What they say: Miranda did not put adventure on her Christmas list, but thanks to her eighty-five-year-old neighbor Joy, that’s exactly what she’s getting this year. When Joy tells Miranda that she plans to drive an old RV decked out in Christmas decorations from their Chicago neighborhood to her new retirement digs in Phoenix–in the dead of winter, no less–the much younger Miranda insists that Joy cannot make such a trip by herself. Besides, a crazy trip with Joy would be more interesting than another Christmas home alone. Unemployed and facing foreclosure, Miranda feels she has nothing to lose by packing a bag and heading off to Route 66. But Joy has a hidden agenda for their Christmas joyride–and a hidden problem that could derail the whole venture.
No one captures the heartwarming fun of the Christmas season quite like Melody Carlson. Fasten your seat belt, because it’s going to be an exciting ride!
The review: This book tells the story of Joy Jorgenson, an eighty-five year old lady who is moving to an assisted living facility to be near her sons. Joy has a blog named ‘Christmas Joy,’ which she works on with the help of her neighbour, Miranda. After running a competition on the blog, she chooses six winners and decides to have one big final adventure before she is moved to the home. Miranda has been down on her luck, putting it mildly, she has lost her job, her husband has left her and admits to Joy that her house is about to be taken away from her. Joy convinces her to accompany her and Miranda begrudgingly agrees and soon they’re off in a decorated camper van (see cover of book!) to see Route 66 and stop in on each of their winners, with a Christmas surprise for each that will change all of their lives.
First to the cover. I really loved the cover, it grabbed me and wouldn’t let go! I also loved the idea of this Santa Clause type lady and her sidekick heading off into the unknown to help those less fortunate. I appreciated the way Miranda changed and became more positive as the trip went on, thinking on her feet when problems arose. I did, however, find Miranda to be slightly pious at times, and a little preachy. I also found Joy to be too positive, I didn’t dislike her, and I found her idea, planning and determination to see it through brilliant, but she was a little too bright (it could say something about me, though!)
In terms of the writing I was nervous as I had decided from the start that this would no doubt be a tear jerker, but unfortunately it didn’t totally move me, which sounds slightly harsh, especially given the fact that it was made clear at the start that Joy was not in the best of health. The ending was quite sudden and only succeeded in making me feel like a cynic. I think perhaps the problem was that the short length of the book, and the fact that there was so much for them to do, did not allow for enough description. I would have loved to have enjoyed this more, but as they say, there’s a book out there for everyone, and unfortunately we didn’t click.
All in all, a lovely book for people who like them very warm and fuzzy, that will no doubt get people in the Christmas mood.
Thanks to NetGalley and Revell division of the Baker Publishing group for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Rating: 3/5 (Not for me but definitely for others!)