Saturday, November 08, 2008
'Tis the Season!
No, I'm not jumpstarting the Christmas season with Lorna Landvik's 'Tis the Season! Although the climax of Landvik's latest novel is in December, it's a story that covers five months, and a lifetime of change.
It's a book that won't suit every reader, since it's told through email. And, for quite a while, the reader isn't even sure who some of the email writers are. But, Landvik brings the writers together, through one character.
Caroline Dixon (Caro) is a poor little rich girl. At twenty-six, she's a wealthy heiress, one of those women famous for having money, and nothing else. She drinks too much, and has been caught in the media drinking and making a mess of her life. She's a favorite target of gossip rags, particularly the "Here's Buzz" column in Star Gazer magazine. When Caro's snarky apology letter is printed in the column, her friends turn on her, and she reaches a new low.
From her past, she has two old friends, Astrid, a former nanny, now living in Norway, and Cyril, the owner of a dude ranch in Arizona, who remember her as a troubled thirteen-year-old. As Caro struggles with her problems, these two reach out, first to Caro, and then to others.
Caro is a pitiful character at the start of 'Tis the Season!, right out of today's tabloids. However, Astrid and Cyril know the pain that brought Caro to her present lifestyle. Landvik slowly unwraps secrets, Caro's, Astrid's, and Cyril's, to reveal three people who have been hurt by life. Beneath those secrets are special people, whose lives are gifts to each other, and to other people.
The ending to Landvik's story might seem a little pat, but 'Tis the Season! for those magical, enjoyable endings.
'Tis the Season! by Lorna Landvik. Ballantine Books, ©2008. ISBN 978-0-345-49975-2 (hardcover), 226p.