One December night, in the sleepy Cotswold village of Chilton Crosse, a drifter named Ben collapses on George and Mary Cartwright’s snow-covered doorstep. As Christmas cheer spreads throughout the village with a Dickens-themed festival, Mary nurses Ben back to health, but she becomes curious about the secrets he seems to carry.
On Christmas Eve, one of Ben’s secrets accidentally comes to light, forcing him to confront the darkness of his past and to rediscover the faith he once knew.
Every reader has their own ticks or habits they just can't shake. I've got two: when I start a book, I need to finish it, whether I'm enjoying it or not; and I can't read Christmas books unless it's November/December. I just can't help it, but reading a Christmas-themed novel in May when the sun is shining... It just doesn't feel right! When I started reading Traci Borum's 'Seeking the Star', which had been on my review pile for too long already, I didn't even realise it was a novella with a Christmas touch to it. However, as soon as I start a book, I need to finish it, and breaking two of my habits in one go was a bit too much... So, time to share a Christmas book review, even though it's almost June!
Chilton Crosse is a small Cotswold village where nothing too exciting happens, which suits elderly couple Mary and George Cartwright just right. They've seen enough misery in their lives, and the calm and pleasant atmosphere in the town is what they appreciate and have come to love. Until one December night Mary finds a strange man on their doorstep; a man who has collapsed and needs help. Mary and George don't think twice about taking him in and slowly but surely they get to know a bit more about Ben. But it's clear Ben is hiding something; the question is whether he will be able to share his worries with others or whether he will spend this Christmas alone.
I loved the first two parts of Traci Borum's Chilton Crosse series and was really excited to read this third instalment, which is more of a novella than an actual full-length novel with its roughly 160 pages. Traci is a great storyteller; her writing style is so comfortable to read and a great mix between description and dialogue, and with Chilton Crosse she has created an amazing little Cotswold village with a fascinating group of characters which I can't get enough of. In 'Seeking the Star' we meet a few new characters, but some old and familiar faces also make an appearance. It was easy to warm to elderly couple Mary and George; they are such caring and simply lovely people, I can't imagine any reader not liking them!
While the novella has the foundations for a great story, I couldn't help but feel something was missing. There are elements of Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' in the novella, but I personally missed some kind of romance element. I also thought the ending was quite sudden and it left me with quite a few questions. Personally, I think I expected a bit more because I loved Traci's other two novels so much and this one is slightly different, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, because I did. The novella can also be read as a stand-alone, if you are thinking about picking this up without having read the other parts of the Chilton Crosse series. Overall, 'Seeking the Star' is a warm and enjoyable Christmas-themed novella; not my favourite Traci Borum read, but still a story that will bring some light during those dark winter days!