Book Review: Driving Home For Christmas by A.L. Michael

Driving Home For Christmas by A.L. Michael
Release Date: 28th October 2014
Publisher: Carina
Buy: Kindle
Rating:
5 star

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Megan McAllister is home for Christmas…whether she likes it or not!

Christmas is about family…and for Megan family means two people: herself, and her daughter Skye. It doesn’t mean her parents who, ten years ago, saw her pregnancy as anything but a miracle. And it definitely doesn’t include her irresistible ex-boyfriend Lucas Bright.

So ‘Driving Home for Christmas’ has never been top of Megan’s festive playlist. But for Skye, she knows she needs to spend the holiday season with the people she’s left behind. She can do this. Even if the thought of meeting Lucas under the mistletoe still has her feeling like she’s drunk one-too-many Snowballs!

But somewhere between the hanging of stockings and the crackle of wrapping paper, Christmas starts to sparkle. And Megan begins to wonder if family could be bigger than her and Skye after all…

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As a teenager, Megan McAllister’s mum expected big things for her daughter…very big things. Expecting her to go off to Cambridge University and conquer the world, Megan finding herself pregnant was certainly not part of her mother’s plan.
Finding herself kicked out of her own home and despite her ex boyfriend Lucas’ offer of bringing up Megan’s baby as his own, she flees from the village that she has been so desperate to escape from for so many years and finds herself living in London after being taken in by her aunt, Anna.
Fast forward ten years and Megan is more than happy with how things have turned out. As far as she’s concerned, Skye was the best ‘mistake’ she ever made and it’s mother and daughter against the world….Which is why it is with huge reluctance that Megan is talked into visiting her parents for Christmas. After Megan’s shock announcement all those years ago she has had no contact with her parents and can’t bring herself to forgive her mother for putting such pressure on Megan as a child and then turning her back on her when she needed her mum most. However, Anna manages to reason with Megan, ten years is a long time and apparently Megan’s parents are desperate to meet their granddaughter.
Fully expecting this to be the Christmas From Hell, Megan agrees to try and make amends, but it’s not long before the faces and memories from her past start appearing, including her teenage sweetheart, Lucas who Skye immediately takes a shine to. But Megan isn’t interested in rekindling old relationships, after all other people just complicate things and it’s much easier when it’s just her and Skye, that way no one can get hurt. Right…?

I loved the sound of Driving Home For Christmas; I always enjoy stories where a character re-visits somewhere from their past and is faced with all of their old memories (some good and some not so good). The circumstances that caused Megan to leave her family home all of those years ago also make an interesting addition to things and I can completely identify with why she didn’t want to go back and see her parents after everything that happened (especially her mother, jeez, pushy or what!?) The story completely lived up to my expectations and I thoroughly enjoyed this heart warming tale which is all about making things right.
I loved the way in which the story was written; mostly in present day but every so often we get to go back in time to see what really happened when Megan was a teenager; when she was being worked to the bone by her mother, when she fell in love with Lucas, and of course, the arrival of Skye. I liked how these snippets were interspersed within the story and the more you discover, the more everything seems to add up and you understand why certain characters behaved the way that they did.
Skye is one heck of a cool ten year old. She wears mermaid leggings and wants to be a detective…enough said. She is extremely smart and wise beyond her years; in fact she seems to have the world sussed even more so than her own mother. She is funny and completely adorable. You also can’t help but like Megan and I found myself really admiring her (although there were times when I found her a teeny bit frustrating. You’ll see why…) Lucas was also great and his relationship with Skye will make your heart melt. Then there’s Anna and Megan’s friend Jeremy who are completely brilliant too. All in all there’s a fantastic range of characters within Driving Home For Christmas who you can’t help but bond with and relate to.
This is the first of A.L Michael’s books that I’ve read and I’m delighted to be able to add her to my ever-growing list of fantastic authors. It’s such a lovely, warm, delightful read, with drama, tears, family and romance.

 

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As part of my Christmas Corner, I will be rating each Christmas book I read on just how Christmassy they are. (You know those books that have a Christmas-inspired cover but the stories aren’t really that Christmassy?) There seems to be lots out there and whilst they might be brilliant stories in their own right, I can’t help but feel misled. Where’s my Christmas storyline? Just because you put a bit of snow or glitter on the cover, this does not mean it’s a Christmas book.

My Christmas Rating for Driving Home For Christmas is:

5PUD

This is a PERFECT book to put you in a festive mood as it’s set entirely over Christmas; there are decorations, turkey, carols, Christmas shopping and presents galore.  The title is brilliantly apt and relates to the story so well, as does that gorgeous cover. Driving Home For Christmas definitely deserves full marks with regards to how much Christmas content there is in the story, you’ll be desperate to dig out your festive jumper and stick on Miracle on 34th Street after reading this delightfully lovely tale.

A massive Christmassy thank you to A.L. Michael for inviting me to be a part of the blog tour for Driving Home For Christmas, and also to NetGalley for the review copy.

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A.L Michael is a writer and workshop leader from North London. She has a BA in Creative Writing with English Lit, an MA in Creative Entrepreneurship and is starting an MsC in Creative Writing for Therapeutic Purposes. She likes learning and hates essays.

She’s a fan of cheap wine, expensive chocolate and still wants to be a secret agent when she grows up, but she’ll settle for lying on the page.

 

A.L. Michael♥   | Website  Twitter  | Facebook  |  Goodreads  |

 

 

 

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