FESTIVE BOOK REVIEW: Coming Home For Christmas by Julia Williams

Imagine This: There’s an imminent construction of a hotel complex in your homely small town about to ruin everything your community stands for: love, neighbourliness and giving a helping hand to the mentally disturbed.

Of course, you would do anything to halt these construction works, call up town meetings, gather feisty senior citizens to line up for a protest, use unconventional methods that come to mind. Because, your farm is going down, and these planners want to rip you off your family land for their giant hotel complex. Never mind the idea of a spa is really far-removed from the mind of a farmer’s wife whose cuticles are constantly trapped with grit and bits of cow teats (for when they are getting uncooperative).

Except you are no more a farmer’s wife.

You and your husband are on the verge of a finalized divorce if only you can ever get around to mailing the untouched papers to his solicitor. At a time where you need him most, he just wants out and you are left with no option but to champion your protests, save the bankruptcy your farm is at the brink of lest you sell to the Hotel Complex Sharks, look for support from your boyfriend who thinks you’d be better off in London as a fundraiser ball organizer wife, deal with your daughter who has cerebral palsy and is against your current love interest.

At least, you have you have your friends to help. But not when they have problems of their own.

Cat’s been dropped off local television because she’s incapable of losing baby weight and is getting too old for camera retouching (on a cookery programme?!). Marianne’s husband’s ex is back in the picture with her mental disease that drives away her husband’s attention from her, Marianne, and just when things are looking up, there enters Marianne’s fiancĂ©e who jilted her on the day of their wedding. (Too many exes her life could qualify as extreme porn with a parental guidance notice).

Someone help save your town before the Yummy Mummies, who are just a different breed of farmer’s wives the sight of whom are so surprising, sell up the town just so they could have that much-needed massage and manicure they’d have to drive all the way to the cities to have. And really what about your personal problems? Oh, this Christmas…

Pippa Soon-To-Be-Not-Holliday’s dilemma summed for your entertainment.

I loved this book. So you know in my review, I’d be telling you to shove that Christmas Cake out the window and go get it! (Really, haven’t you had enough of calories already?)

The storyline is amazing. Three friends trying to stabilize their family, their love lives and prevent their town from being transformed into one of those places where filming of Real Housewives of You-Never-Mind-Naming-There takes place. Lovely. A star to the story-line.── ★

I adored the three main leads in this title. All strong women except for when they are worrying too much about ageing quickly, dealing with a divorce and being suspicious of a doting husband. You see now they are much like you? Beautiful characters! Marriane, Pippa and Cat. With different story-lines that appeal to readers immensely. No way you’d read the point-of-view of a character and doze off (... unless your family has driven you nuts on Christmas Day). I felt this book should have been titled Farmers’ Wives, because isn’t it a nice change to read about women very much settled in their country environs and helping out their husbands with cattle? Anyway, these are fab characters you can’t help but keep rooting for. A star to them.── ★★

You would find out this is a marvellous festive read. I did find out after this title, not all books you enjoy should put you at the edge of your (toilet) seat. Like this, they should be filled with warmth that helps you relax during these hectic Christmas preparations you’d be braving through. (If you are looking for a novel that would make you skid off your toilet seat… really, beware your head doesn’t crash against your tiled floor) Marvellous plot!

Other characters in this book made it special too. Miss Woods, a senior citizen with her guerrilla methods towards protesting. Batty Jack and his very commendable unconventional methods of driving away the hotel constructors. The (ex) husbands, Dan, Noel, Gabriel who were the rocks of our main characters. Luke Nicholas, Marriane’s ex, and his penchant to head every program that calls for the ruin of Hope Christmas. The children, Mel (Cat’s daughter juggling motherhood with education and a successful blog and book), Paige (Cat’s teenage daughter who’s more into snap-chatting that she’d snap at anyone who tries to make a degrading comment about her habit), Lou Lou (Cat’s year-old granddaughter who’s so adorable any reader would be tempted to stay off contraceptives), James (Cat’s son whose motto in life is to live like you are never writing any exams the following day), Lucy (Pippa’s cerebral palsy daughter who has so much attitude it’s a good thing she cannot talk. Ouch, bad thing to say, I know) Harry and Daisy (Marriane’s toddler twins who visit the loo so much you’d not be wise not to think they might end up with jobs that would make their visits more permanent). Oh, and Ralph Nicholas and Michael who are always at the right place at the right time to offer a helping hand. Angela, Cat’s mother-in-law], the Yummy-Mummies… oh, I could go on and on!── ★★★

I loved the presentation of this piece. From January to December and years in between that had a significant incident happening during one Christmas, Julia Williams wows readers with a portrait that isn’t too unfamiliar with their normal lives.── ★★★★

There were moments I guffawed so much. Especially during the final protest that led to senior citizens, and lots of mummies being apprehended by the cops.── ★★★★★

Did I love, love, this book? Yes, I did. But it had a bit of a shaky start. Though getting into the book so I could only push this thought to the back of my mind, I still have to slash one of its stars.

So my rating: 4.5 stars/five.

Julia Williams’ latest, Coming Home For Christmas (which I really wished it was titled Coming Hope For Christmas because the characters did need lots of hope to pull through) is available on amazon.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants a festive read that champions a good cause, speaks on dense themes of loss, marital problems, mental illness you could relate to, and anyone who needs a miracle this Christmas (for Hope Christmas is the centre for all things miraculous). (Oh, plus if you are considering getting off that contraceptive, pick this title. Way too many adorable children).

My work not done here. Off to post my review on Goodreads.


  1. Holy wow, sounds like Julia has created an entire soap opera - yum!

    1. There goes your Christmas Cake, I suppose.

      Thanks for stopping by.