A Yorkshire Christmas
I’ve enjoyed Kate Hewitt’s work in the past, so picking up her latest novella, A Yorkshire Christmas was a no brainer for me. Unfortunately, this tale ended up being a mishmash of sweetly touching moments and a Christmas tale that just was more weird than romantic.
Fearing disgrace at her teaching job, Claire Lindell has taken advantage of a standing invitation from her godmother to come visit the Yorkshire countryside and has decided to just spend the holidays alone in her godmother’s cottage. Claire’s own family is quite wealthy, but takes more pride in putting together a Christmas worthy of magazine spreads rather than one filled with love and laughter. Along the way, her car winds up in a ditch during a snowstorm and Noah Bradford, owner of the neighboring farm, helps her out.
Of course Noah’s help leads to all kinds of mutual attraction and the two just can’t help getting involved in one another’s lives. The writing is engaging and initially the story feels like a sweet tale of two lost souls finding one another for the holidays. Though we don’t learn the actual circumstances until some time later in the story, one figures out early that Claire’s work problem seems to spring from poor decisions on her part and likewise we learn that Noah has some darkness in his own past, making the two appear as flawed but likable characters. So far, so good.
However, as the story really gets going, things drop from promising to hackneyed and average in short order. Noah’s daughter from a previous relationship gets dropped unceremoniously at his farm to spend Christmas, and as Claire helps him struggle to put together a decent holiday for the child, we could have gotten a touching story. Instead of seeming like a father working on building memories for his child, Noah looks content to let Claire do much of the heavy lifting while he utters platitudes and promises to do better (which sounded almost like the dialogue assigned to any stereotypical absentee parent). In addition, we get some revelations about Noah’s past throughout the story that just didn’t help the story. These were such huge bombshells that I expected a bit more story time to let them be dealt with by the characters, but readers just don’t get that and so instead of adding to the book, they just feel like strange add-ons.
In some ways, A Yorkshire Christmas comes off like a sweet, if rather predictable Christmas story. However, some of the dramatic character revelations that get dropped into the story never to be dealt with again send this from “cute” into “something’s kinda ‘off’ here” territory. And the romance? Well, it’s obvious that Claire and Noah feel attracted to one another from the very beginning – and that much I could believe. However, the deep, abiding romance that develops between them springs into being somewhat quickly and in the face of some obstacles that the two seem to ignore rather than vanquish. I couldn’t help feeling that this could have been a great story if the author had just expanded it somewhat.
In the end, the novella I read wasn’t bad. However, it could have amounted to a deeper, more emotional read that only gets hinted at in its current form. Not a terrible way to spend an afternoon, but not the finest either.