Source: Carina UK via NetGalley
Format: E-book – Read on Kindle
Publish / Release Date: 28th October 2014 by Carina UK
Date Read: 28th October 2014
Genre: Romance / Family
Links: Amazon UK / Amazon US
Note: I received this review copy of Driving Home For Christmas for free in return for an honest review during this blog tour. The opinions and thoughts I share in this review are my own.
Megan McAllister is home for Christmas…whether she likes it or not!
Christmas is about family…and for Megan family means two people: herself, and her daughter Skye. It doesn’t mean her parents who, ten years ago, saw her pregnancy as anything but a miracle. And it definitely doesn’t include her irresistible ex-boyfriend Lucas Bright.
So ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ has never been top of Megan’s festive playlist. But for Skye, she knows she needs to spend the holiday season with the people she’s left behind. She can do this. Even if the thought of meeting Lucas under the mistletoe still has her feeling like she’s drunk one-too-many Snowballs!
But somewhere between the hanging of stockings and the crackle of wrapping paper, Christmas starts to sparkle. And Megan begins to wonder if family could be bigger than her and Skye after all…
Christmas reading in October? Usually something I wouldn’t do but Driving Home For Christmas is a fantastic story and one I would definitely encourage others to read.
The story is mainly told in the present day, in the 3rd person and from the point of view of Megan McAllister. Occasionally though, the author gives us different viewpoints such as the wonderful character of Megan’s daughter Skye. The author also assists the reader by filling in the back story bit by bit, by adding in italicised scenes from the past of Megan. This allows the reader to find out so much about the characters and stories surrounding Megan, including her previous relationship and friendship with Lucas, the early few months with baby Skye and so much more. These little glimpses every now and again – which do jump around and are not in a continuous order – enable the reader to puzzle through and put together this literary jigsaw.
There are so many wonderful characters in this story which all fit together and have their own amazing and real characteristics. The main character Megan has turned into a happy and loving mother but who has been away from her parents and brother for so long and for such a reason that returning is very hard. But she will do anything for her daughter Skye. Skye is an amazing girl; she is naturally loving and outgoing and at times far too grown up for her age but intuitive about her mother’s needs and her own. Skye wants to be a private investigator when she grows up and spends a lot of her time practicing; with great effect. Into the story also comes Lucas; former best friend and boyfriend of Megan and now handsome-hunk teacher / rock god. Lucas is, very fortunately for this story, single and living back in the same village he and Megan grew up in. Through the flashbacks, we find out that Lucas was the person Megan always ran to when she needed to get away from home and her parents and in the main story we see a rekindling of this friendship which is utterly sweet and wonderful. With the added minx of Skye to help things along, what could possibly go wrong?! Add in Anna, her gay lodger Jeremy and Megan’s parents the story is well and expressively told and a pure joy to read.
This book is a wonderful introduction to Christmas and one which many will be able to relate to. I was quickly drawn into the story and sped through it in around 4/5 hours. I didn’t want the story to end… Aww! I really hope you enjoy this story as much as I have. Merry Christmas!
Rating: ♥♥♥♥ – I loved it.
An Interview with author A.L. Michael:
Hi A.L. Michael and welcome to the blog! Thank you so much for taking a few minutes to answer a few questions for us. Congratulations on ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ which came out just 3 days ago!
A.L. is extremely mysterious – may we call you something else? And being a proper British host I must ask… Tea? Coffee? Mulled wine? Biscuits?
Call me Andi! Ooh, mulled wine is very seasonal, any excuse for something alcoholic and Christmassy!
Now we’re comfortable, could you please introduce yourself a little – any Christmassy likes, dislikes and hobbies you can tell us about?
I’m pretty simple! I’m a bit of a hipster writer type, a cliche really! Christmas for me is about being family, drinking fizzy wine, eating all the amazing food that I try not to eat the rest of the year.
My ideal Christmas is when I make breakfast for everyone, we lazily open presents, we all cook together, and everyone’s having fun and laughing, then passes out eating Quality Street in front of the TV. What I hate? Doing things just because you should- everyone’ Christmas should be different! Also my Mum is amazing and wants to cater to everyone, so she gets herself really stressed. But I know I would too if I was cooking for 15 people!
Hobbies…I’m into running, am desperately waiting for my new gym to open, and I love an excuse to dance, whether it’s salsa, forro or zumba. Something with a latin rhythm and I’m good to go!
One guide to writing says “Write what you know” – is this what you have done in ‘Driving Home for Christmas’?
Actually, no, not at all. The story appeared instantaneously, and I knew I wanted to write a book with a kid in. I’m getting to that age when my friends are settling down, and I wanted to think about what it would be like if one of us had a fairly grown up kid now. I set it in a rural village, when I live in London…I did always want to be in a band in secondary school though!
‘Driving Home for Christmas’ is of course a Christmas book… Duh. I would love to know, did you write in season or out and was it hard to write or a book that wrote itself?
Oh, I wrote it in July! It was crazy hard to get in the Christmas spirit. I was sweating away, eating BBQ and wearing flip flops- insane! The great thing is, now it’s out I’m completely feeling Christmassy and really excited for December to get here!
If you had to describe ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ in just one sentence, what would it be?
A nostalgic, bittersweet story about a young woman going home with her daughter, after running away from home at 17.
Do you have any plans in the pipeline for a continuation or a next book?
I absolutely love Skye and Megan and Lucas, and whilst I think their story has been completed, you can never say never. I didn’t think I was doing a sequel to The Last Word (my last novel) and now I am!
For fun, if you were stuck on a desert island and you could take only 3 items with you, what would they be and why?
I’m terrible about these, I’m always way too practical! Water filtration tablets, a blow up bed etc…but if I was being cheeky, I’d say lots of books, an amazing pair of sunglasses and…yeah, suncream. I can’t help it. Even fantasy scenarios are practical!
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions, and of course – Merry Christmas!
A bit about the author:
A.L Michael is a writer and workshop leader from North London. She has a BA in Creative Writing with English Lit, an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship and is starting an MsC in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. She likes learning and hates essays.
She’s a fan of cheap wine, expensive chocolate and still wants to be a secret agent when she grows up, but she’ll settle for lying on the page.