About Books #53: A Dad of His Own

You guys. It’s begun. Christmas stories are starting to be published and – honestly? I’m here for it. The first for me, this season, is one that promises to be both magical, comforting and emotional and, you know… If that isn’t just what I needed from a Christmas story… My review for Minna Howard’s A Dad of His Own!

I was given this ARC via Netgalley in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are strictly my own.

The story

House-sitting in a castle over Christmas is a dream come true for Anna and her seven-year-old son Freddie. But there’s one Christmas present Freddie wants more than anything, and it’s the one thing Anna can’t give him – his very own dad. As Anna settles into her new surroundings and a much slower pace of life, she is soon befriended by the local villagers and the castle workforce who provide a welcome distraction.

Before even a Christmas cracker is pulled, Freddie shows a eager interest in the castle workforce; green-fingered Simon, salt of the earth Luke and charming castle manager Julius. Could one of them make Freddie’s Christmas wish come true and repair Anna’s broken heart?

At the most magical time of the year, everyone needs a Christmas miracle if they’re to make it to Christmas Day…

The opinion

So the starting point from this book is the MC’s son Freddie going

“Charlie at school has two daddies, he said I could have one of his, but I want one all of my own.”

And then Anna spends the next 200 pages freaking out every time Freddie opens his mouth just in case he might mention that to anyone. Which – honestly… Would that really be so bad? I did feel like Anna overreacted at least  a bit – until her best friends came along and made it very clear that they had made it their life’s goal to make Freddie’s wish come true. Woops. Not overreacting so much after all!

Now, the positives. First of all, I absolutely loved that there was this little bit of prejudice towards just about all of the characters. Anna is 100% relatable in that she makes assumptions on people based on what she hears from others. And then, you know… Might take a while to actually get over those preconceived notions? (Although, and I do feel I have to mention this, in the end she seems to have no trouble at all making decisions fast, if you know what I mean 😉 )

I also really liked the way Freddie and especially Mattie, one of the older village people, were sketched out. In general, I feel like the characters were given just enough background, a good amount of separate story lines, …

That last bit holds true especially for the secondary romance-plot involving one of Anna’s best friend. I mean, Anna basically had “her pickings” from 2 or 3 men, so I have to admit I was hoping for some different types of resolution on that front – and I was not disappointed.

A final big plus for me were the descriptions. I honestly felt like I knew what the castle and the village looked like. I felt for the villagers after the flood. And I loved Lucy and her family and her business, … Minna Howard did an excellent job making the scenery come to life.

At the same time, though, some of the writing seemed – at times – very stiff. There were sentences that ran on for ages (punctuation is your friend, and yes, I know this sounds rich coming from me, but then again: if even I think the phrases are a bit on the long side…).

What annoyed me more, though, was that the discourse seemed very stiff at some points. I actually took a note at one point that just said: “what even is human interaction?”.  I think the simplest way to explain it is that sometimes the characters speak as if they’re a written character. Does that make sense? Like, I know this is a written text, obviously, but when your characters are speaking, that should sound natural. At times, their lines sounded more like just that: lines that had been rehearsed for a play, or something.

The rating: 2.75/5

I really did enjoy this book overall as well as the characters that it built up. The scenery was honestly so beautiful, I kind of want to go visit the castle now? I do feel that the discourse could have used some more thought – actually, maybe it’s just a matter that too much thought was put into it 😉 If that, and long phrases don’t bother you however? If you feel like you need a bit of a romantic castle escape? Then A Dad of His Own might just be the book for you! (Goodreads)

-Saar