Carolyn For Christmas by Lucy Carey is a short Christmas novel, making it a perfect read in between festivities. It is the story of two estranged friends Carolyn and Saoirse. They move in the same circles and have hated each other since they were children.
When Saoirse wins a solo in the big Christmas concert Carolyn has more reason than ever to hate her but when the two women are trapped together for a night they learn that events in the past are not what they thought.
The story is short, so there isn’t a lot of time to build up characters and create expectations. Still, Carey managed to create two memorable and likable women who are at odds with each other.
The Writing Style
It was a peppy, snappy novella. The pacing was good and the story built to a sweet ending making it an altogether satisfying read. Her story is not as predictable as I was expecting with a couple of lovely moments of character discovery.
Carey’s writing style is solid. By this I mean that I never found myself examining the way the words felt as I played with them. Rather, the story sucked me in and the words became just a means a telling me what happened.
There is a brilliant little twist right at the end of the book that has to do with Saoirse’s mother. It comes out of nowhere and I found it to be one of the best and most satisfying moments in the book.
I am not a huge fan of the cover but I am not hugely against it either. I have seen better and worse.
Definitely worth a read. This light, charming novella will make for a delightful, happy Christmas read.
This is a novella from NineStar Press, a publishing house relatively new on my radar, and if this is the kind of thing that they are producing then I am happy to have them in the sector. We can never have enough brilliant lesbian fiction publishers. (And Yes, I know they are technically LBGTQA publishers, but Lesbians Rule My Universe.)
Excerpt from Carolyn For Christmas by Lucy Carey
Who the hell did that one think she was?
Saoirse Barrett narrowed her eyes and took a long sip of her Chardonnay. She was momentarily distracted from her irritation as the wine hit her tongue and she grimaced at the taste of it. Pub wine was just the worst.
It certainly wasn’t making the sudden tension any easier to take. She did her best to look nonchalant, like she wasn’t bothered by the rudeness that had arrived at her table. At the other end of the table, Carolyn bloody Roche was staring in Saoirse’s direction, with an expression on her face like she’d just got a whiff of dog shite.
Saoirse had watched Carolyn and her friend in the too-high heels tottering this way with mounting dread. The closer they got, the more Saoirse had started to wish that Carolyn would maybe just fall into the big, crackling, open fire beside Saoirse’s table. It was bad enough she had to put up with Carolyn once or twice a week at rehearsals; spending a Saturday night looking at her sour face was anything but her idea of fun.
And now, to add extra insult to the matter, Carolyn was trying to drag her friend away from her seat at the end of Saoirse’s table, like Saoirse was the troublemaker.
That bitch, she thought. Like I’d even offer her a seat.
She nudged her friend, Lorna, who was feigning interest in a conversation about the recession with some random guy in an expensive shirt. As pleasantly as she was smiling, Lorna had gone dead behind the eyes. She’d welcome Saoirse’s interruption.
“Jesus, they’ll let anyone in here,” Saoirse said.
Shit. Saoirse had meant to whisper the barb but it came out louder than she’d been expecting. Must be that cheap Chardonnay.
Carolyn whipped around from dragging her friend away and gave Saoirse a stare that sent a shiver down her spine. She’d obviously heard.
“And a Merry fucking Christmas to you, too,” Carolyn snarled, then curled her lip and turned away.
Thank God, Saoirse thought. That could have turned really ugly. As much as Carolyn had changed in the past few years, Saoirse knew her of old—she came from one of the rougher estates in the town and would likely make mincemeat of Saoirse in a fight, if she was so inclined.
The heavy, aggrieved clatter of Carolyn’s heels on the stone floor was like music to Saoirse’s ears. She took a swig of her Chardonnay to hide her relieved expression.
“God, the state of her,” Lorna whispered as they watched Carolyn’s retreating form. “You’d think with getting that job, she could afford not to dress like some sort of goth reject.”
Saoirse didn’t quite agree with the assessment—she thought Carolyn’s shape in her tight, black jeans tucked into studded boots and her short leather jacket, impractical for the cold, suited her. She kept the thought to herself and continued guiltily appreciating the swish of Carolyn’s hips as she strode through the crowd.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 978-1911153085
Publisher: NineStar Press
Note: I received a free review copy of Carolyn For Christmas by Lucy Carey. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always endeavour to review books as honestly as possible and on occasion I refuse to review books.