The Christmas Escape: A Novel by Sarah Morgan
“Dreams are never a mistake. Dreams are hope. Dreams give us a reason to get up in the morning. Dreams are optimism. They’re what keep us going when things feel impossibly tough. And you can always change the dream.”
After a whirlwind romance, unexpected pregnancy, and shot-gun wedding, Christy and Seb’s relationship has been stuck in a rut as they raise their “bold, inquisitive, and adventurous” pre-school daughter, Holly. Christy tries to create the perfect family life in the country through her endless lists and unwavering schedules. Part of this dream is Christmas in Lapland and a chance to meet her long lost aunt, Robyn, who her deceased mother completing banished from their lives. Included in this trip is Christy’s life long best friend Alix, who has shared every aspect of life with Christy until she voiced her concern for Seb right before the wedding. Before she could cause irreparable harm, Alix was whisked away by Zeb’s best friend, Zac, leading to something way more intimate than Alix and Zac were prepared for. While Alix truly thought she was doing the right thing, an unspoken crack continues to work its way through the rock solid friendship Christy and Alix have shared since childhood. When Christy and Seb’s marriage appears to be crumbling before her eyes right before Christmas, she makes a spur of the moment decision to ask Alix and Zac to take Holly to Lapland a head of them, providing time for the rediscovering of more than one relationship.
Sarah Morgan encapsulates so many aspects of life and relationships in one simple story. From perceptions regarding happiness and success cultivated by experiences as children, to the priorities and expectations set for those people who are closest, to the willingness to take chances on relationships and truly see what matter most to others, The Christmas Escape includes all of these aspects of life. And just like real life, the story is filled with many intertwining events, thoughts, and emotions that makes it evident that there is no black and white solution or good and bad character but flawed people with hopes and fears and baggage and misunderstandings who ultimately just want to be loved and cherished.
“Sometimes the best things that happen in life come from the unexpected.”
Like many contemporary UK authors, Sarah takes her time revealing and building her characters and their relationships with each other. There is no quick determination of where the story is going or judgement of the characters. But, the wait is so worth it as each of the issues are unpacked and all of the characters introspectively grow in their own way giving new life to a number of relationships. In the end it is truly a heartwarming story that gives the reader many thought provoking applications to their own life. While promoted as a holiday read, considering the story revolves around a long awaited trip to Lapland for Christmas, Sarah Morgan’s The Christmas Escape is more of a story of life, love, family, and friendship and is worth reading anytime of the year.