As read on Radio 4, seven linked stories set in the Christmas holidays - all as funny, joyous, poignant and memorable as Christmas should be:
A Faraway Smell of Lemon: The School Term has ended. It is almost Christmas but Binny, out last-minute shopping couldn't feel less like wishing glad tidings to all men. Ducking out of the rain she finds herself in the sort of shop she would never normally visit.
The Marriage Manual: Christmas Eve. Two parents endeavour to construct their son's Christmas present from a DIY kit and in the process find themselves deconstructing their marriage.
Christmas at the Airport: A glitch in the system, travellers stranded and all sorts of lives colliding in the face of a sudden birth...
The Boxing Day Ball: Maureen has never been out with the local girls before. Who knew that a disco in the Village Hall could be life-changing?
A Snow Garden: Two little boys, dumped with their divorced father for his share of the Christmas holidays and none of them with a clue how to enjoy it.
I'll Be Home for Christmas The most famous boy in the world comes home hoping to escape the madness with a normal family Christmas.
Trees: As if Christmas wasn't wearing enough, now his elderly parent is asking for a hole in the ground ... Father and son break old habits and plant a tree to mark the start of the new year.
"Full of bittersweet Christmas moments. A real gem." Good Housekeeping
Rachel Joyce is the author of the
Sunday Times and international bestsellers
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Perfect and
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy.
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and has been translated into 34 languages. Rachel Joyce was awarded the Specsavers National Book Awards 'New Writer of the Year' in December 2012 and shortlisted for the 'Writer of the Year' 2014.
She is also the author of the short story,
A Faraway Smell of Lemon and the forthcoming short story collection,
A Snow Garden & Other Stories and a new novel for 2016,
The Music Shop. She is the award-winning writer of over 30 original afternoon plays and classic adaptations for BBC Radio 4.
Rachel Joyce lives with her family in Gloucestershire.