Three Christmas Stories

Christmas at Harrington's by Melody Carlson
A Redbird Christmas by Fannie Flagg
Remembering Christmas by Dan Walsh

These are the three new (to me) Christmas books that I found time to read this year. There's never enough time to read in December, still every year I make a list of titles and look forward to some lovely, relaxing time with my books. Then every year I'm disappointed when time runs out. You'd think I'd learn, but hope springs eternal. I did re-read a couple of books: An Island Christmas Reader by David Weale and Old Christmas by Washington Irving. For me both are as much a part of Christmas as the turkey and the tree.

I'll warn you that there are spoilers in the following paragraphs, but, really, they're all holiday stories, so there could only be one ending, right?

Christmas at Harrington's was ok.  I've mentioned before that I'm not a fan of Melody Carlson's writing, but I wanted something light and seasonal and that's what I got. I didn't find the characters very convincing, but the story line wasn't too bad. It's about a middle-aged woman getting out of prison for a crime she didn't commit and looking to start a new life in a new town where nobody knows her. Harrington's is the retail store where she goes to work and of course she gets to know the owner's family (and their sick little girl) and things turn out well in the end and it's all very sentimental and Christmassy. If the story doesn't do it for you, the pretty cover might put you in a festive mood.

A Redbird Christmas was a little better, with more convincing characters and more depth. While I can't say I loved it, I did enjoy reading it and was able to feel some connection with the characters. This one is about a man who has just been given a terminal diagnosis and he travels to a small southern town to rest and think. The town is filled with friendly, generous people who take him into their community and their lives. A little girl, with a Tiny Tim-like physical disability, enters the story and captures our hero's heart. It's sentimental, with a predictable ending that's a bit over the top, but the writing wasn't too bad.  

  Remembering Christmas was somewhere between the other two on a "how-good-was-it" scale. It, too, is sentimental and predictable, but that's what I expected when I bought it. In this one the main character is a man returning to his home town to help with the book store his mother (with whom he has a strained relationship) and step-father run. The step-father, of whom he has never been a fan, is in critical condition with an aneurism. A pretty young girl, with the requisite child, works at the bookstore - so you can see where that's headed. All relationships are good by the end of the story.

 So that's the wrap up on my Christmas reading. I think next year I may just re-read some of my favourites. Dickens' A Christmas Carol is always good and I have a couple of Christmas readers that I didn't get time to read through this year. I'll try to be disciplined enough to not buy any new ones this year, but "Christmas" in the title gets me every time. My inexplicable optimism that there are still great Christmas stories being written is costing me way too much in shelf space.

Hope you had time to indulge in some lovely holiday reading this year. Happy New Year one and all!


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