This is the first Christmas novel I have read by Melody Carlson, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I have lots of books on my “to read list,” but this was the only fiction I had. I bought it late December last year and didn’t get a chance to read it before my Christmas spirit wore off. So in the month of June, I was feeling in the mood for some light fictitious reading, so I said what the heck, it’s my book and I can read it anytime of the year I wanted. There is no rule that says you only read Christmas novels at Christmastime.
To tell you the truth it started off just a little slow in the first chapter or two, but then it really picked up for me and I really got into it. I thought it was a very compelling story of forgiveness. I couldn’t put it down; I read it in two days, staying up till three in the morning on day two.
This book spoke of a woman named Lena, who cared, who gave, who dared to dream but she had a bit of low self-esteem because of the way she was raised by her parents; and because of her own naivety and her father’s pushing, she married a dishonest man, who cheated her out of everything, her dreams, her money, her life, her faith and her will to fight.
Lena was accused of a crime she didn’t commit and everyone from her family and Church turned their backs on her. While she was in prison waiting for her wicked husband to fix everything, he was out there planting seeds of lies, convincing everyone in Lena’s life, including her parents, that she did what she was accused of.
So Lena served her time with a broken heart and a broken soul. Now she was on her way to a new start. She found her way to a town called “New Haven,” and interestingly enough, “Haven” means a place a refuge or rest, a sanctuary. Wow, I just thought of that.
She met some kind, accepting people there and somehow because of the second-hand coat she was given, got a job that saved her life and boost her self-esteem. When Lena first arrived at the place she was staying, which was kind of a dump where people who didn’t have much money lived; despite the hurt and pain she went through, she still gave her love and kindness to others. Just by a few small acts of kindness, she ended up helping a struggling single mother of one sweet little girl, get a job and get her life back together, and brought some happiness back their lives. This part of the story really touched my heart.
There is a lot to this story that makes it dynamic and gives it heart. I love the characters, I love the message of forgiveness, moving on and new starts, which is something unforgiving people don’t want you to have (that is also spoken of in this story). I love this book and it inspired me to launch a “Christmas in July” reading marathon featuring Melody Carlson. Tell you about that later. By the way, I bought this book from my favorite online Christian book store, where I buy most my books online these days, www.christianbook.com. I hope you buy it, read it and like it too. If you have already read it, please share with me what you think.