It was 80 degrees here yesterday, and Halloween is a week away. A little early for a Christmas novel? Christmas novels are coming out earlier and earlier every year. Honestly? Those of us who love them enjoy them any time of year. But, Ashton Lee will be appearing at one of our libraries soon, so I kicked off this year's holiday reading with the latest charming Cherry Cola book, A Cherry Cola Christmas.
Librarian Maura Beth Mayhew has returned from her honeymoon, and has some planning to do for Cherico, Mississippi's library. For the first time in her seven years as director, she has the money to hire additional staff. Maura Beth may be happy with the library's situation, but things aren't looking rosy for Cherico. Shops are closing, which means the taxes to support the town are less. And, Councilman Durden Sparks' dreams of bringing in a factory to the town's industrial park just collapsed. Townspeople are a little suspicious after tips were stolen at The Twinkle. And, some beloved friends are losing battles with their health. "Cherico and many of its citizens were hurting and needed to feel better about themselves as the holiday season approached."
When Maura Beth's mood needs uplifting, she naturally turns to her friends and the library's Cherry Cola Book Club. She doesn't see the town's losses as the death of her beloved small town, as Councilman Sparks does, but she knows everyone can use some Christmas cheer. So, she proposes that the club members meet in December, and bring an uplifting story to share. The citizens of Cherico need to rally to support each other, and their town.
Despite the downturn in the town's economy, Ashton Lee's latest book has an optimistic, hopeful tone. It's a feel-good, reflective novel, more so even than the other books in the series. Once again, Lee gathers his appealing characters to support their beloved small Southern town. The stories told by the members of the Cherry Cola Book Club are inspirational, reminding readers how far the characters have come in their lives. The story is warm and comforting, just what a Christmas tale should be. And, it's filled with the atmospheric touches that make this Mississippi small town come to life.
When you have time to settle in for a Christmas comfort read, don't hesitate to reach for the A Cherry Cola Christmas. It's a warm, comfortable visit with old friends.
And, speaking of old friends, Ashton Lee will appear at the Red Bank Library in Evansville at 6 p.m. Tuesday, November 10. He'll talk about his recent books, The Wedding Circle and A Cherry Cola Christmas. The books will be for sale, and he'll be glad to sign them.
Readers can follow Ashton Lee at Facebook.com/ashtonlee.net
A Cherry Cola Christmas by Ashton Lee. Kensington Books. 2015. ISBN 9781617733444 (paperback), 225p.
FTC Full Disclosure - Library book