REVIEW: ‘An Outback Christmas’ by Louise Reynolds

Published: 7th December 2015

Publisher: Penguin

Pages: 80

Format: ebook (purchased)

RRP: $1.99

4/5 Stars 

It’s just a few days before Christmas but you wouldn’t know it at Carrie Holt’s remote outback home. Not only has Carrie turned down all invitations to spend the festive season with friends, she’s cancelled Christmas entirely. For Carrie, Christmas holds nothing but sad memories.

Meanwhile, handsome architect Adam Davidson has planned a special Christmas camping trip with his son, Tyler. But a huge storm sends Adam and Tyler straight to Carrie’s door, desperate for help.

With the property cut off from the only road out, Carrie is forced to play host to these strangers – the last thing she wants at this time of year. As Christmas draws near, Adam and Carrie grow closer. But with so much tragedy in her past, will Carrie be able open her heart again and rediscover the magic of Christmas?

 

A Outback Christmas is a sweet, but modern Australian Christmas novella. It’s set on a mostly abandoned farm station during a fairly vicious storm that sees Adam and his son Tyler seeking shelter in the run down farm cottage that a reluctant Carrie Holt calls home.

Carrie Holt had already cancelled Christmas before the storm began.

Carrie Holt is a widow living out her lonely days in her neglected farmers cottage with her sole companion a cattle dog named Matey. She’s perfectly capable and fine living on her own especially at this time of year despite her neighbours best efforts. But when a ferocious storms hits the area in all it’s glory, Carrie soon finds herself having to open her small humble abode to Adam and Tyler, a city father and son duo caught unawares and out of luck in the storm. Can the young family change Carrie’s bleak outlook on Christmas? or will Adam be forced to watch his young son witness a Christmas like no other.

I really enjoyed this festive novella by Aussie author Louise Reynolds. Firstly, it’s uniquely Australian and there’s just something so fitting and right about reading an Australian Christmas during Summer; especially since most of our carols and traditional Christmas stories are American or European and feature quite heavily white Christmas’ full of snow and wood fires. Let’s just say, you won’t find any of that wrapped up in this novella’s neat little bite sized 80 pages.

Despite barely being 80 pages long, Reynolds captured the essence of Christmas and relationships of varying types at its most basic and bare level in this narrative. By stripping back the layers of Carrie’s lifestyle to the absolutely bare minimum, and placing the three personalities opposites one another at Christmas in not only a confined space, but one stripped of all the dressings and bells and whistles and commercial/material aspects of Christmas, the characters and readers alike are taken on an almost intimate and private journey of two broken souls trying to be happy and find the true meaning of  Christmas.  What unfolds is an honest, and almost naked unveiling of what makes you not only who you are, but what your days and traditions truly mean to you and those around you. The relationships that are built, destroyed and unearthed in this little novella range from the most artificial, down to the deepest most basic, binding human emotions of a child and their parent and it’s truly beautiful to witness. What’s more the slow burn of chemistry and fire of a different kind starts slow and builds at a natural speed for those involved, to create a sweet, but sensual romance lingering in the summer breeze.

In many ways, I look back at reading An Outback Christmas as almost Australia’s answer to the Grinch and A Christmas Carol. While it’s true Carrie isn’t trying to rob Christmas and it’s meaning and happiness from everyone, nor does she have a true black heart, she doesn’t want a thing to do with the festive season full stop and would no sooner ignore it’s entire existence if she could. And she would have, had Adam and Tyler not shown up. But is her heart as black and foul as the Grinch? Will she keep Christmas away despite her unexpected guests? Well you’ll just have to read this little gem of a festive novella and find out.

I’m a goner,’ she whispered to herself. ‘This can’t end well.

 

To purchase a copy of this book, visit the following retailers:

ibooks Au | Amazon Au | Booktopia |

 

To learn more about the author, visit the following websites:

Author’s website | Facebook | Twitter | Penguin Books Australia |

 

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