Sunday 26 July 2015

Reviewed: Driving Home for Christmas by A.L. Michael.

Driving Home for Christmas was published by Carina on October 28, 2014.

Thanks to the publisher for auto-approving me for a copy of this book on Netgalley.

Driving Home for Christmas was a beautiful, heart-warming, emotional story which showed the true importance of family and how the festive season has the ability to make or break a family. It took me a tiny bit of time to connect with this book but when I did, I didn’t want to leave this story behind. Megan McAllister is leaving her comfortable, settled life behind for the month of December as she is taking her daughter Skye ‘home’ to her parents’ house for Christmas, a place she feels less than comfortable since she left ten years ago. Megan and her mum Heather don’t have a good relationship. When Megan fell pregnant with Skye, Heather was disgusted at how all her plans for Megan’s life had fallen apart and in turn, she kicked her daughter out of home. So with this, I was already rooting for Megan and hoping she would survive the festive season. Her mum was built up in my mind as the pantomime villain and I wasn’t a fan, but once we meet Megan’s family, I started to have doubts over what I had thought they would be like and my hopes for a re-connection between them and Megan were lifted just a little bit…

I think what drew me to this book the most was the wonderful group of characters who made me smile, laugh, swoon, cry and every little thing in between. I had so much respect for Megan as a person and as a mother. She has built up this incredible relationship with her daughter Skye which I imagine can’t have been the easy thing to do considering her own mother wasn’t the best role model in that aspect. Megan has created and worked hard for the best possible life for Skye and the bond between them both is lovely to read. Skye is a serious gem of a character. She’s inquisitive, thoughtful and huge fun. Every scene with Skye saw me with a big grin on my face because she livened Megan’s life (and the book) up and brought such happiness simply with her presence. She was an intelligent little girl but also quite cheeky with it and she was also so adoringly accepting of circumstance, aware that Megan and Heather’s relationship was tough, aware that her life could have been different with a father but at the same time, more than happy to have been brought up just by her caring mum. I think every parent would love a relationship with their child similar to Megan and Skye’s. They weren’t just mother and daughter, they were best friends and every day brought another little memory to treasure.

Another thing I loved was how this book so effortlessly led us between the past and the present without me feeling like it was badly paced or difficult to keep up with. Going back in time really gives the reader a great insight into why it’s such a big deal for Megan to go spend Christmas with her parents who she hasn’t been in contact with for ten years. By going back and forth in time, we also get to meet the character of Lucas, the boyfriend Megan also left behind ten years previously. Though Megan’s memories of her mum were mostly tinged with sadness, her memories of Lucas were mostly the opposite – full of fun, laughter and what appeared to be some of the happiest moments of her teenage years. So given that, I was wondering if Lucas might make a little appearance in this book once Megan had gone back home and I was so excited when he did. I adored Lucas’ character. I think the only person who loved him more than I did was Skye, who warmed to him straight away, despite Megan’s reluctance as she tried to avoid dragging up the past by meeting people she knew back then. But I was full of hope she’d make an exception for Lucas and the more we got to know his kind-of rock-star personality, I fell for him even more. The characters of Megan, Lucas and Skye were some of my favourites from a whole host of books I’ve read this year.

I’m starting to think it’s impossible for A.L. Michael to write a book I won’t like, as Driving Home for Christmas is another fantastic novel from one of my new favourite authors. The characterisation in this book blew all my expectations away. Every single one of the characters were so brilliantly delivered and we get to make our own perceptions on each of them rather than it being forced upon us that they’re the bad guys or otherwise. Some characters surprised me in that I had expected one thing from them and yet my perceptions changed all throughout the book and I can’t even express how nice it was to read a book which flowed and unfolded so naturally. I think this book is perfect for the festive season, a sensitive yet uplifting story to snuggle up with in front of the fire on a cold winter’s day. Having said that, it must be read at any time of the year because it’s such a delightful read and not a book to be limited by season. It’s full of depth and well-crafted characters who we see develop across the pages and Driving Home for Christmas is easily one of my all-time favourite festive novels.

An emotional, beautifully delivered book about family and the importance of making things right whilst you still have the chance


  1. I loved this book, it's one of my all time favourite Christmas books. Great review!

    1. Mine too, it's a gorgeous story. Thanks!


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