I’m delighted to share my review of Jan Sikes’s ‘Mountain Laurel Christmas’ novella – a book that can be thoroughly enjoyed all year round! Her latest book ‘Jagged Feathers’ is released on 1st February and I also look forward to reading this romantic thriller novel!
In ‘Mountain Laurel Christmas’ the reader is immediately drawn into the psyche of Cole Knight. Although a rich and famous musician he is still a troubled and tortured soul who cannot escape the tragedies of his childhood.
As Cole finishes yet one more night at the Grand Ole Opry the past overwhelms him again and he seeks solace with drinks in a bar by himself. He is not alone for long as a reporter seeks him out for an interview about Cole’s background.
What follows in the next chapter is a clever ‘non-interview’ interview where Cole responds to the reporter’s questions – but only in his thoughts! Quickly the truth is revealed; the death of his father and soon after his mother, which left him orphaned at the tender age of twelve. Meanwhile, his brother Timmy, who was ‘ … born different. They said his brain never developed the way it should’ was taken into care. A brother who is soon eighteen years old. The disparate family also includes his older sister April. Throughout his adult life, Cole has failed to keep a promise made to his father ‘on everything holy and sacred, to take care of Mama, April and Timmy if anything happened to him.’
The deluge of memories provides a fascinating and intense insight into Cole’s route to success. Music became his saviour and at the family shack at Cumberland Mountains he’d play his guitar and sing ‘to the fish that jumped out of the water, turtles that sunned on a log, and frogs that leaped from stone to stone’.
In sharp contrast to the past remembrances is the immediacy of Cole’s first-person direct and personable thoughts and actions of the current days. The present tense helps the reader to feel understanding and sympathy with Cole.
Finally, at his lowest point Cole, discovers a yellowed envelope.
Can this help Cole finally find redemption? Can the grief and guilt that has plagued him his adult life finally be laid to rest? Can he reunite his family and in the process heal himself?
‘Mountain Laurel Christmas’ is a compelling and engaging book and I was immediately immersed within the world of country and western as well as within Cole’s and his family and friends’ lives.
The characters by Jan Sikes are imbued with humanity and warmth, their failings are depicted with compassion, their successes are celebrated with love! She is a natural of the novella format, one I do not tend to read but I am now thoroughly converted to it! I look forward to reading more of her novellas and can highly recommend ‘Mountain Laurel Christmas’.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Publisher : RiJan Publishing (November 18, 2021)
About Jan Sikes
Jan Sikes is an award-winning author & Texan Wordsmith who weaves stories in a creative and entertaining way. She has been called a magician and wordsmith extraordinaire by her readers and peers. She writes in various book genres including Biographical Fiction, Poetry, Short Stories, Paranormal Romance.
Jan is a member of the Author’s Marketing Guild, The Writer’s League of Texas, Romance Writers of America, Story Empire, and the Paranormal Writer’s Guild. Furthermore, She is an active blogger, sharing anything bookish, supporting indie music artists and metaphysical subjects! Read more about Jan Sikes, her books, writings and music on her website and blog. Connect with Jan on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and BookBub.