The No-Hopers Christmas Club
As warming as a mince pie and a glass of sherry, these eighteen festive-themed shorts are just waiting to be unwrapped.
- A lonely dog shelter volunteer battles to find new homes for her long-time canine residents while realising her own future is just as uncertain. As the new year approaches, can a fellow animal lover give her the fresh start she so wants for her dogs.
- A widowed grandmother prepares to reunite with her forbidden first love, only to discover the grand country pile from where he’s sent her a Christmas card isn’t quite what it seems.
- A single woman finally meets a man to couple up with over the festive season, but will the eccentric mistress of her late father destroy her plans?
- An ambitious 20-something attends a lavish Christmas party with only one aim – to bag a rich husband. But her plans are derailed when a troubling connection with the aristocrat she’s set her sights on is revealed.
Geraldine Ryan is a prolific short-story writer whose work has appeared in Woman’s Weekly and Take a Break’s Fiction Feast magazines. This yuletide collection follows hot on the heels of her first published anthology Riding Pillion with George Clooney. While Christmas comes but once a year, these moving and humorous tales will stay with you for a lifetime.
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/No-Hopers-Christmas-Club-Geraldine-Ryan-ebook/dp/B0BMJST5H8/
US – https://www.amazon.com/No-Hopers-Christmas-Club-Geraldine-Ryan-ebook/dp/B0BMJST5H8/
Geraldine Ryan is a proud Northerner who has spent most of her life in Cambridge – the one with the punts. She holds a degree in Scandinavian Studies, but these days only puts it to use when identifying which language is being spoken among the characters of whatever Scandi drama is currently showing on TV. For many years, she worked as a teacher of English and of English as a second or foreign language, in combination with rearing her four children, all of whom are now grown-up, responsible citizens. Her first published story appeared in My Weekly in 1993. Since then, her stories have appeared in Take a Break, Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly, as well as in women’s magazines abroad. She has also written two young adult novels – Model Behaviour (published by Scholastic) and The Lies and Loves of Finn (Channel 4 Books.) She plans for Riding Pillion with George Clooney to be the first of several short story anthologies.
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Festive stories as varied as your favourite box of chocolates!
What a wonderful collection of short stories this is, and each one with its own clear plot and cast of characters. From the very beginning, I knew I’d enjoy these stories – yeah, the dog story got me. Go Lurch & Hopalong! But, from thereon, the stories tackled so many themes that tugged on my heartstrings and had me wishing for a happy ending.
To name a few favourites (aside from the opening story of The No-hopers Christmas Club), I’d go with:
A Rocking Horse Christmas – which tells the story of a vicar and his wife who are trying for a baby. He’s so excited, he buys a rocking horse for the nursery, but sadly the baby never comes as they suffer one miscarriage after another. Yet, this is a tale of hope and perseverance, and of choosing a different path towards a happy ending. Simply lovely.
Being Gerald’s Wife – is the story of a woman whose husband is controlling and coercive, robbing her of a life until the fuss over an unripe avocado turns into a moment of reflection, a chance to be free and to start over.
Gemma’s Night Out – is a modern take on A Christmas Carol that is both fun and thought-provoking. A story about starting afresh, learning lessons from the past and moving forward, stronger and with confidence.
My Stupid Lies – is about the only single woman at the bottle factory, fed up with hearing how wonderful her co-workers’ families are and what amazing plans they have for Christmas, so fed up that she fabricates a family of her own… until the lies take over. However, all is not lost, as a kindred spirit is ready to save her from herself, and also to encourage her to follow her heart – which is not at the bottle factory!
And, finally, (so many favourites 😉 ) Forbidden Feelings – a story that follows a woman from the kitchens of a wealthy family in South Africa to England where a chance reunion confirms that she was never “just a maidservant” in Patrick’s eyes, and that love knows no bounds.
As you can see, it’s an eclectic collection of stories that covers the amusing side of Christmas with the office Secret Santa to the more poignant and heart-wrenching tales of loss, loneliness and desperation, offset with new starts, friendships and a greater understanding of one’s self and others. Highly recommended, and perfect for a tea-break moment or two.
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