The Christmas Company
by Alys Murray
I really wanted to like The Christmas Company by Alys Murray. I anticipated a spectacular Christmas read. This book is a modern day version of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol, the quintessential Christmas tale for many. It is published by Hallmark; how could it be less than a really good Christmas romance?
A whole town’s livelihood is built around Christmas until its benefactor passes away leaving his company in the hands of a Scrooge-like nephew. Kate has volunteered or worked for the Christmas Company since she was seven years old. With no mother and an alcoholic father, the Christmas Company became Kate’s family, and Christmas became part of her being. When Clark Woodward shuts down the festivities the day before Christmas Eve, Kate makes it her mission to get him to change his mind.
Alys Murray has a good setup for her plot. This book never captured my imagination, however. I didn’t find the characters particularly appealing. The timeline of events was confusing, as was the way the decorations were taken down, moved, and put back up by people who had just been told they were fired. Why didn’t anyone appeal to Clark’s business sense? The town had spent a year and a lot of money preparing for the Christmas events. This was their opportunity to make at least some of it back for the company. Why waste the time and money already put into the event when there could be some return on the investment if the festivities could proceed for three more days? What happened to visitors who were surely expected to participate?
Clark and Kate fall in and out of love several times during the three days we observe them. Kate’s best friends, Emily and Michael, make efforts to help her, but they seem half-hearted and not very effective. My favorite scene involves an accident at the river. It is an action scene and helps develop the characters.
The Christmas Company is a satisfactory read if you are a fan of A Christmas Carol and are looking for a Christmasy diversion. If you are expecting a world changing book or the next classic to share around the tree each year, you will be disappointed.
I would like to extend my thanks to netgalley.com and to Hallmark Publishing for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Notes: Usually the book is better than the movie, but I wonder if a good producer/director might be able to turn this around with a visual production that improves on the characters and has a good timeline.
Publication: October 16, 2018—Hallmark Publishing
It was clear He’d fallen out of love with Christmas—Kate didn’t believe anyone naturally disliked the holiday—because it’d been too long since he’d had a wonderful one.
Christmas was there to celebrate the birth of Christ, of course. The name said as much, but because of that, not in spite of it, Christmas had to also embody all of the goodness of humanity.
“I keep Christmas with me all year long. It’s the one time of year when I find it impossible to think the worst in people. If I pretend every day is Christmas, it makes life so much easier to live. And people so much easier to love.”