‘I hope this Christmas is better than last year’s.’
Following a scandalous affair, wayward Emma Devaney is sent in disgrace from her home in Ireland to Ryhope, where she will live with her widowed aunt, Bessie Brogan, and help run her pub. Bessie is kind but firm, and at first Emma rebels against her lack of freedom. Struggling to fit in, she turns to the wrong person for comfort, and becomes pregnant.
Accepting she must embrace her new life for the sake of her baby, Emma pours her energy into making the pub thrive and helping heal the fractured relationship between Bessie and her daughters. She catches the attention of Robert, a gruff but sincere farmer, who means to win her heart.
As December approaches, thankful for the home and acceptance she’s found, Emma is determined to bring not just her family, but the whole Ryhope community, together to celebrate – and to make one very special mother’s Christmas dreams come true.
I have been a fan of Glenda’s work for a while now. I love the way in which she writes such superb historical fiction. I read the synopsis of ‘A Mother’s Christmas Wish’ and it certainly sounded like the sort of book I have come to expect from Glenda – a historical saga that is guaranteed to tug on the hardest of heartstrings. Well it was certainly all that and so much more. I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘A Mother’s Christmas Wish’ but more about that in a bit.
I absolutely loved the character of Emma Devaney and I warmed to her from the very start. In fact Emma ended up feeling like a friend rather than a character in a book. When we first meet her, she is living in Ireland but she is forced to leave for England, after becoming involved in some scandal. She lands in England and makes her way to Ryhope to live with her Aunt and help out in her pub, In some ways, Emma is a bit naive to start with and she takes people at face value. Emma soon toughens up and throws herself into making a new life for herself in Ryhope. She doesn’t find that easy but she pulls up her big girls’ pants, grits her teeth and soldiers on. I kept everything crossed that she would find the ‘happy ever after’ ending that she so deserved. What happens? Well for the answer to that question and so much more you are just going to have to read the book for yourselves to find out as I am not going to tell you.
As with all of Glenda’s books, I was drawn into the story from the very first word on the very first page. It was as if the book developed a hold over me and it was a hold that I wasn’t willing to break. My copy of the book wasn’t stuck to my hand but it might as well have been because it travelled everywhere with me. I couldn’t bear to miss a single second of the story. I had taken so well to the character of Emma and I felt all protective towards her so of course I had to keep reading to see how the story panned out for her and whether or not a certain person got their comeuppance. The more of the book that I read, the more I wanted to read and the quicker the pages seemed to turn. I became so wrapped up in the story and in the lives of the different characters that I lost all track of time and just how quickly I was getting through the book. All too quickly I reached the end of ‘A Mother’s Christmas Wish’ and I had to say goodbye to Emma and to Ryhope. I found ‘A Mother’s Christmas Wish’ to be a gripping, tense, dramatic and emotional story, which certainly kept me guessing and which kept me on the edge of my seat.
‘A Mother’s Christmas Wish’ is superbly written but then I have come to expect nothing less from Glenda Young. Glenda certainly knows how to grab the reader’s attention and draw them into what proves to be one hell of a story. For me, the story hit the ground running and maintained a fairly fast pace throughout. Glenda clearly cares about her characters and this shines through in the very vivid and realistic way in which she describes them. She makes her characters seem just as real as you and me. Glenda has done an awful lot of research into the time period in which the story takes place and this shows in the quality of her writing and makes the story seem that bit more authentic. I admit that I am biased because I am from the North East, but I love the fact that Glenda writes about the village that was Ryhope (in County Durham at the time the story is set but is now part of Tyne & Wear). I have family ties with Ryhope and reading such vivid and realistic descriptions about the area makes me feel that bit closer to my relatives who lived in Ryhope and gives me a greater appreciation of what life must have been like for them back then. Reading ‘A Mother’s Christmas Wish’ feels like being on one heck of an emotional rollercoaster ride with all the highs and lows, ups and downs, twists and turns. I love the way in which the author makes the reader feel as though they are part of the story and at the heart of the action.
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘A Mother’s Christmas Wish’ and I wholeheartedly recommend this book to other readers. ‘A Mother’s Christmas Wish’ is historical fiction at its very best and one of my top reads for 2022. The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.