A Lowcountry Christmas

A Lowcountry Christmas

by Mary Alice Monroe

Audiobook(CD - Unabridged)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781442394162
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Publication date: 10/25/2016
Series: Lowcountry Summer Series
Edition description: Unabridged
Sales rank: 915,217
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 5.80(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Mary Alice Monroe is the New York Times bestselling author of two dozen novels, including The Summer Girls, The Summer Wind, The Summer’s End, A Lowcountry Wedding, A Lowcountry Christmas, Last Light Over Carolina, Time Is a River, Sweetgrass, Skyward, The Four Seasons, The Book Club, The Beach House, Beach House Memories, Swimming Lessons, Beach House for Rent, and Beach House Reunion. Her books have received numerous awards, including the 2008 South Carolina Center for the Book Award for Writing, the 2014 South Carolina Award for Literary Excellence, the 2015 SW Florida Author of Distinction Award, the RT Lifetime Achievement Award, and the International Book Award for Green Fiction. In 2018 she was inducted into the South Carolina Literary Hall of Fame. Her novel, The Beach House was made into a Hallmark Hall of Fame film. An active conservationist, she lives in the lowcountry of South Carolina. Visit her at MaryAliceMonroe.com and at Facebook.com/MaryAliceMonroe.

Read an Excerpt

A Lowcountry Christmas NOVEMBER 30, 2010
I’m going home for Christmas. Back to McClellanville and the ocean. Back to my family.

I’m proud to be the son of a shrimper. While some men look at wide-open fields and think of planting, we McClellans stare out at the water and think of shrimp. Shrimping is hard work—long hours laboring under a relentless sun, straining muscles against nets dragged from the sea bulging with shrimp. My hands bear scars from years of separating shrimp from bycatch. Backbreaking work . . . and exhilarating. It’s in our blood. Out on the water we’re saltwater cowboys, untamed, unbridled, and free. Mavericks riding the water. I’m proud to bear the McClellan name. For as long as I can remember, my father, Alistair—everyone calls him the Captain—has steered the Miss Jenny, named after my mother, the largest shrimp boat in the fleet. I worked on the Miss Jenny as soon as I could walk. That’s the way it is in the business—family pitches in.

I’m proud to wear the ring. I graduated from the Citadel in Charleston, the first man in my family to graduate from college. It’s a rare sight to see one’s father so proud his eyes tear up. Especially a sea-hardened man such as the Captain. I’ll never forget it.

I’m proud to be a Marine. I’m the son of a sailor and the most recent in a long line of men who’ve served their country in foreign wars. After graduating I immediately entered the Corps as an officer. “Dare to Lead” the Citadel challenged us, and that’s what I did. After training I shipped off to the Middle East to lead a platoon. Our mission was to maintain a defensive perimeter in Afghanistan. We patrolled a vast area of desert, seeking out contraband and insurgents, racing across burning sand in hot pursuit of smugglers with small caches of weapons and ordnance. Small villages yielded the same.

You might not believe me, but the desert and the ocean are similar. They’re both immense in a way that defies comprehension. I’ve ridden in a Humvee across miles of endless sand under a merciless sun and sailed a shrimp boat on the dark sea when the dawn broke across the horizon, and in both places I felt the vastness. It made me feel small and insignificant. Isolated and alone. Both desert and sea are unforgiving terrain and don’t tolerate fools.

I’m proud that I’m a good leader. I don’t say that with conceit. I say this so you understand why I feel the burden of guilt for being sent home while some of my men will never make it back.

The Bible says that pride goeth before a fall. I’m here to tell you that’s true.

Thanksgiving is over and the Christmas season is beginning. Instead of joy, however, I feel the terror of my war memories lurking inside my brain like one of those damned IEDs just waiting for the right trigger to explode and tear me apart, the way one did on a dusty Afghanistan road. The bomb shattered my bones and burned my body and soul. Yet they call me lucky.

I’m going home because the doctors say I’m recovered. I can only shake my head and think, What fools. My fractured bones might be healed, but my brain certainly isn’t. The scars in my mind are the wounds that cut the deepest. I didn’t want to leave the hospital—I felt safe there. I’m more comfortable with other injured servicemen like me than I am with my family. But they said I had to leave, so I did. I got a cheap apartment near the hospital. I holed up, afraid to go out, to deal with the public. I grew isolated, lonely. The doctors told me to go see my family for the holidays. Where do you go but home when there’s no place else to go? So, as the song says, I’ll be home for Christmas.

I feel as if I’m heading for a fall.

Customer Reviews

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A Lowcountry Christmas 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent. A difficult topic done well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great touching story for the holidays. I'm so glad Mary Alice Monroe wrote the backstory on Taylor and Thor. It was good to see how a service dog can help a returning veteran suffering from PTSD. The service animal not only helps its owner but the family that surrounds them. This was a beautiful tale of what the Christmas spirit can do to bring a family and its members back from the brink. I loved how the story started and ended with Taylor and Harper's first Christmas together as a new family, and bringing together all the rest of the characters from this Lowcountry Summer series. I would recommend this to any one.
Holly More than 1 year ago
A Lowcountry Christmas is the story of a family coming together during Christmas at what seems to be the worst time of year for everyone. Ten year old Miller McClellan only wants one thing for Christmas and that is to own a dog but with his father's shrimping business not doing as well, his mother having to work two jobs to provide for the family and having his older brother, Taylor come home from war with PTSD, nothing is going as planned. As Taylor finally comes home after being holed up in a apartment due to his PTSD, he soon discovers what his family is going through while fighting his own demons. It takes having a breakdown and a phone call to get Taylor, the help he needs in the form of a service dog named Thor. With Miller discovering that Taylor gets a dog while he can't, it's makes Miller wonder why is everything bad happening to him this year. As Miller wants to help out his family by going out to the forest to cut down a tree with the help of Thor, it all comes down to a rescue that will bring the entire family together in a way that was made for the holidays! This book will have you crying during certain parts due to what both Taylor and Miller are dealing with. Just reading Taylor's part of the story of having him wanting to end his life until a service dog comes along and it just makes you think about everyone who is dealing with PTSD and why are we not doing more to get them a dog that might help in a way that only a dog can understand. After learning this book is part of a series, I'm gonna have to go back and read the other books just to get more of the backstory that happened in the last chapter of this book! Thank You to Mary Alice Monroe for bringing awareness to PTSD during the Christmas season and for having a book that me wished that I was back in the Lowcountry once again!! I borrowed this book from my local Public Library!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A New Christmas Classic This Lowcountry prequel is the story of Taylor McClellan, a wounded Marine. In another book, Taylor meets Harper Muir and this is his story before he meets Harper. Taylor returns home with PTSD. His Dad is barely working and he is is feeling so happy for his return. His little brother Miller is longing to have a new puppy, but money is tight and his parents say no. Miller is dismayed when his brother Taylor receives a dog, Thor, who is especially trained for wounded warriors with PTSD. I can imagine reading this book for many Christmases to come. It is a very special book.
Nicholas-McGirr More than 1 year ago
I had the pleasure of meeting Monroe as she signed my copy of this book and I listened attentively as she spoke passionately about the story. After reading the book, I can see why. Monroe created memorable, relatable, passionate characters that remind the reader of their own family. Granted, this is not your typical "Hallmark Christmas Movie" Christmas story. Nope, it contains heartache, a few tears, meaningful arguments and a sad little boy. Tear-jerking? A bit, but readers will be more than delighted to hear the outcome of Taylor's story. Taylor suffers from PTSD when he returns home to the Charleston area. A Lowcountry Christmas delivers a patriotic tale with family values that any reader can relate and the detail of the Charleston area will surely bring home memories to the locals who were born here. A Lowcountry Christmas is the perfect size for a book that reads evenly paced. It also is a great introduction to the Holiday season. I, personally read Dickens' A Christmas Carol every year and the relative quotes at the beginning of each chapter were warranted as Monroe created a story with the values of the classic tale, but she did not retell the story. This was more than appreciated as I remembered why I read Dickens every year. I give Monroe's latest title 4 stars simply because I have nothing else to compare it with. I am not normally a reader of this warm and cozy style read, but I was pleasantly surprised on how much I enjoyed the book. Mary Alice, thank you for introducing a new genre into my library, it was a pleasure to have A Lowcountry Christmas as my first holiday read this year. Looking forward to many more of your stories.
KrystalReads More than 1 year ago
A Lowcountry Christmas brings us back to Taylor McClellan of the Summer Girls trilogy. We go back to his time in Afghanistan and beyond to learn about his time there and the profound effects it had on his future and those who love him. This book gives the reader an intimate understanding of PTSD through the heart of a beloved character, as well as the importance and necessity of a service dog for those affected. Mary Alice Monroe, once again, expertly tells a story of love, loss and strength in family in only the way she can. I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher and it was my pleasure to write an honest review after reading the book.
KrystalReads More than 1 year ago
A Lowcountry Christmas brings us back to Taylor McClellan of the Summer Girls trilogy. We go back to his time in Afghanistan and beyond to learn about his time there and the profound effects it had on his future and those who love him. This book gives the reader an intimate understanding of PTSD through the heart of a beloved character, as well as the importance and necessity of a service dog for those affected. Mary Alice Monroe, once again, expertly tells a story of love, loss and strength in family in only the way she can. I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher and it was my pleasure to write an honest review after reading the book.
KrystalReads More than 1 year ago
A Lowcountry Christmas brings us back to Taylor McClellan of the Summer Girls trilogy. We go back to his time in Afghanistan and beyond to learn about his time there and the profound effects it had on his future and those who love him. This book gives the reader an intimate understanding of PTSD through the heart of a beloved character, as well as the importance and necessity of a service dog for those affected. Mary Alice Monroe, once again, expertly tells a story of love, loss and strength in family in only the way she can. I received an advanced copy of the book from the publisher and it was my pleasure to write an honest review after reading the book.
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
Taylor is a soldier returning home. He is not returning home the way he was before. He is suffering from PTSD, so much so he is to the point of almost being incapacitated. Enter Thor! Thor is a service dog from the Wounded Warrior Project geared toward helping Taylor re-enter the real world. Thor upsets many dynamics in the household. The main problem is between the two brothers. You will just need to read this wonderful book to find out. I love all dogs and Thor is one which melts my heart. He is a dog which proves his mettle in more ways than one. Not only does Thor help Taylor succeed, he also saves Miller. Like I said…..read the book! No one reels you in, attacks your every emotion and then teaches you something quite like Mary Alice Monroe. Every book this lady has written has taught me something, either about dolphins, turtles, or nature. This one is no different. The Wounded Warrior Project is now going to be a charity for me. This is a perfect Christmas read about family, survival, and hope. The author never disappoints. I cannot wait to see what is next! I received this copy as part of Mary Alice Monroe’s street team for a honest review.
BevAnt More than 1 year ago
This highly anticipated book, "A Lowcountry Christmas" is the fifth book of the The Lowcountry Series for the highly acclaimed South Carolina Author Mary Alice Monroe. Author Monroe once again has so exquisitely taken each of us on a heartwarming journey and discovery of bringing awareness to PTSD and the devastating effects and destruction of not only the wounded warrior but their loved one's as well. This story is about a veteran Taylor and his return from Afghanistan, the indescribable horror of devastating loss he's endured, the terrifying anguish of trying to return to a 'normal' life that he once upon a time cherished and loved (as we all take for granted) and the impact of reality, whether he can fight to survive this internal battle that is waging within him called PTSD. This book takes the reader on the variable twists and turns of family dynamics, holiday traditions and exploring the mental health of our returning veteran's from the ongoing Middle East's utter catastrophic war torn countries and the returning heroes left to pick up and try to resume their lives again. Author Monroe weaves her words with such grace while examining the truth of the long and uncertain road to recovery of Marine veteran Taylor McClellan along with the crucial impact and need of a service dog named Thor. Mary Alice Monroe has once again captivated my heart with not only how she develops her stories but the understanding, depth, wisdom and clarity with which she develops her rich characters that she so clearly and dearly hold close to her heart, as though she has a personal relationship with each and every one of them, as you my fellow reader will witness firsthand yourself. This book upon completion leaves you never wanting to give up, nor lose hope and truly experience and understand the meaning of Christmas miracles, a village of loved one's that lifts us up, empowers and blesses us, our family and friend's. This has truly been my pleasure to receive an advance copy through NetGalley in return for my honest review.
Ariesgrl More than 1 year ago
Taylor McClellan is grateful for his wife, Harper, his home and his family. During this special Christmas, he reflects on his first Christmas at home, after being injured in Afghanistan. Five years ago, Taylor was released from the hospital, yet he knew his brain was still not well. His mother, Jenny, was thrilled to have her son home and wanted to have the best Christmas ever. Miller, Taylor’s younger brother, only wanted a puppy for Christmas. Life had changed drastically for each of the McClellan family members, but hopefully a Christmas miracle will bring them all together again. Mary Alice Monroe is an incredible author who uses quotes from A Christmas Carol, to highlight the inner struggles of each of her characters. PTSD is a serious illness that is brought to light in this story. By giving a voice to the mother, little brother and the veteran, readers will get to experience the effects of PTSD on the entire family. The author also shows the fears and concerns of each family member as they deal with trying times. This book will reaffirm your belief in Christmas miracles and the healing powers of animals. A Lowcountry Christmas will completely wreck a reader’s heart, while leaving a smile on their face. This is a story that will live in each reader’s soul and be recommended to friends and family for years to come. Notes: This ARC review was written for the My Sister’s Books bookstore. This review was originally posted on the Ariesgrl Book Reviews website.
ReadsWithGranddaughters More than 1 year ago
What an outstanding story! I feel privileged to have been able to read this beautifully written Christmas-themed book concerning a family trying to get past their own worries, disappointments, and heartaches so that they can get to the joy of a merry Christmas. What better support can an author portray than a Pets for Vets service dog that comes into the picture to help traumatized Taylor get past his PTSD. Quotes from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens weave their way into this family's life, and the true-to-life struggles each of them have are heart wrenching. I wanted to jump in and help! I truly loved this amazing addition to this Lowcountry Series, and it can be read as a stand alone. [I received an early complimentary copy from the publisher for my honest review.]
Jarina More than 1 year ago
A Lowcountry Christmas is an adjunct novel to the Lowcountry Summer series by Mary Alice Monroe. Although the beloved characters of the series do appear, this story takes place in 2010 and is about Taylor McClellan, Marine veteran, wounded warrior, PTSD sufferer, and native son of the Lowcountry, McClellanville, South Carolina to be exact. Son of a shrimp boat captain with long family history in the area, Taylor is now set to return home from Washington, D.C. for the holidays. And this is a frightening prospect. Due to his PTSD, Taylor is suffering from terrifying nightmares, blinding migraines, and deep depression. The last thing he wants is to bring this ugly package to his family for Christmas, but the government is sending him home saying treatment of his injuries is complete. Taylor's fears become realized as he arrives home to a big surprise party. He escapes, taking a bottle of bourbon as his companion. His family, mother Jenny, father Alistair, and 10 year old brother Miller, are thrilled to have Taylor home and safe, but each has their own issues dealing with the Taylor that has returned. Jenny is hoping for a perfect, albeit lean, Christmas. Alistair is struggling to find work after having to dock his shrimp boat due to increased operating costs and the import of cheap shrimp, and finding it quite difficult to find his way to help his son. And Miller cannot understand how his brother's homecoming is his present when all he truly wants is the golden lab puppy from his friend's dog's litter. Eased from his symptoms by his companion dog Thor, Taylor begins to find his way back. But it isn't until a near tragedy awakens Taylor's training and instincts, does the family find its way. This is a wonderfully written story with rich characters. It is an enlightening tale dealing with PTSD in an informative yet nonpreachy and interesting manner. I believe it to be a must read for those who would like to better comprehend the truly personal toll this disorder takes. The portrayal of a family coping and the hope that comes from a big dog named Thor and a cold snowy night makes this book right up there with Mary Alice Monroe's best. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.
Tiger7686 More than 1 year ago
"I’d learned to accept my past, embrace my present, and I held bright hope for the future."
AnnaLeeSC More than 1 year ago
I am a Blue Star Mother who acted as a touchstone for her son through five deployments and the aftermath of a returning veteran who had seen way too much. When I heard Mary Alice Monroe was writing a Christmas story about a returning veteran with PTSD I was thankful and fearful. Thankful that she would honor our veterans with an entire book devoted to bringing an understanding of the effects of PTSD on veterans into the hearts and homes of her readers. Thankful that being a faithful reader of her books about life in the Lowcountry, I knew she had the highest ethical standard for researching with a passion, any subject she deems relevant enough to bring interest and education to her devoted readers. Fearful that the subject matter was so deeply personal to me that reading it would be impossible to get through. Having faith in the sincere intentions of which Mary Alice Monroe has always so loving penned, I pressed on to open the pages of “A Lowcountry Christmas”. The tears fell down my face as I began with Taylor’s return home and his encounter with his girlfriend. The tears kept flowing as Taylor’s anxiety had him retreating to his childhood room. My tears continued as Jenny, his mother, began to realize the extent of Taylor’s invisible injury, his pain, and her worry. As I read these words of young Miller, “He might have been hurt by a bomb, but he made this house like a minefield for the rest of us”. I fell into a long overdue cry of a mother who knows what those words mean all too well. In relief, with a smile in my heart, I came to an understanding that Mary Alice Monroe had nailed it. A perfect description of the family experience when someone returns with PTSD. She got it! From that point, I read on with hunger. I could not put it down because I knew I could trust every word, every chapter to be carefully constructed by this thoughtful author. I delighted, in the day Taylor’s service dog Thor arrived and the bond they had. I felt the anguish Taylor experienced as pushed beyond his comfort zone to go Christmas shopping with his little brother Miller, and the difficult encounter about Thor when the shop girl did not understand the laws regarding service dogs. I despaired when things went terribly wrong the day Miller went out alone in search of the family Christmas tree. I delighted in the reemergence of Taylor’s strength when present danger recalled the skills he had learned in the Marines. I appreciate the care the author gives to the details regarding PTSD and Service Animals. As always, Mary Alice Monroe has a gifted way that writes the reader into that place, that moment in time, as if a character on the pages. I finished feeling like a townie on Christmas Eve in McClellanville and a family member on Christmas Day at Sea Breeze. This story reminds the reader of the true meaning of Christmas and Family, thorns and all, and will have you re-reading it year after year. “A Lowcountry Christmas” is a treasure to be shared and cherished for generations and you will want to wrap it carefully, place it under the tree and give it to that special loved one who will cherish it for years to come.
Julesstur29330 More than 1 year ago
Mary Alice Monroe delivers again with her heartwarming holiday novel about family, pride, tradition, and the magic of the low country. Go no further if you want to feel the holiday spirit and learn about the devastating effects PTSD is having on our men and women who have so proudly served our country. A Lowcountry Christmas picks up where A Lowcountry Wedding leaves off. It’s Christmas-time at Sea Pines. The reader gets an inside look into Taylor, his family, and service dog Thor. Once you start reading, you will not be able to put this novel down. It immediately captures your attention and your heart. Mary Alice Monroe is a master storyteller on all levels.