Christmas in Eagle Bend

'Tis the Season

Fiction - Holiday
325 Pages
Reviewed on 04/21/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Christmas in Eagle Bend is a work of fiction in the holiday and family drama subgenres and forms the fifth part of the ‘Tis the Season book series. The work is best suited to adult readers and contains some sensitive subject matter such as a discussion of postpartum depression. Penned by author Kathleen Shoop, this engrossing novel takes us to a truly unique Christmas where four adult children all come back to the family home in Eagle Bend, bringing with them the baggage that life has landed them with. From parenting troubles to divorce, self-doubt, and the veneer of the proposed ideal life, being under one roof again with their enigmatic mother and her peculiar new hobby is sure to bring the McFarlands down to earth with a bump.

Christmas is a time for joy and celebration, for families coming together, but it’s also a time when expectations and tensions can run high, and calamity is only ever an offhand comment away. Author Kathleen Shoop understands this perilous tightrope act, and the emotional drama and intimate sensibilities that she pens into her characters make them so relatable in every moment of joy, triumph, heartache, and sorrow that they encounter. I was especially gripped by Ivy’s unique situation, which offers a really modern look at the cost of instant fame on social media, as well as some realistic exploration of parenting issues that was frank, heartfelt, and would genuinely be helpful to readers experiencing similar feelings. Overall, Christmas in Eagle Bend has so much to offer fans of intricate family drama, and I’d highly recommend it for an emotive and insightful holiday read.

Rabia Tanveer

Christmas in Eagle Bend is the fifth book in the ‘Tis the Season series by Kathleen Shoop. The Christmas spirit is high in the McFarland home as Mom and Pop wait for their children to come home for Christmas. Ivy, Oliver, Ava, and Levi all have issues to tackle and they want to table them for the holiday season. While Oliver was struggling with his fortunes, Levi struggled with a lost marriage and job. Things weren’t great for the girls as well. Ava’s marriage was deteriorating and Ivy was struggling with a new baby, a new husband, and a special needs teenage boy. As they turn to Eagle Bend for Christmas, none is hoping for a Christmas miracle. But one thing was for sure; this Christmas would be eventful.

The perfect novel to encapsulate the Christmas spirit, author Kathleen Shoop gave us family, drama, personal struggles, and coming together. The McFarlands were a bunch. They had mountains of issues and they tackled them one by one. Each of the children had a story to tell and share with readers. Kathleen Shoop made sure her readers understood Oliver, Levi, Ivy, and Ava before jumping into their conflicts and personal problems. I loved the fact that they were like any other family, trying to make things work for their parents and make them happy. The tension between Levi and Oliver was entertaining, but my heart went out to Ivy and how hard she was trying to keep her family intact without losing herself in the chaos. The story was fantastic, Mr. Poffenberger and his dog were hilarious and the pace was perfect. The story was entertaining without getting confusing. It was so easy to keep up with all the siblings and their respective journeys. I would highly recommend Christmas in Eagle Bend!

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Christmas in Eagle Bend: 'Tis the Season by Kathleen J Shoop is a humorous Christmas tale. Christmas is but a week away and the McFarland kids have returned home with their own families. Why? Because this was the year Pop wanted them all back under one roof. Ivy is struggling with her special-needs son, Ava’s marriage seems to be on the brink of collapse, Oliver is doubting himself, and Levi’s struggling with being fired and an impending divorce – the perfect mix for a happy holiday. Let’s not forget Mom with her new hobby, a dog that won’t stop pooping, and a drunken tavern crawl. As the snow falls, the family settles in for an unforgettable Christmas. Can they find their long-lost connections again or is it too late?

Christmas in Eagle Bend by Kathleen J Shoop was a lively, light, and humorous read that offers a way to escape reality for a few hours. The first page will draw you in and you’ll be hooked to the very end as you follow the fortunes of a family in crisis, a family that needs to learn how to reconnect and that, sometimes, family and home are the best places to be. This story has plenty of action and lots of different characters, but you won’t have any trouble following it and keeping up with everyone. The characters are wonderfully developed and all are likable and relatable in some way. These are real people with real lives, and flaws that will resonate with many readers. It’s a fun story with serious undertones and a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Astrid Iustulin

What better time to be with your family than during the holiday season? This is the time of year that the McFarland family has also gathered at the parental home. We meet four siblings - Levi, Oliver, Ivy, and Ava - and discover their stories and problems affecting their private and professional lives. Nothing, however, compares to what is happening to Eleanor, their mother, whose behavior has a sad explanation. How will the McFarlands' story end? You will find the answer by reading Kathleen Shoop's wonderful novel, Christmas in Eagle Bend.

Christmas in Eagle Bend is a story that I enjoyed very much because it is not the usual Christmas story. Shoop has written a novel in which many lives intertwine, so it is a pleasure to read how well she has described them. I loved how she portrayed the characters (especially Eleanor, the mother) and gave each one their problems, as it allowed me to explore and understand their personalities. This makes them interesting characters. I found it inspiring that the author changed perspective with each chapter so that we could get to know each of our protagonists even better. I think the magic of this novel is that it depicts characters who are like real people and a family dealing with problems that can happen to any of us. I consider this to be a fascinating read. I recommend Christmas in Eagle Bend to all readers who enjoy well-written novels with great characters.

Vincent Dublado

Christmas in Eagle Bend: 'Tis the Season by Kathleen Shoop has a stark, humorous, and fascinating simplicity. The McFarland home is abuzz with the spirit of the holidays, following the return of the adult children together with their families. Most family get-together stories involve some sort of hell breaking loose and here you simply wait for it to happen. Ivy is a social media celebrity whose fans and detractors believe she is living a life of luxury despite being a self-proclaimed minimalist hippie. Ava’s seemingly perfect life appears to be falling apart. Oliver had come into money, mounds of it, on account of his good looks and current success by association. Levi wants nothing more than to get drunk, feeling that booze may be the only thing to get him through his problems with his career and marriage. Throw in their mom’s newfound love for breadmaking using antique bread dough, and you’re in for the most outrageous Christmas family celebration.

Christmas in Eagle Bend is an engaging novel where the tension comes through in personality conflict, dialogue, thoughts, and even body language. It is where the notion of the family becomes a brilliant study in reality. Kathleen Shoop’s stylized prose engages you from start to finish, as she defines her major players in terms of their personalities, backgrounds, occupations, strengths, and weaknesses. The story is evergreen given contemporary family relationships and the factors that contribute to the deterioration of modern life. Shoop has written a handful of novels that cover different categories and attest to her wide range as a writer and her consistency in being mindful of the reader. This is one of her works that is worth your time.