When Ruby invites her family home for the holidays, including her two adult grandchildren, Charlotte and Olivia, she hopes they will be able to put the past behind them. However, her plans for reconciliation implode as the women unravel secrets from the past that force them to confront the impact they've had on their dysfunctional family. As Charlotte grows closer to Wyatt, the neighbor next door and a friend from the past, old memories resurface that the women would rather forget. they're reminded of a man they want to forget.
As the clock inches closer to the New Year, can the magic of the season bring the family closer? Or will a surprise guest threaten their tentative truce and test newly formed bonds?
The Christmas House by Victoria James is the story about three generations of women and how their choices in men have affected their lives. Grandma Ruby owns The Christmas House where the family will be spending the holidays. Charlotte, a professional organizer, arrives first and discovers that a boy she had a crush on when she was twelve lives next door. Wyatt is a cop just like Charlotte’s father who walked out on the family when she was twelve. Wyatt has an adorable twelve-year-old daughter who clicks with Charlotte. Olivia, Charlotte’s sister, arrives with her baby, Dawn and she is a hot mess. Add their unreliable mother and you have a family holiday. Each family member has a secret as well as issues that need to be dealt with along the way.
I liked the flashbacks to Ruby’s life as she deals with being pregnant at eighteen and on her own. We get to see how she came to own The Christmas House and began the open-door policy on Christmas Eve. Ruby was my favorite character. She is a delightful woman who is strong, caring, and generous. Ruby has a big heart, and she was truly hoping the family would have a special Christmas. I also liked Wyatt and Sam. Wyatt’s wife left him and Sam. He is having to raise Sam on his own while we working as a police officer. He works hard to make sure she has the type of childhood he never did. Ruby and Wyatt’s Aunt Mary were busy playing matchmaker when not spoiling Olivia’s daughter, Dawn. There is plenty of family drama and emotions in The Christmas House. Charlotte needs to make a choice about her life. Is she going to let the past take away her chance at a happy future or she is going to leave the past in her rearview mirror while she gets her happily ever after? There is mild foul language in the story which is disappointing because they should not be in a Christmas tale. The Christmas House also delves into topics that some people might find upsetting (suicide, alcoholism, infidelity, child neglect, and abandonment). There are sections of the book that will have you smiling, but there are some areas that are depressing (and they dragged on a little too long). The moral of the story is that we are not perfect. We all have baggage and must decide if we will let it hinder us or make us better. One of my favorite lines from The ChristmasHouse is, “It’s never too late for a happy ending.” The Christmas House is an emotional, dramatic Christmas story with an endearing neighbor, a meddling grandmother, a topsy-turvy pantry, an orderly organizer, a twirling tween, family fuss, and one magical home.
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