“Christmas can be a time of love and joy, but to three men at the bookstore called Margins, it also brings reflection on what was and what will be, highlighting the importance of home and family during a hot Australian Christmas. Their lives are intertwined by the bookstore, but individually David has difficulty reconnecting with the son he knew, John discovers something about the father who abandoned him, and Jamie braces himself for what he thinks will be his first Christmas on his own.”
Twelve Days (A Note In The Margin #2) is a memorable return to the world of A Note In The Margin, one of my top favorites. Here it is Christmas time in Australia and the first Christmas together for John McCann and David, a man recently off the streets and recovering from a mental breakdown. For both men, Christmas is bringing up memories that are difficult for them to deal with. For David, especially, as he tries to reconnect with the son he left behind. Jamie the irrepressible bookshop employee (and son of the former owner of the store) is also dealing with his first Christmas alone. This wonderful story is all about family, recovery, and connections at Christmas.
Isabelle Rowan weaves the threads of these mens lives together is such a rich tapestry that you will forget that you are not actually there eavesdropping from the shelves of Margins. John, like myself, grew up in a climate where Christmas means cold windowpanes. blustery snow and mittens. But now he lives in Australia and the author gives you a real feel of what it must feel like to have Christmas mean air conditioning, cookouts, and cockatoos! The details she gives from the Christmas window at Myers brings back fond memories of the windows at Wanamakers in Philadelphia for me.
Ms. Rowan is to be commended as she makes you feel the fragile state of David’s emotional being in a manner that really brings home how tough, and frustrating it must be to come back from a mental and emotional breakdown. Not only for the person it happened to but for those around them who love them. For every step forward the person takes, there is always something lurking out in common view to trigger a set back. And David makes you think about the homeless men and women out on the streets. He helps personalize their plight and see them in a different light – the same way John saw David.
This book of course will send me running back to reread A Note In The Margin. I hope it will do the same for you. 4.5 stars