Snowed In for Christmas will be counted among my favorite holiday Hallmark-style comfort reads this year. It's a sweet story about a family coming together and mending fences, with a great ensemble cast and varied plotlines.
The story centers around the Miller family - a picture-perfect (literally, they've been photographed for magazines) Scottish family who have been known for their shortbread company for generations. Parents Douglas and Glenda Miller are in their sixties now, and approaching the point of retirement and, in theory, world travel, although Douglas can't seem to let go of the business. Part of that is because his only son, Ross, chose to found a successful athletics company rather than following Douglas into the family business, and he's not sure what to do with it now, as neither of the other two Miller children, Alice and Clemmie, have any real interest in taking it on. Alice is a successful doctor in London and is struggling with anxiety about the future with her current boyfriend, who is ready to marry her. And Clemmie is a nanny who, after years spent waiting for her childhood love to return her affections, has decided to move home and have a child on her own. As Christmas comes around, it seems only Nanna Jean isn't struggling with some major problem or self-doubt - not that any of the Millers will acknowledge what concerns they have on their minds. They're all perfectly stiff and polite with each other, as Glenda frets about how to return to the family's old closeness.
And then, on a quiet afternoon close to Christmas, Lucy Clarke arrives on the scene. Visiting from London, she comes to the Miller household to present an advertising proposal to Ross and ends up staying with them through a series of miscommunications and accidents of nature (including the titular snow). As they deal with Lucy and the white lies which led to those miscommunications, a number of secrets start spilling out. Clemmie announces her plans to have a child, Alice confesses how badly she has hurt her boyfriend by rejecting his first marriage proposal, and Ross finally has a reckoning with his father about their differing business interests. And poor Lucy, who is alone in the world after losing her grandmother, finds herself taken in and comforted by a loving family - and enticed into a romance with Ross.
There are a lot of different storylines and feelings to track here, but Morgan does a good job of balancing them by including chapters from various points of view. This allows her to capture the family dynamics well, so each person can be so consumed by their own problems that they don't realize how their actions will be received by others. Yet no one comes across as selfish or unlikeable; while blunt Nanna Jean was my favorite, I truly enjoyed all the characters. They each come across with their own quirks and flaws, and they all find a way to grow and change perspectives over the course of the book.
As a testament to the writing, I can't really pick a favorite storyline here. Each Miller sibling has their own struggle to work through, but they all weave together so much it doesn't really feel like separate stories. I loved seeing how the siblings support each other against their parents, but then slowly find a way to reconcile with them in the end.
If this story has a flaw, it may be that the storyline of a perfect family and unexpected Christmas guest is a little improbable. But I think that's only a bother if you're looking for something with the gritty undertones of real life. If, like me, you enjoy a good comfort read around the holidays - where snow always falls on Christmas and characters behave like real people with slightly better results - Snowed In for Christmas should be a perfect book for you.
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