Congratulations to the lovely Jan Ruth whose novella, ‘Away for Christmas’ is out today as an eBook. Jan asked me if I would like to review her new book and provided me with a copy of it.
Set in Rhos-on-Sea, North Wales, this story starts off in December 2015. Christmas is meant to be the most wonderful time of the year but it doesn’t look as if it will be for Jonathan Jones. Losing his job just a few days before the festive period, Jonathan is really under pressure to get the novel he’s written published and for it to become a bestseller. But things aren’t that easy. To make matters worse his partner drops a bombshell of her own. The festive holiday already looks set to be a disaster.
Jonathan is bequeathed a failing bookshop in their seaside town and he starts to feel as if some of his prayers have been answered. However, it turns out that his publishing company are not what they seem. Then Jonathan’s ex-wife declares her romantic intent and he’s left totally confused as to what to do for the best.
Is everything lost or can the true meaning of words, a dog called Frodo and the sheer magic of Christmas be enough to save Jonathan’s book and his skin?
I firstly want to mention the cover which I adore. It is absolutely stunning and with its bright colours it looks so inviting. I almost wished that I could climb into it and walk into the bookshop. Somehow I think I would be stuck in there for hours.
This is the first Christmas story I have read this year and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the opening paragraph and I really liked Jan Ruth’s style of writing throughout. The way she describes things is wonderful and you can really picture scenes in your head. I enjoyed reading about Beachside Books and the progress made to restore it.
Jan Ruth is an experienced writer and so she is able to tackle the subject of the different avenues of publishing and book promotion very well. Jonathan’s burning ambition was to finish writing his books and to get them published. In a way it was as if losing his job opened up other options for him. Thinking everything was above board with the publishing company, he found out the hard way that they weren’t what they claimed to be. As soon as I read about them I thought, dodgy! They didn’t even liaise with him properly with regards to the book covers.
As well as the issues Jonathan faced with getting his books published, he was also having problems in his personal life. I read on with great interest wondering what would happen. I absolutely loved Frodo the dog. He sounded just so adorable. The last chapter left me with a nice warm feeling. Things had changed so much for Jonathan and I was really happy for him. I like how everything came together. There was even a little unexpected surprise.
‘Away for Christmas’ is a lovely read. It is the ideal book to snuggle down on the sofa with on a cold winters day.
I give this book 4 out of 5.
About Jan Ruth
The real story began at school, with prizes for short stories and poetry. She failed all things mathematical and scientific, and to this day struggles to make sense of anything numerical.
Her first novel – written in 1986 – attracted the attention of an agent who was trying to set up her own company, Love Stories Ltd. It was a project aiming to champion those books of substance which contained a romantic element but were perhaps directed towards the more mature reader and consistently fell through the net in traditional publishing. Sadly, the project failed to get the right financial backing.
Many years later Jan’s second novel, Wild Water, was taken on by Jane Judd, literary agent. Judd was a huge inspiration, but the book failed to find the right niche with a publisher. It didn’t fall into a specific category and, narrated mostly from the male viewpoint, it was considered out of genre for most publishers and too much of a risk.
Amazon changed the face of the industry with the advent of self-publishing; opening up the market for readers to decide the fate of those previously spurned novels. Jan went on to successfully publish several works of fiction and short story collections and after a brief partnership with Accent Press in 2015, has returned to the freedom of independent publishing.
‘Away for Christmas’ is available to buy from Amazon UK – http://mybook.to/Away4Xmas
Website – http://janruth.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/JanRuthAuthor/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JanRuthAuthor