About the book, Christmas at the Cabin
- Publication date : November 24, 2023
- Language : English
A festive, coming-of-age tale about an Oxbridge candidate and a young homeless man who find themselves in the bittersweet predicament of falling in love with exactly the right person at exactly the wrong time.
Well-to-do Jed never imagined he’d end up homeless, but family circumstances have made it his only option. Local vicar, Ben, tries to help him but there’s an element of self-punishment to the homelessness that makes Jed continue to put up with his situation – until disaster leads him to re-consider the vicar’s offer of a place to stay.
Hattie is on the cusp of adulthood, frantically trying to persuade her mum that she doesn’t want to attend an elite university, preferring the idea of pursuing her love of art and textiles. When she meets Jed, she badly wants to understand his circumstances and why, when she has everything at her fingertips, he doesn’t.
Hattie’s mum, Christine, has had a hard life and is desperate for more for her only child. When she meets Ben, the vicar who’s trying to help Jed, she finds an unlikely ally, and the two heartbroken souls find themselves drawn to each other. Until they find their relationship suddenly tested to the limit.
One thing’s for certain: none of these characters is looking forward to Christmas. It’s the worst time of year for each of them, for different reasons. But perhaps this year, the festive season could defy all expectations.
Rebecca Boxall is the award-nominated author of five bestselling novels – Christmas at the Vicarage, Home for Winter, Christmas on the Coast, The Christmas Forest and Christmas by the Lighthouse. She is also the author of Christmas at the Farmhouse and her popular short story, A Winter’s Day.
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About the author, Rebecca Boxall
Rebecca Boxall was born in East Sussex in 1977 and grew up in a bustling vicarage always filled with family, friends and parishioners. She now lives by the sea in Jersey with her family and Rodney the cat. She read English at the University of Warwick before she trained as a lawyer and more recently worked at a psychiatric unit.
She is the No. 1 bestselling author of Christmas at the Vicarage and Christmas on the Coast as well as the bestselling writer of Home for Winter, The Christmas Forest, and Christmas by the Lighthouse, in respect of which she was nominated for the Romantic Novel Awards in 2020. She is also the author of Christmas at the Farmhouse and her popular short story, A Winter’s Day.
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Rebecca Boxall’s latest novel, The Christmas Cabin is the kind of novel that balances an uplifting story with the gritty reality of contemporary life. Told in alternating first-person chapters from each of the four main characters, Hattie, Jed, Christine, and Ben, it a book that gives us four journeys of self-realization that intertwine to form a satisfying whole with just enough holiday warmth to leave the readers smiling.
Each of the main character is one melody in a literary medley that includes a coming-of-age story, a mother-daughter story, a second-chance story, and a second-chance romance, but none of those through-lines exists in a vacuum. Hattie’s relationship with her mother, Christine, influences her choices when she meets the homeless guitarist, Jed and his dog Lola. Ben the Vicar’s past relationships informs his behavior with Christine, whom he first encounters in a sidewalk accident, and later identifies as Hattie’s mother. Jed’s personal history affects his ability to accept help from Ben. And yet, in the near-perfect confluence of events in the days that lead up to Christmas these four people merge their disparate stories into a perfect holiday chorus.
What I loved about this novel was the fact that even though it’s very much a holiday tale, everything is grounded in emotional truth. Santa isn’t granting wishes; each character has to identify and achieve their own goal without magical help, but with the help of community and family, both biological and chosen.
Author Boxall has given us a perfectly paced plot, with vibrant characters. Especially deft is her use of dialogue. Hattie and Christine speak differently than Ben and Jed, even when those differences are subtle. Similarly, her descriptions are enough to let us imagine the scenes – the comfortable bedroom of teenaged Hattie, the crackling fire and cozy couches at the vicarage, and the bitter-cold streets of the Jersey streets. At the same time, though, because this is a Christmas story, the edges are softened a little, as if we’re seeing everything through a filtered lens..
Overall, this was a compelling read – I devoured it in one day – with vibrant characters who feel as dimensional as real people.
Goes well with chunky vegetable soup, crusty bread, and red wine.