Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Christmas Reading: Part Two

Time To Snuggle Up With Some Books! 
Christmas Book Reviews: Part Two
I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday! It has been rather quiet at our house and very enjoyable to have everyone home. Lots of board games, video games, and music. We did family music lessons the month of December with me on piano, hubby on guitar, and our son on alto and baritone Saxaphone… with a bit of help on his parents instruments too. I am not much into the video games but why father and son were playing together on-line. I had lots of time to read! Oh and it has been nice to have a few friends stop by for coffee. 

The Christmas Pearl

Imagine remembering what Christmas was in the past dating back to World War II. Theodorea, ninety three, is doing just that while living with her family of “insufferable bunch of truculent knuckleheads.” Even better they have come from near and far to stay for Christmas. On December twenty third, cook has a family emergency as her daughter goes into labor.  With bickering, spoiled grandchildren, extramarital affairs, drug addiction, and a very depressed situation, Theodorea needs a miracle. Oh and it comes in the form of an angel. This angel is Pearl who is also my favorite character in the book. Pearl is the no nonsense Gullah black maid from Theodorea’s childhood. Only a few days till Christmas and it will take a miracle to save this family.

 This book is far from plausible except for the behavior of family members. Yet, The Christmas Pearl is not intended for a true story.  Much why it is called fiction. There are so many lessons that can be learned from The Christmas Pearl and what a great way to give insight to your own behavior at Christmas. I admit, I purchased gift cards. The magic of this book is the way the author is able to give one perspective from different age groups. 

I really enjoyed this light read and finished The Christmas Pearl in one day. My favorite quote was, “When I close my eyes for the last time, an entire library of instructions for genuinely rewarding living will go with me.” How true! No matter what our age, we are filled with life lessons and the image of a library just makes me smile. I recommend The Christmas Pearl by Dorothea Benton Frank. I also plan on reading her books in the future. 

Susanna’s Christmas Wish

Amish fiction author Jerry Eicher has created an inspirational and charming Christmas story with his book, Susanna’s Christmas Wish. Herman and Susanna Wagler are at odds as a young newlywed Amish couple. Herman was raised in an more conservative Amish family that does not celebrate Christmas like Susanna’s family. To make matters more complicated, Matthew Yoder who was Susanna’s ex-boyfriend has returned to the Amish community while in “de ban.” As the families struggle to heal, forgive, and follow the godly ways of their faith, readers will be captivated and given a glimpse into the lifestyle of the Amish. 

What I really liked the most about this book was how the author created an opportunity to teach readers how to work through family conflict. I liked the use of kindness, patience, and the support of their faith that carried the young family through the difficult time. Moreover, a bit or humor and stubbornness between mother in law, son, and daughter connects with many readers.

This book is a quick read and can easily be finished in one or two days. The plot flows at a good pace and the book is well written. I have been told that Jerry Eicher’s other books based on the Amish are much deeper and engaging for the reader. I look forward to reading more from Jerry Eicher.
The Christmas Box

Wow! I checked The Christmas Box By Richard Paul Evans out from the Library and I could not put it down. I read the entire book in just a few hours. If you are looking for a Christmas read about the importance of family, kindness, and healing from grief than this book is a must add to your reading list. Richard Paul Evans writes with a emotional and thoughtful way that captured this readers attention immediately. The story begins with a young couple and their four year old daughter, answer an ad to move into a large home with a widow named Mary Parkin. The story continues as each learn a bit about each other and life lessons that you the reader will carry in your own heart. I admit, I was crying at the end with the death of a character.

The author uses imagery and a bit of foreshadow throughout the novel. I found it interesting that the author also gives a description of the monument, which is of a childlike angel with upturned palms and outstretched wings. The word "hope" appears on the angel's right wing. When reports surfaced that grieving parents were seeking the statue, Evans commissioned the construction of an angel statue matching the description in The Christmas Box. In 1994, it was placed in Salt Lake City, Utah on land donated by the city. As of June 2014, over 120 Christmas Box Angels have been erected, mostly in the United States. If I lived closer I too would want to visit this stature and lay a white flower at the statue's base.

My favorite quote from the book is, 

 “The human life cycle no less than evolves around the box; from the open-topped box called a bassinet, to the pine box we call a coffin, the box is our past and, just as assuredly, our future. It should not surprise us then that the lowly box plays such a significant role in the first Christmas story. For Christmas began in a humble, hay-filled box of splintered wood. The Magi, wise men who had traveled far to see the infant king, laid treasure-filled boxes at the feet of that holy child. And in the end, when He had ransomed our sins with His blood, the Lord of Christmas was laid down in a box of stone. How fitting that each Christmas season brightly wrapped boxes skirt the pine boughs of Christmas trees around the world.” 

This is such a powerful book that I give it my highest recommendation. The grammar may not be perfect but the message of the book is what has made it so special. This would be a great gift or a family read.

The Little Amish Matchmaker: A Christmas Romance
Book by Linda Byler

I checked this book out from our local library and I really enjoyed it. The Little Amish Matchmaker by Linda Byler is a quick and pleasurable read. I was able to finish this Christmas romance in one day. The author writes for Preteen to adult with a clean and heartwarming tale about Isaac a 7th grader who tries to get his 21 year old brother Simon and his school teacher to go out on a date. 

Yet, this book has another theme and that is the connection of a community that helps a young girl overcome her problems with stuttering and society's judgement of those with mental health issues. 

I like how the author creates an opportunity for the reader to look within and how we each are part of the world and have the ability to reach out.

In The Little Amish Matchmaker you learn about the Amish everyday lifestyle and phrases in Pennsylvania Dutch. I was even more pleased to learn that the author is Amish. Linda Byler brings her tender humor and skillful observation of family relationships to this holiday story. “I love Isaac’s self-confidence and scheming as he prods his reluctant older brother,” she says knowingly about her characters. It is almost as you are sitting by a fire and she is telling you the story in person. There are many Christian faith references but not too many as to put off a non-Christian reader. The book is well written and I will read more books by Linda Byler in the future. 

I hope each of you have been able to snuggle up with a book. 

I Can't Even Imagine a better thing to spend some quiet time than with family or a book! What did you enjoy reading over the holidays? Does your family have a favorite holiday book?




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