by Mary Alice Monroe
Series: Lowcountry Summer #5
Genres: Women's Fiction
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A wounded warrior and his younger brother discover the true meaning of Christmas in this timeless story of family bonds.
As far as ten-year-old Miller McClellan is concerned, it’s the worst Christmas ever. His father’s shrimp boat is docked, his mother is working two jobs, and with finances strained, Miller is told they can’t afford the dog he desperately wants. “Your brother’s return from war is our family’s gift,” his parents tell him. But when Taylor returns with PTSD, family strains darken the holidays.
Then Taylor’s service dog arrives—a large black Labrador/Great Dane named Thor. His brother even got the dog! When Miller goes out on Christmas Eve with his father’s axe, determined to get his family the tree they can't afford, he takes the dog for company—but accidentally winds up lost in the wild forest. The splintered family must come together to rediscover their strengths, family bond, and the true meaning of Christmas.
A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Monroe is the fifth novel in her popular Lowcountry Summer series. This was my first experience with both and Monroe delighted me with this story as she shared one family’s struggles. It’s almost Christmas and finances are tight bringing disappointment to their youngest as their oldest son struggles with PTSD.
A Lowcountry Christmas reminds us of the real joys of the holiday while highlighting PTSD and the importance of service dogs for veterans.
While this is the fifth novel, the story focuses on the McClellan family sharing events of one particular Christmas. It isn’t necessary to read the previous books. Although admittedly I would now like to learn more about others within this South Carolina coastal community.
Monroe shares the tale from several narratives. We begin with Taylor celebrating the holidays and reflecting on events that occurred five Christmases ago. We then get perspectives from ten-year-old Miller McClellan as he shares with us his wish for Christmas and the struggles his family is facing now that his father can no longer work his shrimping boat. We are also treated to chapters from Mary Alice Monroe, their mother as she tries to bring Christmas joy to their lives. The story that unfolds pulls the reader in as you become caught up in this families lives.
I slipped into this story, identifying with Mary, feeling Miller’s frustrations when everything seems impossible for a ten-year-old boy. Taylor, an injured Marine tugged at my heartstrings as he struggled with his PTSD, guilt for the loss of his men and the overwhelming darkness he felt. Thor, his service dog, was an important and touching part of the story. Monroe touched on the importance of these dogs, folks reactions and the incredible bond formed between man and beast.
Each chapter begins with a line from Charles Dicken’s classic “A Christmas Story” and sprinkled throughout the story it is mentioned. Its message is shared, and its impact on the main characters was a brilliant tribute to the story.
If you’re looking for a Christmas story that will touch your soul and remind you to count your blessings then, A Lowcountry Christmas is the perfect tale to read this holiday season.A Lowcountry Christmas by Mary Alice Monroe was a touching story and ideal for the holiday season Click To Tweet