This Christmas novella is not as sweet and cute as others I’ve read this year, and that’s what makes it so good. I’m very much a character-driven reader, and when characters stay with me months after I first met them, it’s always a good sign. When I read High October, I found myself liking Liz and Maggie a lot, especially Liz, which I didn’t really expect, not that much at any rate. Liz is not like the characters I usually love. She’s blunt to the point of sometimes being rude, but she’s also very loving in a no-nonsense way. She cares. So I was really happy to get more time with both her and Maggie.
Liz and Maggie are now married, and still very busy, both with their professional lives and with trying to make up for the forty years they were apart. This year, they’re looking forward to some alone time, a quiet Christmas together. It’s all in the title, really. Their plans get thwarted first by Maggie’s youngest daughter, whose marriage is about to explode and who comes looking for a safe place for herself and her two young children. Then friends who thought they’d be happy on their own but realize they’d rather spend the holidays with people they love.
Unexpected guests keep arriving, all of them bringing warmth and laughter and the promise of a good time. And as much as they wanted an intimate and romantic time with just the two of them, it’s obvious both Liz and Maggie enjoy the way it all turns out in the end.
I love how diverse lesfic has become in recent years, and reading this novella this week, after three other very nice and very different Christmas stories, is an excellent reminder of how lucky we are to have so much choice now. If you’re looking for a not-cheesy but still heartwarming Christmas novella, The More The Merrier is a perfect choice.