Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Book 55 of 2014: Secret Santa (A Bluegrass Series Novella) by Kathleen Brooks

As you read this, I should be recovering from my egg collection. This fact obviously has nothing to do with today's post, but I felt like sharing.

Last year, in the run up to Christmas, I was a lot less choosy about the books I read on my Kindle. Normally I only go with novel-length books but last year I decided to go with some of the shorter ones. I wanted to cram in as much Christmas as possible, so one of the books that I selected was Secret Santa which is a Christmas special from an established series by Kathleen Brooks.

This book follows a number of the residents of Keenestone in the run up to Christmas. The annual Christmas party is going on, two local women are expecting babies, another couple is trying for a baby and a mysterious stranger shows up and starts handing out gifts.

It's a short read, clocking in at just 72 pages. I managed it in about two sittings. It's currently priced at £2.49 but when I picked it up, it was free. I'm glad that I got it for free otherwise I'm not sure I would have appreciated spending money on it. Then again, for someone who is already familiar with the series, it might be a lot more enjoyable.

Part of this is obviously my own fault for reading a book set in a series that I'm not familiar with, though this one probably would've been okay if there weren't so many characters. If it had just focused on one or two of the couples I would've found it easier to get into. There were obviously references to things that had happened in previous books which were lost on me, but would be appreciated by people who were fans of the series.

For my first introduction to the inhabitants of Keenestone, there were just way too many people crammed into 72 pages for me to get to know any of them properly. Plus the names were way too similar; at one point there were three guys named Cade, Cole and Cy. In fact all of the names were something else; McKenna Mason Ashton, Chrystal Sharp and the Rose sisters (Daisy Mae, Lily Rae and Violet Fae).

As I said above, it would have been better if it had just followed one or two couples or (if everyone had to be included) expanded into a full length novel so everyone could've been given more page time (rather than being trotted out, given their moment in the spotlight and then abandoned). Personally I would've liked to see more focus on the two expectant couples and the couple trying for a baby, Dani and Mo. They offered a nice contrast to the others.

Although I do have to admit that Dani and Mo's story did frustrate me. As one half of a couple that's dealing with infertility their story just didn't ring true. They'd been trying for six months and had already gone onto fertility drugs, had experienced a miscarriage but still went on to tell their parents they were pregnant the minute they found out, despite the pressure they were under to produce an heir just didn't ring true for me.

It's good that authors try to address infertility in their stories, but I just wish some of them would put a bit more effort into it.

In short, it's a fluffy little read, but don't expect too much from it.

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