Joy to the world! Milly Johnson has a Christmas book out and it’s a cracker – sorry, couldn’t resist! Much of the book takes place in a Christmas cracker factory run by Annie and her husband Joe. Rather unexpectedly, and to their great delight, she finds herself pregnant for the first time at 48. The local doctor has the idea to have a club for expectant mothers due around Christmas time – the Christmas Pudding Club. I must say I think that sounds like a splendid idea as it can be a worrying time being pregnant. It would be great to have mums-to-be at the same stage to chat with, as well as the kind reassuring midwives we meet in this book.
At the club, Annie meets young single-mum-to-be Palma. She became pregnant as part of a surrogacy arrangement which has gone horribly wrong when the couple split up. Despite the difficulties this might cause her, she is determined to make a better life for herself and her baby. Her scenes were amongst the most poignant in the book. The third main character is Eve, happily married to Jacques and running a winter theme park together – and also unexpectedly pregnant. Her story may seem the most straightforward of the three ladies but with a winter wedding planned just a few days before her due date, things might not go quite to plan…
Now, if you have read lots of Milly Johnson’s books you may recognise some of the characters as some have appeared in previous books. This book is a standalone story though so don’t worry – even if it’s your first Milly Johnson book, you’ll keep up no problem. And lucky you, you’ll have lots of her previous books to catch up on!
I loved reading this very funny, uplifting book with all the wonderfully drawn characters. The support and friendship between the women was fantastic. There is so much that any woman who has had a child will remember from having their babies from the wonderful, to the worrying, to the funny, to the downright embarrassing! Milly Johnson has a real talent for creating characters who feel like totally authentic people you could meet when you pop out to the shops. She creates scenes and situations you can identify with or easily imagine if you haven’t experienced, and makes you think how you would respond if you were in her characters’ shoes.
The book is thought provoking as well though making you consider more serious issues such as organ donation and how that can make a difference not just to the recipient but can also bring some comfort to the donor’s family. Social issues are also explored though another character who is making a difference in the lives of young people in his community, having come from a difficult background himself but given the opportunity to better himself.
I can’t finish this review without mentioning the snippets from the local paper, The Daily Trumpet. The corrections and apologies included were hilarious with even some of the corrections having glaring errors. I’m surprised the paper had any money left with everything they kept paying out by way of apology!
The Mother of All Christmases is a fabulous, feel-good festive read and I loved spending time with The Christmas Pudding Club. I’ll remember these characters for a long time.
Although not really a part of the book, I have to say that the cracker jokes at the end are some of the best I’ve seen. I won’t spoil them all but just had to share this one: Where’s the most fun place in the Universe? The Milky Way-hey!
My thanks to the publishers Simon & Schuster for my copy of the book via Netgalley. It is available now from all the usual book retailers in paperback or you can order a Kindle copy online here: The Mother of All Christmases
From the back of the book
Eve Glace – co-owner of the theme park Winterworld – is having a baby and her due date is a perfectly timed 25th December. And she’s decided that she and her husband Jacques should renew their wedding vows with all the pomp that was missing the first time. But growing problems at Winterworld keep distracting them …
Annie Pandoro and her husband Joe own a small Christmas cracker factory, are well set up and happy together despite life never blessing them with a much-wanted child. But when Annie finds that the changes happening to her body aren’t typical of the menopause but pregnancy, her joy is uncontainable.
Palma Collins has agreed to act as a surrogate, hoping the money will get her out of the gutter in which she finds herself. But when the couple she is helping split up, is she going to be left carrying a baby she never intended to keep?
Annie, Palma and Eve all meet at the ‘Christmas Pudding Club’, a new directive started by a forward-thinking young doctor to help mums-to-be mingle and share their pregnancy journeys. Will this group help each other to find love, contentment and peace as Christmas approaches?
About the author
Milly Johnson was born, raised and still lives in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. As well as being an author of 13 published novels, 2 short story books and 2 novellas, she is also a copywriter for the greetings card industry, a joke-writer, a columnist, after dinner speaker, poet, BBC newspaper reviewer, and a sometimes BBC radio presenter.
She won the RoNA for Best Romantic Comedy Novel of 2014 and 2016 and the Yorkshire Society award for Arts and Culture 2015.
She writes about love, life, friendships and that little bit of the magic that sometimes crops up in real life. She likes owls, cats, meringues, handbags and literary gifts – but hates marzipan. She is very short.
Milly’s website is http://www.millyjohnson.co.uk. She is on Twitter @millyjohnson and has a Facebook page (just google Book Page of Milly Johnson). She also has a monthly newsletter http://www.millyjohnson.co.uk/newsletter with exclusive, news, offers and competitions.