Author: Poppy Alexander
Narrator: Helen Keeley
Audiobook Length: 9 hours 38 minutes
Kate Potter used to love Christmas. A few years ago she would have been wrapping her presents in September and baking mince pies on Halloween, counting down to the countdown to Christmas. But a few years ago, everything was different. That was before Kate’s husband went away with the army and didn’t come home. Now she can hardly stand December at all.
Kate’s lonely. She doesn’t think she’s ready for romance, but she needs more than this, and her son Jack needs a Christmas to remember. What Kate needs is a Christmas miracle, and if there isn’t one on its way, she’ll just have to make her own.
So begins Kate’s advent countdown to the best Christmas ever.
She has it all planned out, but you can’t plan for the unexpected, and when the path of the loneliest woman in town crosses with that of the loneliest man, she just might find a way to save Christmas for all of them…
25 Days ‘Til Christmas is described as a feel-good festive read while also being emotional. While there are some heart-warming moments towards the end, the novel skews a lot more towards the emotional side. Since it was something I was not expecting, it threw me off a little while reading. Once I adjusted to the not-so-happy moments that each of the characters were going through in the novel, it was enjoyable seeing them develop and work towards a potential happy ending.
The story is dual-perspective of our two main characters, Kate and Daniel. Each is dealing with grief for the previous loss of a loved one and found comfort in each other. Kate is a single mom to Jack after losing her husband, Tom, when he was serving overseas in the army. She works for a department store where they sell Christmas trees every year and she is on a yearly contract for employment. As her work-life is uncertain, Jack is struggling in school, and she is dealing with overwhelming financial struggles, she decides to give her son Jack a Christmas to remember after being given an advent calendar. She and Jack will do one Christmas activity every day leading up to the actual holiday. On the other side is Daniel who recently lost his sister, Zoe, from an undetected heart condition, and now works for a suicide hotline.
While Kate and Daniel were both likable characters, they were both overshadowed by multiple subplots. There is a lot happening at any given time in the story, so everything feels incomplete in the end. Kate’s financial struggles were driven home many times that it sometimes felt a bit too much considering there were many other storylines that needed attention. I liked that the author did not produce a super happy fuzzy book, but I just wished it was streamlined a little so the reader could connect with all of the elements more. Most of the story is focused on the characters separately, so it is a very slow-burn to build up to a romance and potential happy ending as a couple. Overall, this story had a lot of potentials, but just wasn’t quite what I was looking for in an end product. If the number of subplot elements was reduced a little, I think it would have fit better for me. While it is not quite my type of novel, I did enjoy it and would be curious to read more from the author.