Monday, November 7, 2011

Book Review: The Christmas Note by Donna VanLiere


Title: The Christmas Note
Author: Donna VanLiere
Publisher: Thomas Nelson Publishers

Source: Received from Booksneeze

Summary from Goodreads:
From author of The Christmas Hope series, which has enthralled millions of readers, comes a new inspirational novel about an unlikely friendship between two women, but one that will change each of their lives forever.

Gretchen Daniels has recently moved into an apartment with her two children to be closer to her mother, Miriam. She and her children are building a life together in a new community when a mysterious young woman, Melissa McCreary, moves into the apartment next to them. She has few possessions, little personality, and keeps to herself. One day, a local landlord who is looking for Melissa knocks on Gretchen’s door for assistance. Melissa’s mother has died and in the coming weeks the landlord needs Melissa to empty her mother’s apartment. Gretchen reaches out and offers to help, but the apartment is a gut wrenching shamble of a home. There is little worth saving except for a few photos and a note that is discovered on the crate beside the bed. It is unfinished but in the two scribbled lines, Melissa discovers she has a brother and a sister that she never knew about. Even more shocking, she begins to uncover family secrets that show her who she really is. Can two very different women embark on a journey that explores a long-buried need for forgiveness, hope, and redemption?

Review:

If it were up to me, I would celebrate Christmas all year long. In a way I do because there is no discrimination in our home of when we play Christmas music and when we don't (never). Now that Halloween has passed and we find ourselves in November, not only am I ready for the holiday songs, movies, decorating and gift planning, I am definitely in the mood for feel-good Christmas stories.

This was my first Donna VanLiere book. I have been curious about her books for years and constantly find myself picking them up during the holidays at Costco whenever they pop back up on the shelves again. I wanted to read The Christmas Shoes (her first book) before finishing this one, but I didn't have enough time.

I loved the relationship between Gretchen and Melissa in the story. It felt very real to me, especially since I err on the side of being socially awkward sometimes and could sympathize with Melissa's difficulty with befriending her neighbor, Gretchen. The twists and turns were unexpected for me and I enjoyed how everything was intertwined and woven together to make up a wonderful holiday story.

I thought it was a very well-written book with all the elements that you long for in a Christmas story - love, lost, forgiveness, redemption, family and friendship. I normally don't like stories that are not very long because I discriminate against them for not having enough details simply because of their length, but this was not the case with The Christmas Note. I think VanLiere has a gift for telling a story and giving you just enough details to engross you into the narrative, yet without dragging it along. It was short, sweet and definitely warmed my heart. The Christmas Note very much put me in the Christmas spirit this season and I have already ordered three more of her books to read. I know I won't be disappointed!

Rating:
5 out of 5 stars

2 comments:

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  2. Donna VanLiere thoughtfully draws out her character's emotions and motives, making their full and relatable. The plot has moments of predictability, and moments of stunning revelation. If you're looking for a quick read for the holiday season, you've found it!

    Jasmine
    Something about Mesothelioma Lawyer Philadelphia PA

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