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 bookJagged 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

Available: Amazon US Amazon UK

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.

Finally, do also take a look at Jan’s latest release – out on 1st February 2022!!


  1. Hi annika, this author was new to me and I added her latest book (jagged feathers) to my TBR pile – but this one sounds good and I like the idea of interview replying with his thoughts like that – also, Jan sounds like a great wordsmith – um, I mean Texan Wordsmith – need to get that write – I mean right – hahahah

    1. 😀 I think you’ve got that right now, Yvette! 😀 I’m happy to have introduced you to Jan and piqued your interest in Jagged Feathers! So often there is a duality between what we say to someone and what we would really like to answer – the author captured this brilliantly in the section of the interview – and in the meantime provided an excellent portion of the back story!

    1. Jacquie, thank you so much! The relationship between the brothers was incredibly touching and brilliantly portrayed – the final scenes were emotional and joyful! It’s wonderful how many have read this book and I’m delighted for Jan! Have a great weekend! xx

  2. What a wonderful review of a wonderful book that I read right around Christmas time! But as you said it does not have to be Christmas to read this Novella. I also don’t read many Novellas but now I think I could be hooked. Maybe it’s an idea for you and me to write one as well! 💗

    1. Pam, it’s lovely that you also enjoyed this novella and Jan is excelling at convincing many of us to turn to this format to read … and maybe write! Let’s see what the year brings and I’ll look out for news from you! ❤️😀

    1. Miriam, it’s lovely you’ve read some of Jan’s other books and I’m sure you’d enjoy this one just as much! I realise I have some catching up to do with her other books! Happy Reading, my friend! xx ❤️

  3. Thanks, dear Annika, for this little review. It sounds like this book is written in the monologue interieur style. The style sounds interesting. I’ll have a look at it.
    All the best
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

        1. Klausbernd, it’s great you liked my review and this has prompted you to acquire a copy of the book. Enjoy!

          Wishing you all a wonderful day – hope the sun is shining for you in Cley as well. 😀

    1. It is a joy to share about Jan and her work here and she is indeed a gifted writer and storyteller! I look forward to reading more of her books! 😀 Thank you for your lovely comment! 😀

  4. Oh my goodness, Annika! Your review left me breathless and shedding a few tears. When we create stories, we never know how they will be interpreted by the reader. Your review made every effort to create Mountain Laurel Christmas worthwhile, and then some. My heart overflows! Thank you!

    1. Jan, it was a joy to read your book and a pleasure to share through this review! I’m not surprised it is so popular and hope it finds new readers! Wishing you a wonderful rest of Sunday … now breath deep and find those tissues! 😀❤️

  5. I really enjoyed this book, Annika. I think it’s my favorite of Jan’s so far. It was such a heartwarming story about family. Great characters, excellent pace, and so relatable. Your review was wonderful.

    1. Diana, thank you so much – as always it’s a matter of capturing the essence and heart of a book whilst giving a feel of the story and characters. It’s great you also enjoyed this book so much and you are so right that it has ‘Great characters, excellent pace, and so relatable’ I can’t wait to read her next one!😀

        1. I love how you managed to give the main character not one, not two BUT three names and it all worked perfectly and fell brilliantly into place reflecting his various stages in his life.

    1. Andrea, it was a brilliant start and I imagine so many have dreamed or have visited the Grand Ole Opry! Jan superbly brings the reader into the troubled psyche of Cole Knight and then with a deft touch weaves in the back story whilst quickly moving forwards. A terrific writer!

    1. Jo, it’s lovely you’re heading over to her blog to say hi! Jan is wonderfully friendly and supportive. As well a great writer she helps indie writers with her fantastic reviews. Furthermore, I’ve become a huge fan of her Monday Meditation, tarot readings etc … Enjoy your visit! 😀

    1. Bless! Thank you so much, Khaya – I’m smiling that my passion and interest of the books I review comes through so well! This is a real joy to read and set in a part of the world I am keen to visit sometime!

    1. Jill, exactly! A book for any time of the year and I’m glad you feel just the same! Jan is indeed a beautiful writer and writes with a deft touch — I was immediately transported to Cole Knight’s world! Thank you for your lovely comment and hope you’re having a good start to the year. xx

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