"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Monday, January 2, 2012

Book Review: The Christmas Note by Donna Van Liere

The Christmas Note
Author:  Donna Van Liere
Published:  October 2011
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Pages: 208
ISBN:  9780312658960
Genre:  Christian fiction

(from Amazon.ca) Donna VanLiere’s Christmas books have enthralled millions of readers. Now she delivers a new inspirational novel about an unlikely friendship between two women—a friendship that will change each of their lives forever.

Gretchen Daniels has recently moved into a condo with her two children to be closer to her mother, Miriam. As they build a life together in their new community, they notice a mysterious young woman, Melissa McCreary, who lives next door. 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 Melissa, 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 secrets about her family that she never could have imagined. Can two very different women embark on a journey that explores a long-buried need for forgiveness, hope, and redemption?

About the Author

Donna VanLiere is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. Her much-loved Christmas Hope series includes The Christmas Shoes and The Christmas Blessing, both of which were adapted into movies for CBS Television; The Christmas Secret; The Christmas Journey; and The Christmas Hope, which was adapted into a film by Lifetime. She is also the author ofThe Angels of Morgan Hill and Finding Grace. VanLiere is the recipient of a Retailer's Choice Award for Fiction, a Dove Award, a Silver Angel Award, an Audie Award for best inspirational fiction, and a nominee for a Gold Medallion Book of the Year. She is a gifted speaker who speaks regularly at conferences. She lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with her husband and their children.

My review: 

The Christmas Note is a touching Christian novel about friendship and family, loss and hope.  The story flows quickly and can be read in one sitting if one is so inclined.  First impressions are rarely lasting once one gets to know the other and it is true here when Gretchen and her two children first meet their next door neighbour Melissa.  Gretchen finds herself in the unenviable position of having to inform Melissa, whom she just met, that her mother has died and the landlord wants the apartment cleaned out.  Certainly a difficult task but Gretchen delivers the message as well as an offer to assist Melissa with the task.  Uncertain why she accepts, Melissa later agrees to the offer and the two begin to forge an uncommon bond as they work together to clean the remnants of a messy life.  What they find in doing so is a note that will change both their lives.

Enjoyable and light, this story embodies the spirit of love and charity.  I enjoyed it but found the ending a little too coincidental, the conclusion too neatly tied up in a bow of friendship and family and finding of unknown siblings.  Overall, The Christmas Note is a good "feel good" read for the season.

Rated 3.5/5

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