with Mary Alice Monroe's Newest Release
Mary Alice Monroe's newest novel,
A Lowcountry Christmas, isn't your average love story. There's no childhood friend that reappears or a mysterious woman who moves into town, but instead the story of a family's love and their struggle to discover the strength of their family bond. There is no doubt this book will pull at your heartstrings and evoke a few happy tears.
The McClellan family is struggling through financial distress and Christmas is looking bleak. Miller is distraught, as he knows his family's problems, but wants nothing more than Sandy, the yellow lab puppy he's bonded with. Instead, his older brother's homecoming after being wounded in the war is supposed to be the family's Christmas present. When his brother Taylor arrives suffering from PTSD, everything takes a turn for the worse. As Miller's mother and father struggle to deal with Taylor's disorder, Taylor's service dog Thor arrives rubbing salt in Miller's wound. He decides to take matters into his own hands and tests the family's bond.
The insight into Taylor's experiece with PTSD is an eye-opener, as we learn how much our wounded warriors suffer.. And, of course, who couldn't relate to a little boy who desperately wants a puppy; we've all been there. Last, but certainly not least, Miller's mother, Jenny, plays a strong role in the book and battles to keep her family healthy and whole.
I was excited to learn that I was the first person to review this book for Mary Alice, and after finishing it in just over 24 hours—and yes, I did work that day—I give it a resounding "must-read."
"Taylor's character is inspired by a serviceman I met while working with the Wounded Warrior Project Odyssey at the Dolphin Research Center. He took the time to share with me why his service dog meant so much to him. As he spoke, his hand was on his dog’s head and neck, stroking and petting as a touchstone. I could readily see the strong connection between them and was inspired. Since then, I’ve talked to many organizations across the United States that provide trained service dogs to returning veterans suffering from PTSD and/or traumatic brain injury. I am in awe of the life-changing work they do." -Mary Alice Monroe
As far as 10-year-old Miller McClellan is concerned, it’s the worst Christmas ever. His father’s shrimp boat is docked, his mother is working two jobs, and with finances strained, Miller is told they can’t afford the dog he desperately wants. “Your brother’s return from war is our family’s gift,” his parents tell him. But when Taylor returns with PTSD, family strains darken the holidays.
Then Taylor’s service dog arrives—a large black Labrador/Great Dane named Thor. His brother even got the dog! When Miller goes out on Christmas Eve with his father’s axe, determined to get his family the tree they can’t afford, he takes the dog for company—but accidentally winds up lost in the wild forest. The splintered family must come together to rediscover their strengths, family bond and the true meaning of Christmas.
See Mary Alice Monroe at the Pat Conroy Literary Festival in Beaufort S.C. October 20-23. (See page 19 for more information.)
New York Times Bestselling Author of The Summer Girls. Mary Alice Monroe is the author of nearly two dozen novels, several non-fiction titles, and children’s books. Her body of work reflects her commitment to the natural world through literature. Monroe has served on the faculty of numerous writer’s conferences and retreats. She is a featured speaker at events, both literary and conservation.