The Mother of All Christmases
‘Every time you discover a new Milly book, it’s like finding a pot of gold’
~ Heat Magazine
It’s December folks, so it’s time for another of my festive reads of the season.
The Mother of All Christmases is the latest novel from the ‘Queen of Feel-Good Fiction’, Milly Johnson, and was just released by Simon & Schuster on the 15th of November. I am delighted to part of the 12 Days of Christmas tour with my review for you all today.
Described as ‘a Christmas cracker of a read full of love, life and laughter!’ this is a book that will evoke a few tears but plenty of giggles along the way too.
Read on for my thoughts….
About the Book:
Eve Glace – co-owner of the theme park Winterworld – is having a baby and her due date is a perfectly timed 25th December. And she’s decided that she and her husband Jacquesshould renew their wedding vows with all the pomp that was missing the first time. But growing problems at Winterworld keep distracting them …
Annie Pandoro and her husband Joe own a small Christmas cracker factory, are well set up and happy together despite life never blessing them with a much-wanted child. But when Annie finds that the changes happening to her body aren’t typical of the menopause but pregnancy, her joy is uncontainable.
Palma Collins has agreed to act as a surrogate, hoping the money will get her out of the gutter in which she finds herself. But when the couple she is helping split up, is she going to be left carrying a baby she never intended to keep?
Annie, Palma and Eve all meet at the ‘Christmas Pudding Club’, a new directive started by a forward-thinking young doctor to help mums-to-be mingle and share their pregnancy journeys. Will this group help each other to find love, contentment and peace as Christmas approaches?
Eve Glace, Annie Pandoro and Palma Collins are all soon-to-be mothers but each under very different circumstances. Both Eve and Annie are business women, with their own growing companies to manage. Palma’s story is very different indeed.
Palma was born into a difficult home, with a mother who was unable to manage their home-life due to her addictions and subsequent inability to live a healthy and productive life. Palma went through very hard times and makes a conscious decision to make some serious changes in her life before she too ends up like her mother. For Palma the only immediate way out offered to her is to become a surrogate for a wealthy couple. In return for carrying their child, Palma will be paid a sum of money, enough to get her out of her existing flat and a move to a better area. But for Palma, life throws a major curve ball, when the prospective parents break up and leave Palma with the prospect of caring for a baby that was never part of her current plan.
Eve and her husband Jacques own a theme park, entitled Winterworld. A very popular destination, particularly in the lead up to Christmas, means that Eve and Jacques have their hands full. A baby was always in their hoped for future but Eve never expected a Christmas baby. With an expansion underway in the theme park, they are struggling to deal with some issues among their staff that is affecting all involved. On top of all that, Eve decides that now with a baby due, they should renew their marriage vows but do it a little more lavishly this time.
Anni Pandoro is in her late forties. A baby was always a hopeful dream for Annie and her husband Joe but to date it was never to be. They have had their ups and downs over the years but now with their Christmas cracker company doing well, they have found happiness. Annie is convinced she is on the verge of the menopause but life has something else up its sleeve when Annie discovers all these emotions and the tiredness she is feeling is due to pregnancy. Overjoyed with the prospect of the baby they have been dreaming of, Annie and Joe suddenly find themselves in a quandary. One of their employees is leaving and as Christmas approaches, the orders increase. Stressed to the limit, Annie and Joe need new staff quickly.
When their doctor suggests a weekly gathering for pregnant women in his clinic under the name of the ‘Christmas Pudding Club’, all three -Eve, Annie and Palma – agree to attend. The intent is that they can share their personal stories with each other as they move through each trimester of pregnancy. Under the guidance of two midwives, the group soon become friends and make plans together, laughing and crying as they recount their experiences.
During these sessions, Annie, Eve and Palma develop a very close relationship and their friendship soon becomes intertwined with their lives and their businesses.
Milly Johnson has tackled multiple issues throughout this novel where we get to see the blossoming of a beautiful friendship but also the more serious issues of violence, bullying and work related traumas. There are some scenes which may upset but there are also charming scenes of love, relationship building, trust and fun.
The Mother of All Christmases is a warm festive novel, a novel that focuses on the value and strength of female friendship and the importance of this most special of relationships in all our lives. While the title and cover do evoke the Christmassy feelings, this is a novel that can be picked up and read at any time of the year with topics that impact many not just at Christmas time.
Milly Johnson expertly weaves her words around the story of these three women as we journey with them through their personal journeys, some more difficult than others. The characters of Eve, Annie and Palma are wonderfully portrayed but I have to admit that Palma’s story impacted me the most.
The Mother of all Christmases is a novel packed with emotions, an up-lifting tale that will surely leave you with a smile on your face.
Purchase Link ~ The Mother of all Christmases
(Image: Credit Charlotte Murphy)
About the Author:
Milly Johnson is a Sunday Times Top 5 bestselling author of fourteen novels with millions of copies of her novels sold to date. Known as the ‘Queen of Feel-Good Fiction’, Milly’s novels always feature friendship, family, love, betrayal, good food and that little bit of magic in life that sometimes visits the unsuspecting.
Milly is a columnist for her local newspaper and is an experienced broadcaster on radio and TV. She is also patron of several local charities with community, literacy and animal welfare issues close to her heart.
Website ~ millyjohnson.co.uk
Twitter ~ @millyjohnson