When I found out there would be a special Christmas edition of the Lowcountry series by Mary Alice Monroe, I think I squealed like a little girl!
However, it should be noted that this book can be read as a standalone.
This very touching story is centered around Harper’s husband, Taylor, as he recalls his first Christmas home after being injured in Afghanistan.
In 2010 Taylor returns home suffering from PTSD. He has a very difficult time adjusting to civilian life, but his family surrounds him and tries their best to help him cope through some very serious issues.
However, Taylor’s younger brother, Miller, is going through his own turmoil, as he feels cast in the giant shadow of his troubled brother, who gets everything Miller wanted for himself, causing a resentment to form in his heart against his father and Taylor.
Taylor’s mother, Jenny, is so happy to have her son home, and alive, but soon finds her family is facing a serious crisis, and prays for all of them to survive it.
But, a bright light enters their lives when Taylor is approved for a service dog, he names Thor. With the unconditional love and companionship Thor provides, Taylor finds the courage and strength to face the long journey he must take to restore his health and live a positive, productive life.
Little did the family know how important Thor would become, when he and Taylor must use their specialized training to help one of their own, who finds themselves in a very precarious predicament.
First of all, I can’t praise Mary Alice Monroe enough for calling attention to PTSD and to service dogs who work so sweetly and bravely to help their companions. What a terrific subject to center such a heartwarming story around.
The story is told through the first person perspectives of Jenny, Taylor, and Miller. Each one suffers their own pain and growth, heartbreak and hope, and each miraculously finds the elusive spirit of Christmas along the way, with the help of Thor, the star of the whole show.
The author adds quotes from one of my favorite Christmas stories of all time, ‘A Christmas Carol’, at the start of each chapter that ties in to the events taking place in the story, which is a pretty nifty trick. Impressive!
You will want to have a box of tissue close by when you read this one! I promise you, it will touch you right down to your very soul.
As a special bonus, fans of this series will have a chance to touch base with their favorite characters, which brought a big smile to my face.
The author has also included a few recipes from the famed ‘Queen of Southern Cooking’, Nathalie Dupree!
Overall, I couldn’t be happier with this book and I highly recommend it to one and all!! Merry Christmas!
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.