St. Martin's Press (October 25, 2011) 224 pages
Source: Booksneeze Review
I just cried all the way through The Christmas Note! If you are emotional, make sure you grab some tissues before you sit down with it. My momma loves the Donna VanLiere books, so I've read several of them. It has been a few years, though, so apparently I forgot just how emotional her books are. My memory of the characters in Donna's other Christmas books is very vague, but I did recognize several of them. Like the other books, we get new characters as the main focus, but the previous main characters are still very much in the background.
In The Christmas Note, we meet Gretchen and Melissa. The chapters mostly alternate from each of their points of view. They become next door neighbors when Gretchen and her two children move into the same condominium as Melissa. Melissa isn't overly welcoming to the family. The story unfolds from there, slowing adding in details about the past. Being a novella, it is a very quick and entertaining read! It will definitely get you into the Christmas spirit, in many different ways!
"She was still as she listened to the reading from Luke and wiped her eyes when all the children sang "O Holy Night" and "Hark! The Herald Angel Sing." I cried, too, and I caught Dad rubbing his eyes. For Kyle's first tour of Afghanistan the soldiers sang "Silent Night" together on Christmas Day, and Kyle said nobody dared look at one another because there wasn't a dry eye in the whole bunch. Seems like the songs of Christmas have the same effect no matter where you are in the world. I cried through the entire service again."
There was just so much to think about in The Christmas Note! I had to set the book aside quite often, because I couldn't see the words past all my tears. That's really not saying all too much coming from me, though. To prove that, does anyone know the "new-ish" Lowe's commercial where a couple is dancing their way through life? I cry...every time! Like I said, that's not saying much! ;)
I still cry thinking about a scene in the book involving cookie dough. It completely breaks my heart at what horrible parents there are in the world. I'm nothing to brag about when it comes to parenting. It's hard!!! But, I can't imagine anyone being so horrible to a child! I know it gets much worse than that, unfortunately. There are just so many hurting children out there, and they need our prayers. Constantly!! I do LOVE the message that the worth of a mother isn't determined by how she cooks. It doesn't matter if the cookies come from a store bought roll of dough or if they are made from scratch out of the pantry. While I am trying very hard to cut most processed foods out of our house(slowly!), it won't make me a "better" mother.
While the story touches on very difficult topics, it is a bit sugary sweet at times. Especially with my Christmas stories, sugary sweet is perfect for my tastes, but if that's not your thing, you might not appreciate the way some things work out in the book. The Christmas Note will be a perfect addition to my momma's Christmas book collection!
*There's no profanity in here, but God's name is used in vain: My ***, etc.
*I was provided a review copy through the Booksneeze program in exchange for my honest opinion.