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
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.
164 thoughts on “MOUNTAIN LAUREL CHRISTMAS: A BOOK REVIEW”
What a wonderful review Annika of Jan’s book! Thanks for sharing it with us! 💖🌈
My pleasure to read the book and share my review here, Cindy! A book for the whole year! xx ❤️🎈
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
😀 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!
Wonderful review, Annika! It sounds like a good read!
Thank you, Luanne! If you decide to read it, I hope you enjoy it!
Luanne, it is a great read and so glad you enjoyed the review! 😀 Wishing you a wonderful Sunday! x
Thank you!! You too!
Wonderful review, Annika. I enjoyed this story by Jan, as well. especially the relationship between the two brothers ❤
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
Thank you, Jacquie!
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! 💗
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! ❤️😀
Yay! I love it when I inspire someone! 🙂
To learning and writing new ways! xo
Awwww, thank you, Pamela, for your kind words! I appreciate you taking the time to add your recommendation.
What a fantastic review, Annika. Mountain Laurel Christmas sounds like a great read. Toni x
Toni, thank you so much and it definitely is a great read! A joy to share here! 😀 Hope you’re doing okay. xx
Thank you, Toni! I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and take a look!
Hello, Annika, this is a wonderful review. I do appreciate your detailed and in-depth reviews and this sounds lovely. I have another of Jan’s book rising to the top of my TBR.
Robbie, your comment means a lot to me, thank you so much! 😀 🙏Is that Jan’s latest book which is heading to the top of your TBR?! I
I think its her first book, Stone and Flowers. I’ve been wanting to read it for ages.
Awesome! I am honored! “Flowers and Stone” launched my writing career!
Thank you, Robbie! I’m thrilled that you have one of my books rising to the top of your TBR list!
Thank you for your wonderful review, Annika! I’ve read some of Jan’s books and loved them. I’m sure I’ll love this one. ❤
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 ❤️
I have a lot of catching up to do with many many books on my Kindle, Annika. Story Teller is waving at me! ❤
Thank you, Miriam!
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
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
Thank you for your comment, Klausbernd! I hope you enjoy the story should you pick it up!
I hope so too 😉 I have asked my secretary to get this book for me.
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. 😀
Yes, it is, dear Annika. We have bright sunshine for many days now 🌞
Wishing you a wonderful afternoon
The Fab Four of Cley
🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂
A fabulous review to share, Annika. Thank you! Bravo to Jan! 🙂
Natalie, a pleasure to share here and thank you so much! 😀
Thank you so much for leaving a comment, Natalie! I appreciate you!
Wonderful review. Now I need to read the book.;)
Pat, thank you so much and enjoy! 😀
Thank you, Pat! I’d be honored!
Thanks for sharing your review, Annika. I haven’t read a novella in a while and this one sounds intriguing. 😊
Jennifer, I wonder if novellas are becoming more popular again. Since reading this one I’ve come across quite a few other ones. Enjoy if you have a chance to read it!
Thank you, Jennifer! I do hope you enjoy the story should you pick it up!
A lovely review for Jan’s book Annika. I enjoy Jan’s books immensely. Hugs ❤
Thank you so much, Debby and lovely to meet another fan of Jan and her books!
Thank you for your wonderfully kind words, Debby, and for stopping by!
Wonderful review, Annika. Such a lovely story by Jan. Great post.
Thank you, Kamal! I appreciate you stopping by and leaving a comment! Hugs!
You are always welcome dear Jan 😊😊😊 Hugs to you too
Kamal, thank you so much! 😀❤️
You are always welcome Annika 🙏🏻❤️
Lovely review, Annika. I really enjoyed this story, too. Thanks for sharing.
Thank you for adding your recommendation, Staci! Much appreciated!
Staci, it’s wonderful to see so many fans of this book and Jan’s work! So glad you enjoyed the review! Thank you! xx
Great review, Annika. Thank you for sharing this with us!
My pleasure, Donna! 😀 Thank you!
Thank you for taking the time to read the review and leave a comment, Donna! Much appreciated!
Thank you for introducing us to Jan’s novella. Sometimes a short novel is just the thing.
Nicki, that’s so true and I was amazed by detail, depth and characters of the novella – gifted writing indeed!
I agree, Nicki. Sometimes that’s all a story needs. Thank you for stopping by!
Great review; thanks for the suggestion.
Thank you so much, Lynette and it’s a joy to share here! 😀
Thank you for stopping by, Lynette!
Thanks for the review and bringing Jan’s book to our attention.
Rosaliene, thank you very much! 😀
Thank you for taking the time to read the review and leave a comment today, Rosaliene! Much appreciated!
Thank you for sharing your review, Annika. Jan is a wonderful storyteller. I’m glad to see others are discovering her talents.
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! 😀
Thank you for the kind words, Beem!
What a wonderful review Annika! Congratulations to Jan.
Balroop, thank you so much! 😀
Thank you, Balroop!!
Excellent review, Annika! Kudos to Jan and thanks to you… Sharing!
Thank you very much, Bette and it’s great with all your support & shares! Hugs xx ❤️
Always a pleasure Annika! ❤ Have a blessed and beautiful week, my friend… xo
Thank you, Bette! I appreciate you taking the time to stop by and leave a comment!
Great review, Annika! I read and very much enjoyed this story.
That’s great, Joan and thank you! 😀
Thank you so much, Joan! I appreciate your boost for this story!
I enjoyed this one, too. That’s a great review, and congratulations to Jan.
Craig, it’s great you also enjoyed this book so much and thank you for your lovely comment about my review!
Thank you, Craig! I appreciate the boost!
Great review, Annika 🙂 I loved this story too!
Thank you for the recommendation, Denise! I appreciate it!
Thank you so much, Denise and wonderful to see this book is so well-loved! Deservingly so! 😀
Great review, Annika. Congratulations to Jan.
Thank you for leaving a comment and sharing, John!
John, thank you so much and I really appreciate your comment!
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!
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! 😀❤️
I’ve just downloaded it and will give it a try.
Annelli, that’s great – enjoy! Do let me know your thoughts later! xx
Yes, I will. Thanks for letting us know about the book.
Thank you SO much, Anneli! I am deeply grateful and hope you enjoy it!
I’m sure I will, Jan. Looking forward to reading it.
We can all use some happy endings these days. This sounds good. Thanks, Annika.
Absolutely, Anneli! The world often looks so grim and this tightly written with superb characters is an uplifting and joy to read!
Thank you for those kind words, Annika!
Thank you for taking the time to leave a comment, Anneli!
Lovely review, Annika. Congratulations to Jan! Hugs to you both. 🤗
Thank you so much, Gwen! 😀 Hugs winging their way back to you. xx
Thank you, Gwen, and hugs back!
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.
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!😀
I have another of hers in my chubby kindle, Annika. So many books!
😀 I’m smiling at your chubby Kindle – full of literary treats for you! ❤️
Yes, indeed! Now to make the time. 😀
I love being part of your chubby kindle, Diana!
Ha ha ha. The thing is a porker for sure. 🙂
Thank you, Annika. Sometimes characters demand that their story be told, as was the case with Norbert, aka Andy, aka Cole!
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.
Oh, Diana, thank you for your recommendation of this story. Coming from you, that is high praise and I’m standing a little taller. Thank you for leaving a comment!
My pleasure, Jan. It’s a fabulous read. Highly recommended. ❤
Jan, I know just the feeling … praise from Diana has that affect of ensuring one grows in stature and gives oneself a pat on the back! 😀
It sounds like an interesting way to start telling the story, thanks for sharing your review Annika.
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!
Thank you, Andrea, for reading the review and leaving a comment!
You’re welcome Jan.
She sounds an interesting lady, Annika, as well as a good novelist. I’ll go and say hello. Thanks for pointing me in her direction.
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! 😀
I looked briefly at the last tarot post but don’t know enough about how they work. Something to investigate, perhaps 🤔💕
Thank you for the blog recommendation, Annika!
Oh, I’d be honored for you to say hello, Jo! And hello back to you. Thank you for leaving a comment.
Great review Annika. Jan’s story sounds thoroughly engaging, poignant, and relatable.
Thank you so much, Brad and I’m so glad my review brings across the book’s ‘engaging, poignant, and relatable’ qualities! It’s a real treat!
Yes, your review stirred my interest!
Thank you, Brad! I appreciate you taking the time to read Annika’s review and leave a comment!
My pleasure Jan!
Your reviews always make books you review irresistible. Thanks for another lovely one, and congrats to Jan!
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!
I agree with you, Khaya. Annika knows how to get to the heart of the story, then tell others about it. Thank you for stopping by!
Agreed with your review, heartily, Annika. Loved this book and I came away feeling good–my favorite feeling from a book.
Jacqui, I totally agree and that warm, happy feeling is infectious and uplifting! It’s wonderful that so many have already had the opportunity to enjoy the book!
I’ve read several of Jan’s books and always come away happier at the end. I love that in a story.
Thank you for your support, Jacqui! It means a lot.
Thank you for sharing this great review on Jan’s wonderful book! Congratulations to Jan! xx Michael
Thank you, Michael for your lovely comment and for sharing the review!
Thank you, Michael, for your comment, and for sharing Annika’s review! Much appreciated!
Congratulations to Jan on the wonderful review!
I’m glad you enjoyed the review, Liz – thank you! 😀
You’re welcome, Annika! I hope it garners Jan some new readers.
Thank you, Liz! I appreciate you taking the time to read Annika’s review and leave a comment!
You’re most welcome, Jan!
I enjoyed this book as well. A great review.
Thank you, Darlene, that’s great and another quick chance to revisit it!
Thank you for your boost, Darlene! Much appreciated!
Lovely review, Annika. I enjoyed Mountain Laurel Christmas. It was a perfect read for any time of the year. Jan is a beautiful writer. Thanks for sharing, Annika.
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
Thank you for your beautiful words, Jill. I am deeply grateful for your support and am so glad you also enjoyed Mountain Laurel Christmas!
Annika, this sounds brilliant and exactly like something I’d want to read! Thanks for sharing x
Charley, only too happy to share about the book here and great that it’s piqued your interest! 😀
Thank you, Charley, for taking the time to read Annika’s review and leave a comment. If you decide to read it, I sincerely hope you enjoy it!
I hope to be able to get my hands on a copy!
Annika, thanks for the introduction to Jan Sikes.
My pleasure, Bernadette! 😀 Jan is a wonderful and versatile writer!
Hello, Bernadette! It’s great to meet you here at Annika’s place! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!
Bless … Jan, I like the sound of Annika’s place! ❤️😀