
Rating: 4 Stars

Seven stories to span the Christmas holidays:

A Faraway Smell of Lemon: The School Term has ended. It is almost Christmas but Binny, out last-minute shopping couldn't feel less like wishing glad tidings to all men. Ducking out of the rain she finds herself in the sort of shop she would never normally visit.

The Marriage Manual: Christmas Eve. Two parents endeavour to construct their son’s Christmas present from a DIY kit and in the process find themselves deconstructing their marriage.

Christmas at the Airport: A glitch in the system, travellers stranded and all sorts of lives colliding in the face of a sudden birth...

The Boxing Day Ball: Maureen has never been out with the local girls before. Who knew that a disco in the Village Hall could be life-changing?

A Snow Garden: Two little boys, dumped with their divorced father for his share of the Christmas holidays and none of them with a clue how to enjoy it. 

I'll Be Home for Christmas The most famous boy in the world comes home hoping to escape the madness with a normal family Christmas.

Trees: As if Christmas wasn't wearing enough, now his elderly parent is asking for a hole in the ground … Father and son break old habits and plant a tree to mark the start of the new year.

A Snow Garden and other stories is a book of seven short stories, which generally all have a small link with each other, with the exception of The Boxing Day Ball, which just felt a bit out of place. But I also felt that one was the weakest story of the bunch. 

Each story is no more than arond 30-40 pages, a gives a snap shot in time of someone's Christmas. Each situation is different but there is a common image through most of the stories. I also liked how the first story A Faraway Smell of Lemon and the last Trees had the most in common, almost as though there was a circle in effect. 

My favourite of the stories was Christmas at the Airport, in which planes are all grounded on Christmas day, and there are lots of people stranded at the airport. There is also a heavily pregnant woman, and a family with the surname King. This is the story where you see quick snapshots of how a whole variety of people deal with being stuck at an airport on Christmas day. 

The stories take you from a few days before 25th December right up until New Years Eve, and in quite  a few of them you sense there is some sort of supernatural or magical presence, to help things along, but its only a passing feeling, and one I can't quite explain. 

I really enjoyed the couple in The Marriage Manual, who are perceived to be a perfect couple, arguing while trying to build their sons Christmas present. The arguments are quite funny. 

All of the stories are a bit different, all enjoyable and some will appeal to you more than others. I loved the cover of this book, and its a very relevant picture to some of what is mentioned in passing during the stories. 

I had a hard cover copy and feel with it being a bit smaller (dimensions) than your normal book, it could be quite a good Christmas present, especially for someone who perhaps only has time to sit and read a short story at a time. 

1 comment:

  1. I like the sound of the deconstructing marriage too. :) Nice review ladies. Thanks for sharing, Rachel. xx


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