The Christmas Forest | By Rebecca Boxall
About the Author
Rebecca Boxall was inspired to write by her favourite author Rosamunde Pilcher. She grew up in a vicarage and her works reflect that part of her life according to her own words. She has written three bestseller novels based on the Christmas theme. This book, The Christmas forest, is a holiday romance novella.
Enid lives in her cottage next to her very protective sister Bess in Jersey. Enid has Asperger's syndrome and prefers the comfort and warmth of her quiet home and the company of her hedgehogs and cats to a festive social life. But this Christmas, she got an invitation from a special friend Fred who lives in Australia. Fred, on the other hand, was going through a hard time himself and felt drawn to Enid’s personality.
To Enid, making this trip is a life-altering decision. Will she stay back in her comfort zone? Or will she take a leap of faith and go on a journey of a lifetime?
I reaceived this book as an e-ARC from NetGalley. Thank You NetGalley, the author and the publishers for providing me with a copy of The Christmas Forest.
Narrative and plot
The narrative shifts between Enid, Bess, and Fred. I enjoy reading multiple narrative books because it gives into insight about what is going inside each character’s mind and how they perceive every turn of events. Somehow it makes the story more complete. For a novella, the plot was stronger than what I had anticipated. If you ignore the little bit of dragging that happened in the first part, the plot was just fine. In the end, it is heart-warming and carries a message for Christmas. The allegory in the fox’s journey and the relevance of it to the main plot took me by surprise although I should have seen that one coming.
Characters and Conflict
This is a story with multiple narratives. Naturally, there is an ensemble cast here. Each main character had a distinct personality and had their own inner struggle. Enid is your protagonist who you root for from the first page. I don’t know anyone with Asperger’s syndrome but this book seemed to know what it was talking about. Enid’s reaction to her situations and her routine all seemed real as if this is how a person with that kind of a syndrome would behave. Bess was strong on the outside but inside she had her own insecurities but she had to be the one in charge ever since the sisters lost their parents. The book addresses this and that adds beauty to Bess’s character even more.
Fred was a grounded character. He had his flaws but in the end, he came through. The other characters were all believable too except for Nigel. He was just plain from the beginning to end. Except for him, we don’t have a complete antagonist in here. However, all the characters had their struggles. Every single conflict was dealt with carefully.
This is a nice and warm holiday read, the one you can read with some light Christmas music on. I know I did and enjoyed the experience. It emphasizes the goodness that we yearn for, in this time of the year.